Tiverton Castle

Tiverton Castle is open for viewing on selected days and hours for a nominal fee. The castle boasts well-preserved historical items as well as a beautiful walled garden. As this is a private heritage site, they provide seating throughout the tour for visitors.

Visiting Tiverton Castle

Parking

There is free parking for visitors in the drive; entry is through the Great Gateway on Tiverton Castle Park Hill, Tiverton EX16, 6RP England.

Price

  • Adults: £8.00
  • Children 7-16: £3.00
  • Under 7: Free
  • Disabled unable to climb stairs: Half price
  • Garden only: £2.00

Opening

You may visit Tiverton Castle from Easter Sunday to the end of October on:

  • Sundays
  • Thursdays
  • Bank Holiday Mondays  

From 2.30 -5.30 pm. The last Admission for viewing is at 5.00 pm.

Tiverton Castle spans hundreds of years and has held powerful families since the 12th century. The castle has seen many alterations over the eras and provides an eclectic and multi-layered view of the area’s history. It also offers a Civil War armoury and a 3-acre (1.21-hectare) garden.

Tiverton Castle was once the scene of a siege and sacking in its Civil War service as a Royalist stronghold. Despite the tumultuous past, the castle is now a peaceful, private house popular among locals and tourists. If you are in Devon and wish to see a living piece of British history, there are many reasons to visit this historic place. 

Tiverton Castle is a Part Grade 1 listed, part Scheduled Ancient monument, and is under private ownership of Angus and Alison Gordon. Originally built of wood in 1106, the primary structure is no longer visible, but the castle houses an intriguing blend of medieval, Elizabethan, and Tudor architecture. Tiverton castle has several engaging exhibits and activities to immerse visitors in the colourful past of this site.

Location and Access

Tiverton, Castle Park Hill, Tiverton Devon. EX16 6RP

By Road 

You will find the castle in the centre of Tiverton, 7 miles (11.27 kilometres) from the motorway. When coming from the M5, take junction 27 to the A361. The castle can be found next door to St Peter’s Church, another local landmark.

By Public Transport

From Tiverton Parkway station, make your way up a slight hill toward the Church Tower, which is clearly visible from the road. Signs will point you to the centre of town from the Tiverton bus station.

Know Before You Go

  • Available for private tour parties outside regular opening hours.
  • Visitors may hold and view artillery of the earlier centuries, such as cannonballs.
  • There are many historical displays, such as Neopoeonic and WWI exhibits.
  • Walk the beautiful walled garden covering three acres, with paths leading down to the River Exe.
  • Medieval garderobes (loos) and information on how medieval people used them.
  • English Civil war armour for visitors to don to experience what it was like to be a soldier of the period.
  • Discover the ghost stories surrounding the site, as well as secret passages.
  • A small souvenir shop for memorabilia. 
  • Available for private tour parties outside regular opening hours.

History of Tiverton Castle

Like many of Britain’s castles, Tiverton has a varied and exciting history. From its motte-and-bailey beginnings in the early 12th century to its defence duties in the English Civil War, this castle has changed hands many times and has seen everything from treasonous plots to grand royal visits.

Time Line

 


-AD 650 (Prior Structure)

An Iron Age Hillfort called Cranmore Castle stood where the rivers Exe and Lowman merged.

-1106 (Original Tiverton castle)

Richard de Redvers was given the manor by Henry I. Built using a two-structure foundation known as motte-and-bailey, the manor was fortified with both earth and timber. 

-1141 (Earldom) 

For his support to the crown, Richard's son Baldwin de Redvers received the title Earl of Devon.

-13th Century (Rebuilt)

De Redvers' descendants rebuilt the castle from its original motte and bailey to stone and formed a quadrangular structure with a tower at each corner. 

-1293 (Changes Hands)

The castle's ownership changed from de Redvers to the Courtenay family, although the title Earl of Devon was only conferred later in 1335.

-1350 (Substantial Rebuild)

The Tiverton gatehouse underwent substantial rebuilding under the Courtenay descendants. 

-1539 (Execution and Imprisonment)

When Henry VIII believed there to be a plot against him, he ordered Henry Courtenay’s execution. As the family fell into disfavour, Courtenay’s young son, Edward, is imprisoned in the Tower of London. The family’s estate, including Tiverton Castle, is revoked by the crown.

-1553: (Triveton Restored to Courtenay) 

Mary I took the crown and restored the castle and estates to Edward Courtenay.

-1556 (Exile)  

The royal favour is short-lived as Edward was exiled for suspicion of treason against Mary I. He later died in exile in Padua.

-1645 (Siege and Storming of Tiverton Castle)

The castle once again fell to defence duty in the English Civil War, where most of the region was a Royalist stronghold. Following the Royalist defeat in the Battle of Naseby (1645), parliamentarian forces briefly held the castle siege.

Under Sir Thomas Fairfax's command, they attacked the castle with heavy artillery and, in a lucky strike, severed the drawbridge chains and stormed the castle. Records state that four people lost their lives as the Royalists captured and looted the castle of its treasures.

After taking winter residence in the castle, Fairfax leaves. After the civil war, they demolished the defences to prevent the castle from being used as a military stronghold. 

-1700s-1900s

Many changes of ownership ensued, and the castle had various owners; the most notable was the Carew family, who owned the castle from 1727-1922/23. During their time, they made multiple alterations to the castle.

-1923-1985 (Various Ownership Changes)

The Carews sold the castle in 1923, and after a slew of ownership changes, Ivar Campbell received the property in 1960. On his death, his nephew Angus Campbell acquired ownership of Tiverton Castle.

Tiverton Castle Occupants

Tiverton Castle Ghosts

Tiverton is home to several ghosts, who are said to frequent the river path and manor. The most famous is the 17th-century lovelorn ghosts of Alice, daughter of Sir Hugh Spencer, and her lover Maurice Fortescue, who haunt the Triveton castle manager. Alice was the young daughter trapped in an impending marriage to an older man she did not care for named Sir Charles Trevor.

Sir Charles challenged Fortescue to a duel, and Sir Charles ran him through with his sword. When he kicked young Fortescue into the surging river, Alice threw herself into the waters and drowned with her lover. They are said to walk the Exe river's river banks when it is flooded, and visitors may see them chatting with linked arms

When you visit the castle, you may see a notice near one of the staircases describing the unfortunate death of a young woman. The story goes that a young bride found herself locked in a chest during a game of hide and seek. Guests believed that she fled from her impending vows, but in fact, she became trapped in a chest in one of the less-used rooms. No one could hear her cries through the thick-walled chest, and she lost her life.

 Images of Tiverton Castle

Tiverton Castle Tiverton Castle
Tiverton Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

Tiverton Castle Q&A

How Much of Tiverton Castle Remains Intact?

Nothing remains of the early earth and timber construction of the original castle of 1106. What greets visitors today are parts of the 1300s Courtenay construction. The layout is typical of the period, with a quandary formation, gatehouse, and corner towers. 

The Giffard family in 1539 is responsible for the Tudor mansion built into the fabric of the earlier castle. 

On the south and east of the courtyard, one may view the surviving Elizabethan and medieval buildings, while to the north, one may find the 18th-century residence melded with the early 16th and 17th-century buildings. 

What Kind of Castle Is Tiverton Castle?

Once much more extensive, the manor is now a group of buildings and remaining boundary walls from the various historical renovations it has received over the centuries. You will see remnants of the old castle, such as the towers and defensive walls, but there are also clear modern updates made by its new owners, making it a striking juxtaposition of the old and the new. 

 

Location of Tiverton Castle