Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

South Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 69660 95976


SHIRBURN SHIRBURN PARK SU69NE, SU6995 4/152, 14/152 Shirburn Castle 18/07/63


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


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

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Books and journals
Harvey, J, The Perpendicular Style, (1978)
Pevsner, N, Sherwood, J, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, (1974)
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Oxford, (1964), 180-183
'Country Life' in Country Life, , Vol. 7, (1900), 80-84
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 34 Oxfordshire


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

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