Sherborne Castle

Sherborne Castle, Dorset which has been the Wingfield-Digby family home since 1617. 2017 celebrates 400 years of the Digby Family owning the Castle. Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594, this historic house reflects a glorious variety of decorative styles from over 400 years of English History. Capability Brown created here a nationally important English Landscape Garden, an exhibition drawn from the archives tells of his impact and legacy on the garden.

You will find here a typical country home where each succeeding generation has left its imprint. Visit the Castle’s rich interiors with its nationally important collections of art, furniture and porcelain, together with Raleigh’s original kitchen, family artefacts and archaeological ‘finds’ from the old medieval castle on view in the castle cellars.

There are 42 acres of beautiful gardens and grounds of beauty, peace and tranquility of this natural setting. Capability Brown in 1753 created the 50 acre lake and landscape gardening, with magnificent specimen trees, herbaceous borders and sweeping lawns.

Sherborne has had a castle since the 12th Century. Roger Bishop of Salisbury built a castle to the east of the Town to administer the western part of his large diocese. In early Tudor times the Bishops built a small Hunting Lodge in the deer park attached to the Old Castle from which to observe the chase.

Sir Walter Raleigh acquired the Old Castle in 1592. At first he tried to modernise it, but then he built a new house in 1594 in the deer park. It was on the site of the Hunting Lodge which he incorporated into the foundations. His house was rectangular and four storeys high, with large square-headed windows filled with diamond pane glass. In 1600 he added hexagonal turrets to the four corners of his house, topped with heraldic beasts. The house was rendered from the outset, in the latest fashion.

In 1617 the diplomat Sir John Digby acquired Sherborne Castle and he added four wings to Raleigh’s building, giving the house its present H-shape. He copied the style adopted by Raleigh, of square-headed windows, and balustraded roofs with heraldic beasts, and added hexagonal turrets at the end of each wing, so the house looks of one piece.

Sherborne Castle, southeast of the town and abbey, was constructed by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1592-94 on the grounds of the original castle, leased to him by Queen Elizabeth I. Sir John Digby purchased it from King James in 1617, and now it has been in the Digby and Wingfield-Digby family ever since, as they immediately added four wings to Sir Walter Raleigh’s original four-story structure.

Ruins of the ‘Sherborne Old Castle.’ built in the 1100s, were purchased by the English Heritage organization. It was largely destroyed in 1645 by Oliver Cromwell’s ‘Roundheads’ troops during the English Civil War (1642-1651).

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"Posse Nolle Nobile" — Latin for "To have the power without the wish is noble."
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