Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of BELVOIR CASTLE
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Statutory Address:

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

Melton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 82001 33719



15/186 Belvoir Castle 14.7.53


Norman castle, rebuilt C16, demolished 1649, rebuilt 1655-68 on a courtyard plan. Remodelled 1801-30 by James Wyatt supervised by Sir John Thoroton retaining courtyard disposition. A fire in 1816 destroyed north and east wings which were rebuilt by Thoroton, Wyatt having died 1813. Thoroton completed Wyatt's standing wings. Decorations by Benjamin Dean Wyatt and Philip Wyatt and others of Wyatt studio. Exterior. Ironstone with limestone dressings and slate roofs. Irregular plan with asymmetrical facades in Romantic Mixed Gothic style. 4 corner towers mark extent of medieval and Tudor building and have some surviving masonry. Entrance front to north formed of a 3 bay porte cochere extending from main wall by a long covered corridor. Main elevation accommodates King's Rooms terminating to either side with 3-4 storey square towers with angle buttresses and machicolated and crenellated parapets. Windows here as elsewhere mainly upright cross casements. West front has in its principal floor the Regent's Gallery extending from the square corner tower to the chapel. Massive circular 3 storey tower on 2 storey basement rises to left to terminate in crenellated parapet: 5 window bays with round heads and deeply splayed basement windows. Chapel has 3 bay loggia between polygonal full height turrets and, above loggia, 3 2-light Perpendicular windows of ecclesiastical character. Rectangular tower with oriel closes facade to south-west, this also crenellated and with a circular bartizan. Simpler south front with central full height canted bay with 4 bays right and left. Crenellated parapets as usual. Massive square south-east tower (the Staunton Tower) with considerable medieval masonry survival to lower storeys. Rectangular stair turret to left. East front dominated by gigantic rectangular tower by Thoroton extending from inner courtyard to project by 3 bays from facade, then to form a canted end. Deeply splayed basement windows, zig-zag Norman decoration to first floor windows, stepped buttresses at intervals. Crenellated parapet bristles with circular crenellated towers and, at the inner north corner (in the courtyard) a large bartizan tower extending higher still. Range to left (next to Staunton Tower) comprises Chinese Rooms, range to right the Grand Dining Room. Inner courtyard of trapezoid shape, tapering to the south. All sides except south are 2 distinct ranges thick. North end is the Picture Gallery (behind King's Rooms), west side is the Library (behind Regent's Gallery and Chapel), east side is the Grand Corridor or Ballroom (behind Chinese Rooms). Round castle are outer walls with round crenellated towers at intervals. Guarding approach from north-west is the Battery, the base of a triangular masonry fortification of Norman origin. Interior. Rooms are mostly Gothic, modelled by Thoroton on Lincoln Cathedral. Entrance leads to Guardroom: 2 storeys with flat lierne vault and open 4- centred arches with dog-tooth giving views to Grand Staircase. Double flights of staircase entered through Perpendicular full height doorway. Grand Staircase with wrought iron balusters and infill leads to low tierceron vaulted landing with many 4-centred arches and piers. Similar, but more restrained, staircase rises behind Thoroton's east tower and leads to Grand Corridor: 3 paired arches of C13 type with traceried spandrels based on Lincoln Cathedral. Engaged wall columns support lierne vault. Chinese Rooms lead off the Corridor with much gilt plasterwork in ceiling. The Elizabeth Saloon is in Thoroton's tower. Decoration 1824 by M.C. Wyatt: Louis Quatorze style with ceiling painting of Triumph of Juno by Wyatt. Elaborate gilt coving and carved gilt boiserie to walls. Grand Dining Room to north, by Benjamin and Philip Wyatt: wall arches in Roman mode on marble piers and with gilt boiserie; coffered ceiling. Picture Gallery by Benjamin and Philip Wyatt: heavy coved cornice on scrolled consoles below 3 floating groin vaults, in the arches of which are Diocletian windows. The Regent's Gallery, by James Wyatt, is the old Long Gallery elaborated by the large west bay to his tower. Gilt cornices, fireplace by M. C. Wyatt. Chapel has lierne vault and attenuated Gothick panelling with gabled ogee arches. There are many other subsidiary rooms. Christopher Hussey, Country Life December 6, 13, 20, 27 December 1956.

Listing NGR: SK8200133719


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
'Country Life' in 27 December, (1956)
'Country Life' in 6 December, (1956)
'Country Life' in 13 December, (1956)
'Country Life' in 20 December, (1956)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 26 Leicestershire,


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: 06 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/03965/02
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Malcolm Sales. Source Historic England Archive
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