Astwell Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameAstwell Castle
Alternative NamesAstwell House
Historic CountryNorthamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough
Modern AuthorityNorthamptonshire
1974 AuthorityNorthamptonshire
Civil ParishHelmdon

Manor house. C15 and early C17, restored 1958. Coursed squared limestone, plain tile roof except for left roof of gatehouse, brick ridge stacks. Gatehouse of former courtyard house, and double-depth house. Entrance front has 3-storey gatehouse to right with part-blocked chamfered doorway with 4-centred head to timber tympanum with ribbed panels and date 1638. First floor string course, and one 2-light stone arch mullion window with cusped head to lights to first and second floors, that to first floor with hood mould. Battlemented parapet with string course to base. Turret rising full height of building to left and second floor window similar to those to front. Rear elevation has similar first floor window with hood mould and similar blocked doorway. Hexagonal stair turret to left corner, rising above the rest of the building with blocked first floor door with 4-centred head. Single-storey link building to left of gatehouse has flat-arched doorway, a quatrefoil window to right of doorway and battlemented parapet with string course at base. House to left has 2 storeys and attic. C20 stone doorway with 4-centred head to left, a 2-light stone mullion window to right. 4-light arch mullion window to ground floor far right with cut spandrels and hood moulds, a similar window to first floor above and similar 3-light windows in twin stone-coped gables with kneelers. Blocked window to first floor above door. Left side has two 3-light arch mullion windows with hood moulds to ground and first floors and blocked central door with moulded stone surround and keyblock. Rear elevation has 5-light leaded C20 casement window to ground floor and 2- and 3-light casements to first and attic floors, all with timber lintels. The left range has a massive stone stack with 4 diagonal brick flues

Interior has chamfered spine beams and stone fireplaces with 4-centred heads one painted to resemble Purbeck marble with moulded jambs, cut spandrels, strapwork above openings and low stone overmantel with arms of the Lovetts and the Shirleys. The fortified manor house to which the existing gatehouse belonged was probably built by Thomas Lovett who exchanged the manors of Rushton and Great Oakley for those of Falcutt and Astwell in 1471. The daughter of the last Thomas Lovett of Astwell married Francis Shirley and their son George Shirley demolished most of the medieval manor house and built a new house beside the gatehouse, completed in 1606. The property was sold to Earl Temple of Stowe in 1763 when Astwell became a tenant farm and a large part of the house was demolished. In 1958 the building was restored for Mrs. Joan Wake. (Listed Building Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP608440
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 70
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 220-1
  • Heward, John and Taylor, Robert, 1996, The country houses of Northamptonshire p. 69-72
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 164
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 320 (reject)
  • RCHME, 1982, An inventory of the historical monuments in the County of Northampton Vol. 4: South-west Northamptonshire (HMSO) p. 80-88 nos. 6, 12 online transcription
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus; revised by Bridget Cherry, 1973, Buildings of England: Northamptonshire (Penguin) p. 96
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 245 online copy



  • 1959, 'Astwell Manor House: History in Stone' Northamptonshire Past and Present Vol. 2.6
  • Markham, C.A., 1925, 'Astwell Castle in Northamptonshire' Associated Architectural Societies' reports and papers (Lincoln, York, Northampton, Bedford, Worcester, Leicester and Sheffield) Vol. 27 p. 308-15

Guide Books

  • Joan Wake, Astwell Manor House (a guide reprinted from Northamptonshire Past and Present)


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 54 (new entry) online copy