Rob Forsyth


Castle House has a long and interesting history which has been recorded in several different publications. In order to preserve authenticity of the sources they are reproduced following verbatim.

 Image (click on for larger version) courtesy of Wikipedia




The Story of Deddington (1933) - Mary Vane-Turner

In this extract from Chapter 3 Mary provides a very detailed description of the property:

"THE CASTLE HOUSE.From this spot [The Bull Ring] there is a good view of the Castle House, Old Parsonage, Rectorial Farm, or Great House—for all are names ascribed to that stately Jacobean Manor-house-like dwelling, and each embalms something of its story. Skelton's 'Antiquities of Oxford' (1823) calls it the Rectorial Farm House, and a charming vignette on page 17 of that work depicts the north side of the church and shows the farm out-buildings, excrescences on the original, which is of entirely different style and period. The Rev. E. Marshall, whose 'Notes' on our locality are at once the fullest and most learned, identifies Castle House with the Great House, so-called in the Inclosure Award. Its situation close to the church— a wall only separates it from the churchyard—traces of foundations that show that there was a larger ancient house before the present ; its capacious tithes barn in the grounds, and the private chapel or oratory dating from pre-reformation times within, all give it an almost overwhelming claim to be the 'Old Parsonage' too. Mr. Marshall on page 12 of the 'Notes' states that this 'ancient rectorial house of the sixteenth century' is on the estate given to the Deans and Canons of Windsor when the Windsor Manor was formed by royal license at request of William de Bohun, patron of the church, in 1351—a grant having a permanent effect on the condition of Deddington. In 1879 the occupier was Mr. Thomas Gardner. Another farmer succeeded him named Simpson, who married a member of the well-known Appletree family, and it is significant that an 'A' is on the leaden pipe-heads. The main gate- formerly opened on to Victoria Terrace and stables and coach-house were on that side.
It is the romance of history which this old house enshrines for us. Charles I is stated by Sir Edward Walker in attendance on the king, to have 'slept at the Parsonage' when he 'lay at Dedington'. The occasion was after the battle of Cropredy which took place on June 29th, 1644, with success to the Royalists. That day was a Saturday and on the Monday following Charles proceeded to Aynho and then crossed the Cherwell. Mr. Marshall quotes from the Diary of Captain Symonds, an officer in the king's service the following :—
"Munday morning, about four of the clock, his majestie, with all his army, drum beating, colours flying, and trumpets sounding, marched through Middleton Cheney, from thence to Farmigo, where Sir Roland Egerton hath a howse ; from thence by Aynoe-on-the-hill to where Lord Wilmott hath a faire seat. Here a trumpett of Waller came, and exchanged 60 and od prisoners of ours taken, which were all they took, wee having a hundred more. The king lay at Dedington. From Dedington the army marched Tuesday morning, by where the Lord Viscount Falkland hath a faire howse......"
The Rev. E. Marshall continues—'Deddington was often occupied by troops, as one of the outposts of the contending armies, during the course of the civil war, so that it must have had a frequent share in the events of that troublous time.'
The Oxfordshire Gazateer (1852) while dignifying Castle House as 'an architectural curiosity' dismisses it with these few words :—
'Near the church is an old house, consisting of a square tower with open stone balustrade at top, which is now the residence of a farmer, and the property of the dean and canons of Windsor. An upper apartment in this tower is said to have been used as an oratory in Catholic times.' It does not connect it with the visit of King Charles though citing his majesty as having slept at a Parsonage house which certainly could not have been our Vicarage facing the Church's west front, which is little more than 100 years old.
The oratory, or Chapel, seems to date from the 'Decorated' period like other relics of Deddington's days of ecclesiastical fame— a history mostly told in stones, for its written lore has great gaps. This chapel has every equipment for due celebration of the Mass. Underneath is a priest's hole or hiding place, a reminder of the religious intolerance which so cruelly penalised holders of the old faith. This part of the country possesses many such witnesses to the existence of old Catholic families. It may, like others more renowned, have been constructed by the Jesuit Nicholas Owen, called "little John", who died on the rack rather than reveal the secret of those refuges.
Many have been the vicissitudes of this admired house. The list of quit rents for 1710 show Zachariah Stilgoe paying £10 as leaseholder of the 'Parsonage house and garden and Vicarage garden' (probably where an older vicarage had stood). Mr. Thomas Smith remembers as a boy that a winnowing machine was in one noble panelled room, while another was used as a granary ! Mr. Robert Franklin of the famous church restoration firm, actually rescued it from its debased condition. In 1894 he put back the balustrade which had been taken down, and he bought the property from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. With the assistance of Garner, the noted architect, then living at Fritwell Manor, it was made once again the dignified dwelling typical of pure domestic taste. The "Banbury Guardian" in an article at the time of Franklin's restoration, states that "it was in this house that Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity College, is believed to have been born."

