History in Structure

Astwell Castle

A Grade II* Listed Building in Helmdon, West Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.0917 / 52°5'29"N

Longitude: -1.114 / 1°6'50"W

OS Eastings: 460794

OS Northings: 244072

OS Grid: SP607440

Mapcode National: GBR 9WD.TCX

Mapcode Global: VHCW5.MPXD

Plus Code: 9C4W3VRP+M9

Entry Name: Astwell Castle

Listing Date: 11 September 1953

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1041132

English Heritage Legacy ID: 234511

ID on this website: 101041132

Location: West Northamptonshire, NN13

County: West Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Helmdon

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Wappenham St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

Tagged with: Manor house Castle

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6/1 Astwell Castle

- II*

Manor house. C15 and early C17, restored 1958. Coursed squared limestone, plain
tile roof except for left roof of gatehouse, brick ridge stacks. Gatehouse of
former courtyard house, and double-depth house. Entrance front has 3-storey
gatehouse to right with part-blocked chamfered doorway with 4-centred head to
timber tympanum with ribbed panels and date 1638. First floor string course, and
one 2-light stone arch mullion window with cusped head to lights to first and
second floors, that to first floor with hood mould. Battlemented parapet with
string course to base. Turret rising full height of building to left and second
floor window similar to those to front. Rear elevation has similar first floor
window with hood mould and similar blocked doorway. Hexagonal stair turret to
left corner, rising above the rest of the building with blocked first floor door
with 4-centred head. Single-storey link building to left of gatehouse has
flat-arched doorway, a quatrefoil window to right of doorway and battlemented
parapet with string course at base. House to left has 2 storeys and attic. C20
stone doorway with 4-centred head to left, a 2-light stone mullion window to
right. 4-light arch mullion window to ground floor far right with cut spandrels
and hood moulds, a similar window to first floor above and similar 3-light
windows in twin stone-coped gables with kneelers. Blocked window to first floor
above door. Left side has two 3-light arch mullion windows with hood moulds to
ground and first floors and blocked central door with moulded stone surround and
keyblock. Rear elevation has 5-light leaded C20 casement window to ground floor
and 2- and 3-light casements to first and attic floors, all with timber lintels.
The left range has a massive stone stack with 4 diagonal brick flues. Interior
has chamfered spine beams and stone fireplaces with 4-centred heads one painted
to resemble Purbeck marble with moulded jambs, cut spandrels, strapwork above
openings and low stone overmantel with arms of the Lovetts and the Shirleys. The
fortified manor house to which the existing gatehouse belonged was probably
built by Thomas Lovett who exchanged the manors of Rushton and Great Oakley for
those of Falcutt and Astwell in 1471. The daughter of the last Thomas Lovett of
Astwell married Francis Shirley and their son George Shirley demolished most of
the medieval manor house and built a new house beside the gatehouse, completed
in 1606. The property was sold to Earl Temple of Stowe in 1763 when Astwell
became a tenant farm and a large part of the house was demolished. In 1958 the
building was restored for Mrs. Joan Wake.
Buildings of England: Northants, p.96; Joan Wake, "Astwell Manor House", a
guide reprinted from Northamptonshire Past and Present, 1959).

Listing NGR: SP6079444072

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