This year marks the 950th anniversary of the first construction of Arundel Castle in West Sussex.
The castle was founded on Christmas Day in 1067 when William the Conqueror, having invaded England and won the throne, held his first Christmas Court at Gloucester. He rewarded his trusted supporters with large estates on the condition that they built defensive castles.
The castle at Arundel was one of these many defensive fortresses along the south coast built by William’s followers as a deterrent to future cross-Channel invasions.
The gardens at Arundel are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen!
I chose to visit during tulip season.
My Arundel Castle guide book tells me the Fitzalan Chapel was founded in 1380 by Richard, 4th Earl of Arundel in accordance with his father’s intention, as a collegiate chapel served by secular priests.
In later Middle Ages it was a notable centre for music with a choir for which much early English polyphony was specially composed.
In the reign of Henry VIII the college was dissolved. The chapel and other buildings were returned to the family and have been the private property of the Earls of Arundel and the Dukes of Norfolk ever since.
The chapel is still used as the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk and several masses are said here every year for the repose of their souls in accordance with the intention of the founder in the 14th century.
Into the inviting gardens…
So I was in my element in this glorious garden!
Flowers forming like paintings before my eyes.
Tulips for as far as the eye can see!
Have you ever seen anything more perfect?
Photography was not allowed in the castle, but let me tell you, the library at Arundel will completely redefine any conception of book rooms you have: 10,000 books nestled in a resplendent riot of red velvet and rich mahogany furniture spread over two enormous floors.
Back outside, it was time to climb.
Up and up the tallest, narrowest stairs I have ever encountered!
Pausing at every moment to take photos (and catch my breath!)
But the beautiful views between battlements were well worth it.
Information on visiting times can be found on the Arundel Castle website.