In the Autumn of 1925 it suffered severely from fire, supposed to have been caused by the decaying of cement several hundred years' old which thus exposed a chimney beam to the heat. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Herbert Long, the present owner, such portions as were damaged have been perfectly restore"

British History Online

This is an extract from a larger article about Deddington:

"The house, called the Old Parsonage, the Great House, and now Castle House, because of its long association with the Castle manor, of which it was at times effectively the manor house, stands north of the church. Its nucleus is a towerlike structure of medieval origin, containing on its first floor a small chapel with stone seat recesses and a 13th-century piscina. In 1443–4 lead was purchased for a gutter between the 'chapel chamber' and the 'great chamber', and other alterations at that time included the making of a new screen ('enterclose') between the hall and the chamber, and a new stair and a small chamber next to the great chamber. (fn. 365) In 1497 repairs included a new 'groundsel' in the little gate adjoining the 'great gate' of the parsonage. (fn. 366) In the 17th century the medieval block was largely rebuilt, being heightened, refaced with horizontal bands of ironstone and limestone, and refenestrated, while a new wing was built on the south side and a new staircase added in a tall, balustraded projection north-east of the tower. The work may be attributed to the wealthy Thomas Appletree (d. 1666), whose initials survive on the rainwater heads with the date 1654. Appletree was an active parliamentarian and, as a member of the local committee for the sequestration of royalist estates, (fn. 367) was concerned in pulling down Holdenby House and Woodstock Manor, whose materials he was said to have used to add to his Deddington house. (fn. 368)

During the 18th century and early 19th Castle House was occupied by tenant farmers put in by the Windsor lessees, and suffered much damage and neglect. (fn. 369) In 1894 it was bought by H. R. Franklin, a local builder, who carefully restored the building with the aid of the architect Thomas Garner. The south front, with its bay window and porch, is chiefly of that date, though it incorporates older work. In 1911 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold the house to Franklin. After a fire in 1925 the east front was reconstructed. Most of the woodwork was introduced in the course of these and later alterations. (fn. 370)"

365. Windsor Mun. XV. 53.39.
366. Ibid. XV. 57.14.
367. Acts and Ords. of Interr. ed. Firth and Rait, iii. 149; Thurloe's State Pps. ed. T. Birch, ii. 164–5; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1649–50, 309.
368. Bodl. MS. Rawl. D. 1054, f. 11v.
369. Skelton, Oxon. 17; Turner, Deddington, fig. 5.
370. Descriptions in Wood-Jones, Trad. Dom. Archit. 164 and passim; Pevsner, Oxon. 570; Country Life, 20 June 1908.


This is an extract from a larger article about Deddington:

"Castle House next to the parish church was originally a 13th-century farmhouse, complete with its own small chapel. It may have been the house where the Earl of Pembroke brought Piers Gaveston in 1312. It used to be the rectory, and from 1353 was held by the Dean and Canons of Windsor Castle. It was repaired and altered in the 15th century.[51]
King Charles I stayed here in 1644 during the First English Civil War. In 1654 a Parliamentarian, Thomas Appletree, acquired the house and had it extended.[52] Appletree was the grandson of a "husbandman", but when he died in 1666 his wealth included a pipe organ and virginals in his parlour, oil paintings, plate worth £112, a horse-drawn coach, and an income from rents of £612 a year.[53] In the 18th and early 19th centuries a succession of tenant farmers lived at Castle House and the building declined. In 1894 a local builder bought it and had it restored to designs by the architect Thomas Garner. In 1925 it suffered a fire, whereafter its east front was rebuilt in its present form.[54]

