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Description: Highcliffe Castle
Date Listed: 14 October 1953
English Heritage Building ID: 101633
OS Grid Reference: SZ2028693208
OS Grid Coordinates: 420286, 93208
Latitude/Longitude: 50.7381, -1.7139
5187 Highcliffe Castle
(formerly listed under
SZ 2093 13/51 14.10.53.
The original house here was built about 1775 for the third Earl of Bute either
by Robert Adam or by Capability Brown, but it did not stand on the excat site of
the present building and was demolished in 1794. It was replaced by a nondescript
building which in its turn was demolished in 1830. The present Highcliffe Castle
was built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay in 1830-34. The architect was W J Donthorne
who collaborated with Lord Stuart de Rothesay. The design incorporated materials
from the Hotel des Andelys near Rouen in Normandy, where Antoine de Bourbon, the
father of Henri IV died in 1562. Lord Stuart de Rothesay when returning to England
on his retirement from the British Embassy in Paris in 1830, saw the house being
demolished, bought it and had it shipped down the Scine and across to this site,
where it was re-erected.
The building forms a large L. It is built of rosy-tinged ashlar and has 2 storeys
and basement. The north or entrance front is dominated by the great Gothic porte
cochere archway at least 30 ft high flanked by ribbed octagonal buttresses with
a gable between surmounted by a pierced parapet. Beneath the archway is a groined
vaulted roof an elaborate carved doorway and a tall 5-light pointed window over
it. The east wing which is to the left of this porte cochere has a terrace over
an enclosed forecourt containing the obtusely-pointed windows of the basement.
The ground floor of the wing has 5 casement windows of 3 tiers of 2 lights each
with depressed heads, the top tier of lights lighting an entresol. Cornice and
parapet above ground floor. The first floor is set back with a flat walk on the
roof of the ground floor in front of it, terminating at the east end in a rectangular
tower of 1 window with rectangular or octagonal buttress at the angles and parapet
between. Beyond the tower the ground floor only, without basement, projects and
has 6 more windows, the 3 easternmost ones in a canted bay. The west front is
made up of the hall at the north end. This has 4 buttresses and a narrow half-octagonal
oriel window at the north end, 4 lancet windows at first floor level, and a pierced
parapet surmounted by finials. At the south end of the front is a rectangular
projection at right angles, with one window on each front and parapet over with
octagonal corbel cupolas at the angles. Its west face has projecting oriel window
on ground floor and elaborate window of 2 tiers of 4 lights above. At the south
end of the south wing is an L-shaped projection on the ground floor only which
was a garden-room, or conservatory and chapel combined, Its south front is entirely
made up of windows with a huge bay in the centre approached by 7 steps. The south-east
side of the Castle shows its L-plan but the angle is partly filled in so that this
front gives somewhat the impression of 3 sides of octagon. The centre has 3 windows
with flat heads on both floors. Pierced parapet over containing the words "Suave
mari magno turbantibus aequora ventise terra magnum alterius spectare laborem"
in it. On each side of this is a tower at a slight angle to centre portion. The
east one is of 3 storeys flanked by octagmml buttresses with a 4-light window
on each floor. The west one has 2 storeys only, a round-headed archway forms a
porch on the ground floor and above the elaborate carved oriel window from the
Manoir d' Andelys in which Henri IV stood while he waited for his father Antoine
de Bourbon die. On each side of the oriel is tracery buttresses. On each side
of these east and south towers are wings of ground floor height only which are
again at an angle to the towers. These wings are alike and have 3 windows of 2
tiers of 2 lights. Pierced parapet over surmounted by finials above the angles
of the bays. All the windows in the Castle are casement windows with stone mullions
and transom. The interior contains French C18 panelling marble chimney-pieces.
The chief feature of the interior is the hall (the double staircase has now been
removed). This formerly led from the hall to the principal bedroom, in which the
Emperor William II of Germany slept when he rented the house during his "rest-cure"
Listing NGR: SZ2030693208
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.