SHIRBURN SHIRBURN PARK
4/152, 14/152 Shirburn Castle
Castle, now country house. Built 1377, possibly by Henry Yevele (Harvey), for
Warin de Lisle: re-modelled after 1716 for Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield,
and his son and also in the early C19. Brick, partly rendered: centre of west
front of dressed chalk and limestone. Roof and chimney materials not known.
Quandrangular plan with rounded corner towers. Early Perpendicular style,
re-modelled in Georgian-style and early C19 Gothick style. 3-storeys;
symmetrical 7-window range. Main west front: tall central gate tower is flanked
by 2-, extended in C18 to 3-, storey bays: tall corner turrets have 2 windows to
front. Double-chamfered 4-centred doorway: studded double doors. Drawbridge
leads to C19 steps with flanking cast-iron, lamps across moat. Georgian
round-headed openings to sashes, and crenellated parapet. Other elevations also
re-modelled in early/mid C18, including sashes and crenellated parapet.
C18/early C19 additions and water tower of 1870 attached to south range.
Interior: hall has early C18 staircase with fine carved and turned balusters.
Armoury re-modelled as vaulted Gothick-style entrance hall in early C19.
Re-modelling of c.1830 included building of drawing room and library to north,
billiard room converted from old north library over hall, large bedroom and
dressing room converted from old dining room to east, and baronial hall left of
entry. Smoking room made in north-west tower in 1873. Shirburn Castle is the
earliest brick building in Oxfordshire: its plan can be compared with other late
C14 castles such as Castle Bodiam, Yorkshire, of 1378, and Bodiam, Sussex,of
1385. The Chamberlain family held the castle for Charles I, before surrender to
Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1646. Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield and later Lord
Chancellor, bought Shirburn Castle in 1716. The library which he founded
includes 2 Caxton editions and the letters of Isaac Newton amongst its famous
collection of antique books. The Parkers helped make Shirburn a noted scientific
and literary centre in the C18: a pioneering observatory, since demolished, was
founded in 1739. Inspection not possible. Description compiled from photographs
and published sources.
(Shirburn park and gardensd are included in the HBMC Register of Gardens at
Grade II; V.C.H.: Oxfordshire, Vol. VIII, pp. 180-183; Buildings of England:
Oxfordshire, pp. 761-2; Shirburn Castle, Country Life, Vol. VII, 1900, pp.80-84;
John Harvey, The Perpendicular Style, 1978, p.107; measured drawings of smoking
room dated 1873 in National Monuments Record, 19660/46n8-50).
Listing NGR: SU6966095976