C House / Main Block / Castle Inn / Marlborough Castle / Marlborough College

25 Oct 1999
C House, Marlborough, Kennet, Wiltshire, SN8 1PA
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Main Block, Marlborough, Kennet, Wiltshire, SN8 1PA
Castle Inn, Marlborough, Kennet, Wiltshire, SN8 1PA
Marlborough Castle, Marlborough, Kennet, Wiltshire, SN8 1PA
Marlborough College, Marlborough, Kennet, Wiltshire, SN8 1PA
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


5407 C House [formerly listed as Main Block] SU 1868 5/106 18.7.49. I GV


1699 (bricks ordered). 1702 (building according to Celia Fiennes). 1706 (west wing built, east wing unbuilt). 1723 (drawn by stukeley complete).

Chequer brick. Rubbed brick quoins and central block. Hipped old tile roofs.

Very tall chequer brick chimneys, one on the north front of the east block with a pronounced entasis, all with cornicing and sunken panels.

2 storeys of unequal height attics, and basement on garden (south) front. String above ground floor. Richly carved wood modillion eaves cornice.

3 adjacent blocks, smaller central one set back deeply on courtyard (north) side, andvery slightly on garden (south) side. Courtyard side has 5-3-5 ranges of cased sashes with glazing bars, those in central block with arched heads, and sunk panels below 1st floor windows. Flanking blocks have 3 attic dormers each, casements with glazing bars, moulded cornices and pedimented gable ends. Central block is crowned by modillioned pediment. Ashlar colonnade of 4 pairs of unfluted Roman Ionic columns takes full entablature across space between flanking wings: covered passage from colonnade to north door: colonnade bought from Mildenhall Woodlands circa 1800.

Garden front has 6-3-6 ranges of windows, and 4 dormers instead of 3 to flanking blocks; otherwise these are the same. Central block has ashlar moulded window embrasures, impost blocks, keystones, aprons and consoles. Central range is entirely ashlar faced, and has curving flight of stairs with C18 iron rails to door with moulded surround and cornice on consoles. parapet to roof with 4 ashlar piers, and 3 sunk panels.

West front has central door with ashlar surround and segmental pediment on consoles. Interior has good staircase hall: staircase with huge vase-shaped balusters. Re-set Jacobean fireplace with much strapwork and carving depicting Moses striking rock.

Good early C18 panelling throughout and stone-flagged hall.

History: the College stands on the site of Marlborough Castle, a Royal castle built in the C12 or slightly earlier (first mentioned 1138 [Annales Mcnaatici II]. Of this nothing survived in 1610, except a "heap of rammel" (Camden), and nothing survives now except the Castle Mound. By this time the castle was in the hands of the Seymour family of Wolf Hall, hereditary Wardens of Savernake Forest. The Seymours rose to a position of national importance during the lifetime of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (executed 1554). The 1st Duke began to build himself a palace at Bedwyn Broil, in Savernake Forest which was abandoned on his disgrace. His son, the 1st Earl of Hertferd, begun Tottenham Park in the Forest in 1573. The 1st Earl was succeeded by his grandsons in 1621, the elder inheriting the peerage and Savernake Forest, the younger inheriting Marlborough Castle. The elder was created 2nd Duke of Somerset in 1660, the younger 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge in 1640.

The younger grandson, then Sir Francis Seymour, began a house on the College site shortly after inheriting; and this house was visited by Charles II during the ownership of the 2nd Lord Seymour of Trowbridge in 1663, On the death of the 4th Duke of Somerset in 1675, the elder line had no more male heirs, so Savenake Forest and Tottenham Park passed to the 4th Duke's niece, the Countess of Elgin and Ailesbury, while the Dukedom passed to his cousin, the 3rd Lord Seymour of Trowbridge, who "offered rudeness" to a Signora Botti in 1678 and was shot dead by her husband. He was succeeded as 6th Duke of Somerset and owner of Marlborough Castle by his brother Charles, nicknamed the Proud Duke, who, resides building Petworth House, Sussex, built the present C house, Marlborough College, on the site of the house built in 1621 by Sir Francis Seymour. The Proud Duke lived until 1748, but mainly at Petworth, while his son, the Earl of Hertford, lived at Marlborough, where his wife, a friend and admirer of Alexander Pope created a picturesque garden. On his death in 1750, C House was sold and became the Castle Inn, a particularly chic stopping point on the route from London to Bath.

The Castle Inn fell on hard times (like the rest of the town) with the construction of the Great Western Railway in 1837, and in 1843 was bought by the newly founded Marlborough College, who immediately began the construction of the surrounding school buildings. C House, B House, The Museum Block, The Arcade, Tha Bradleian Building, The North Block, the Porter's Lodge, gates and railing, the chapel, and A House form a group.

Listing NGR: SU1848468684


This is part of the Series: IOE01/1287 IOE Records taken by Hilary Mack; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mrs Hilary Mack. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Mack, Hilary

Rights Holder: Mack, Hilary


Tile, Ashlar, Brick, Iron, Early Medieval Castle, Medieval Monument <By Form>, Defence, Counting House, Domestic, House, Dwelling, Railings, Barrier, Inn, Commercial, Residential Building, Colonnade, Unassigned, Building Component, Building, Public School, Education, Private School, School, Covered Way, Steps, Transport, Pedestrian Transport Site