Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of HIGHCLIFFE CASTLE
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Statutory Address:

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

Christchurch (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SZ 20286 93208


ROTHESAY DRIVE 1. 5187 Highcliffe Castle (formerly listed under Lymington Road) SZ 2093 13/51 14.10.53.


2. The original house here was built about 1775 for the third Earl of Bute either by Robert Adam or by Capability Brown, but it did not stand on the excat site of the present building and was demolished in 1794. It was replaced by a nondescript building which in its turn was demolished in 1830. The present Highcliffe Castle was built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay in 1830-34. The architect was W J Donthorne who collaborated with Lord Stuart de Rothesay. The design incorporated materials from the Hotel des Andelys near Rouen in Normandy, where Antoine de Bourbon, the father of Henri IV died in 1562. Lord Stuart de Rothesay when returning to England on his retirement from the British Embassy in Paris in 1830, saw the house being demolished, bought it and had it shipped down the Scine and across to this site, where it was re-erected. The building forms a large L. It is built of rosy-tinged ashlar and has 2 storeys and basement. The north or entrance front is dominated by the great Gothic porte cochere archway at least 30 ft high flanked by ribbed octagonal buttresses with a gable between surmounted by a pierced parapet. Beneath the archway is a groined vaulted roof an elaborate carved doorway and a tall 5-light pointed window over it. The east wing which is to the left of this porte cochere has a terrace over an enclosed forecourt containing the obtusely-pointed windows of the basement. The ground floor of the wing has 5 casement windows of 3 tiers of 2 lights each with depressed heads, the top tier of lights lighting an entresol. Cornice and parapet above ground floor. The first floor is set back with a flat walk on the roof of the ground floor in front of it, terminating at the east end in a rectangular tower of 1 window with rectangular or octagonal buttress at the angles and parapet between. Beyond the tower the ground floor only, without basement, projects and has 6 more windows, the 3 easternmost ones in a canted bay. The west front is made up of the hall at the north end. This has 4 buttresses and a narrow half-octagonal oriel window at the north end, 4 lancet windows at first floor level, and a pierced parapet surmounted by finials. At the south end of the front is a rectangular projection at right angles, with one window on each front and parapet over with octagonal corbel cupolas at the angles. Its west face has projecting oriel window on ground floor and elaborate window of 2 tiers of 4 lights above. At the south end of the south wing is an L-shaped projection on the ground floor only which was a garden-room, or conservatory and chapel combined, Its south front is entirely made up of windows with a huge bay in the centre approached by 7 steps. The south-east side of the Castle shows its L-plan but the angle is partly filled in so that this front gives somewhat the impression of 3 sides of octagon. The centre has 3 windows with flat heads on both floors. Pierced parapet over containing the words "Suave mari magno turbantibus aequora ventise terra magnum alterius spectare laborem" in it. On each side of this is a tower at a slight angle to centre portion. The east one is of 3 storeys flanked by octagmml buttresses with a 4-light window on each floor. The west one has 2 storeys only, a round-headed archway forms a porch on the ground floor and above the elaborate carved oriel window from the Manoir d' Andelys in which Henri IV stood while he waited for his father Antoine de Bourbon die. On each side of the oriel is tracery buttresses. On each side of these east and south towers are wings of ground floor height only which are again at an angle to the towers. These wings are alike and have 3 windows of 2 tiers of 2 lights. Pierced parapet over surmounted by finials above the angles of the bays. All the windows in the Castle are casement windows with stone mullions and transom. The interior contains French C18 panelling marble chimney-pieces. The chief feature of the interior is the hall (the double staircase has now been removed). This formerly led from the hall to the principal bedroom, in which the Emperor William II of Germany slept when he rented the house during his "rest-cure" in 1907.

Listing NGR: SZ2030693208


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

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

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 30 Sep 2000
Reference: IOE01/02291/24
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr F.G.G. Hawkins. Source Historic England Archive
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