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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1044677



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Surrey

District: Waverley

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Farnham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: I

Date first listed: 26-Apr-1950

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 290830

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


SU 8347 SE 1/1 26.4.50 1099

CASTLE HILL (East Side) Farnham Castle (comprising Castle Buildings to the south only)


The Castle has been the property of the Bishops of Winchester since Saxon times continuously to 1927, remaining for some time since that date the residence of the Bishop of Guildford, and partly for diocesan use; now used by the Overseas Service College. The plan consists of a circular mound to the north with an irregular group of buildings built in a triangle round a court to the south of the mound. The original stockade defence of the mound (rebuilt in stone in the C18), was probably by Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester 1129 to 117I. This work probably included the shell keep of 23 sides, more on less a circle, formerly with 5 towers which remains in part today with some later C15 brickwork over the entrance. In addition some of the outer walls and entrance gate, the latter altered later, also of the C12 remain much as shown in a print of 1737 (Buck). The group of buildings to the south of the keep are of various dates and have been rebuilt or altered over a period of roughly 800 years. The south front consists of Fox's Tower, a square brick structure of 3 storeys, beautifully built with a diaper pattern of vitreous brick all over. The design is unsymmetrical with a flat arched entry in right hand corner and 2 windows to upper floors (now C18 sashes) deep machicolated and battlemented parapet between projecting and splayed angles of greater height. A group of 3 chimneys springs from the left hand angle. 2 square painted sundials are placed on different faces of the angles one on each side. This tower dates from 1470 to l475; formerly thought to date from the time of Bishop Fox in the early C16, hence the name given to the Tower. To the left of the Tower is a low range with a kitchen on the south side and a chapel, recently restored to its use on the north side, probably C12. To the right hand of the Tower is a long block of 2 storeys, battlemented, of coursed rough stone with old tile roof. The 1st floor has 9 sash windows, C18. The main floor has 3 similar windows and 4 large mullioned and transomed stone windows of C15 date. The lower ground floor, storage, has 3 circular lights. The Great Hall, and principal stair are contained in this block. The Hall was reconstructed under Bishop Morley, as well as the stair and the Bishop's Chapel on the east side of the court. The interior design may possibly be connected with John Webb, and is late C17. The Chapel fittings and panelling are richly carved. The various features and details of design have been illustrated in numerous books. Good photographs and a comprehensive description of the building were published in Country Life of December 23rd and 30th 1939. The Castle dominates the town from its site on the hilltop to the North, and with the wide approach of Castle Street. The architecture is not dramatic, and has a strong affinity with the gentle restraint of the small brick C18 buildings below it. The group of the Castle, together with the whole of the Park, The Grange (Map No 2) and Castle Street, is very exceptional and should be considered as a unit for purposes of preservation.

Listing NGR: SU8374447271

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Country Life' in 30 December, (1939)
'Country Life' in 23 December, (1939)

National Grid Reference: SU 83744 47271


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End of official listing