Astwell Castle, Helmdon
Description: Astwell Castle
Date Listed: 11 September 1953
English Heritage Building ID: 234511
OS Grid Reference: SP6079444072
OS Grid Coordinates: 460794, 244072
Latitude/Longitude: 52.0917, -1.1140
Location: Helmdon, Northamptonshire NN13 5QU
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There is also a scheduled monument with a similar name, Astwell Castle Farm (uninhabited portions), at the same location as this building or very close to it. This is probably the same structure or related to it in some way.
Explore more of the area around Helmdon, Northamptonshire at Explore Britain.
6/1 Astwell Castle
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
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.