Devizes Castle took its name from the Medieval Latin castrum ad divisas, meaning 'the castle at the boundaries', because it stood at the central point of three Manors. Many records state that the first castle was built on the site by Bishop Osmund of Salisbury in approximately 1080. Burnt down and re-built in stone during the reign of King Henry I, it was from this point onwards that the Castle became a popular residence for the Monarchy. Described as 'the most gorgeous in Christendom', the Castle played host to many important Royal and political figures. In the 12th Century, King John spent time at the Castle and it was he who built the extensive accommodation, remains of which can still be seen in the rear gardens. Owned by the Crown for many years, the Castle became the property of the Queens of England, including Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, amongst others.
It is said that the Castle gave Devizes its name, its existence and its street pattern, having prompted the Bishop of Salisbury to establish the satellite town on the Castle's eastern outskirts. By 1645 the Castle was held by the Royalists and was largely destroyed during the 17th Century Civil War between King and Parliament.
It was not until the 1830s that Devizes saw a castle again. Designed by H.E Goodridge (celebrated architect of the Lansdown Tower, or 'Beckford's Tower' as it is more commonly known, Bath) the property sits high above the market town and provides an impressive and unique home.
Devizes Castle is an outstanding example of a Grade I listed property, predominantly built of stone. There is a wealth of period features throughout the Castle: Generous stone mullioned windows, beautifully detailed stone archways, impressive feature fireplaces, oak strip floors, working shutters, high ceilings throughout, an unusual bowed Fernery with attractive stone tiled roof, a wooden central staircase, charming smaller stone spiral staircases and, in the Drawing Room and Study, ceilings richly decorated with carved and gilded bosses.
The formal reception rooms are grandly proportioned and flow seamlessly into more informal areas of the Castle making it ideal for family living and entertaining alike. Off the Hallway is a comfortable and useful Sitting Room area, the fully fitted spacious Kitchen, Utility Rooms and access to the secondary staircase. The Kitchen and Hallway have easy access to the terrace and rear gardens. The Library is fitted with carved bookcases lining two walls and stone mullioned windows offering far-reaching views over the rooftops of Devizes and an impressive floor to ceiling stone canopied fireplace.
The Dining Room, a wonderfully proportioned room, suitable for lavish entertaining or family dining, has a wide bay stone mullioned window, ornately carved stone fireplace and easy access to the garden terrace. The Long Picture Gallery leads to the Drawing Room, a beautifully light and airy room with stone mullioned windows offering sweeping views of the gardens. There is also an open fire, a fine ceiling with ornate carved and gilded decoration, and easy access to the gardens via the adjoining Fernery. The Fernery features original encaustic tiled floor and interlaced stone arched windows and encircles a useful secondary kitchen.
Upstairs, aside from the two impressive Principal Bedroom Suites offering views over the gardens and the countryside beyond. There are also five further bedrooms and three tower bedrooms. For more detailed information on room sizes and layout, please see the floorplans.
The gardens surrounding Devizes Castle are an important part of its charm. To the front lies the dry moat grass area and an abundance of mature specimen trees whilst to the rear the garden is encircled by the ramparts, offering seclusion. The rear garden provides for sheltered walks through important and interesting specimen trees and has been landscaped with herbaceous borders, water features and lawn areas.
Devizes Castle is located close to the centre of the historic market town of Devizes, in Wiltshire. Situated in an elevated and secluded position, the Castle commands views over the town to the North and rolling countryside views to the South.
Devizes has an extensive range of everyday shops, including a Marks & Spencer food hall, recreational and educational facilities. The bustling market town of Marlborough is within a short drive whilst the cities of Bath (21 miles) and Salisbury (26 miles) provide further shops, social and cultural activities as well as famous historical sites and museums. The regional business centres of Swindon and Bristol are also within easy commuting distance, by road or rail.
Communication links are excellent with the station at Pewsey (12 miles) offering a direct service to London Paddington (from 65 minutes). The A303 is 16 miles to the South, offering links to the South-West and East of England whilst the A361 provides fast access to the M4 (19 miles) and the national motorway network.
Sporting facilities in the area include racing at Barbury Castle, Newbury, Bath and Salisbury. There is fishing on the nearby rivers Avon and Kennet and golf at North Wiltshire Golf Club. Walking and ridding opportunities can be found at the scenic Vale of Pewsey and up onto the Marlborough Downs.
The Castle is well positioned for excellent local schooling including Marlborough College, Dauntsey's at West Lavington, St Mary's, Calne, St Margaret's, Calne, Stonar and Pinewood.
A rare opportunity to acquire the principal section of a property that has played an important part in English history.