A published local history states that at one time, Castle House was called the Old Parsonage and the Great House, the latter "because of its long association with the Castle estate of which it was at times effectively the manor house". An 1808 map does depict the building as "The Great House" while a 1983 publication states that "on the north-east side of the Market Place stands the church, with its dominating 17th century tower, and beside it on the north the rectorial mansion, Castle House. ". The local report states that the "east front was reconstructed in 1925 after a fire".[55] Castle House has been Grade II listed since December 1955. The historic listing confirms that it was a rectorial manor house, from the 13th century "rebuilt probably c.1654 for Thomas Appletree; restored 1894 by Thomas Garner for H.R. Franklin; extended early C20".[56] Another source states that an extension was added "a few years" after the 1894 restoration. Today, the house includes a castellated tower, seven bedrooms and the consecrated chapel.[57]

51.Colvin 1963, pp. 7–8.
52.Colvin 1963, p. 8.
53.Colvin 1963, p. 85.
54.Colvin 1963, p. 9.
55."A Walk round the Village". Deddington History. 3 October 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
56.Historic England (11 July 2007). "Castle House Dedington (1300851)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
57."A 17th century castle that offers life in the heart of a lovely Cotswolds village". Country Life. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2020.

The Chapel


by Mary Robinson from a larger article Other Churches & Chapels on this site.

"Castle House has a 12th Century private chapel. Surprisingly, it is on the first floor level in the oldest part of the house, the tower area. It is a tiny, intimate room, only about 8ft by 10ft, with stone and plaster walls, a polished wooden floor and raftered ceiling. Two walls are taken up with stone seating recesses with cushions, three on each wall, and the centre arch on the North wall houses the only window - a small leaded one. On the opposite wall a small niche carries a wooden cross and a brass crucifix stands on the altar itself.
It is still maintained as a chapel, although not in regular use. Above is a priest's hole - a hiding place in times past for those who broke the law of the land by daring to conduct a Catholic service."
Image (
click on it for larger version) was drawn by Jacqui Terry for the same article.

Discovering Deddington (2000) by Deddington Map Group

"Castle House, hitherto the Old Parsonage and the Great House, is so-called because of its long association with the Castle estate of which it was at times effectively the manor house. It is based on a tower-like structure of 13th century origin containing a small chapel. The medieval structure was largely rebuilt in the 17th century by the wealthy Thomas Appletreewhose initials are on the rainwater heads with the date 1654. In 1894 the then owner, H.R. Franklin, carried out a lot of restoration work, including the south-facing porch and bay window. The east front was reconstructed in 1925 after a fire.
In 1312, after his surrender to the earl of Pembroke, Piers Gaveston, who was a favourite of Edward II, was lodged in Castle House. It was here on June 12 he was seized by Guy, Earl of Warwick, and carried off to be executed at Blacklow Hill in Warwickshire. In 1643 Charles I was given shelter in the house after the battle of Cropredy Bridge. In 1649 the town was again briefly involved in national affairs when many Levellers were quartered here. The Levellers were a republican party in the parliamentary army and were crushed by Cromwell in that year."

Julie Ann Godson - author

Julie is well known locally for her books about Oxfordshire. This short piece was placed by her on Deddington Community Facebook on 20 April 2023. It  is reproduced with her kind perrmission.


"On 20 April 1938 at Deddington Castle House the last remaining belongings of the recently-deceased Auriol, Viscountess Ipswich were auctioned off. They included a Lancester (sic) saloon car (1932), a horse trailer box, new in 1937, and a Boulton & Paul revolving garden house. Deddington Castle House, which is Grade II* listed, was built on the site of a 13th-century manor house, with the building as it stands now mostly dating to around 1654. It was fully restored in 1894 and an extension was added a few years later, but many 17th century features were saved."

Image (click on it for larger version) is courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery's website and is titled 'Auriol Margaretta Hume-Gore (née Brougham, formerly Viscountess Ipswich)'. A full length image is also on the website



British Listed Buildings website

Gives details of the house’s Grade II* listing.

Country Life Magazine - 3 November 2017




Carried an Estate Agents Listing of the property for rent with images of the interior.


Owners & Occupants

from 1353      Dean and Canons of Windsor Castle

c.1654           Thomas Appletree

???? - 1894    Various tenants of the Eclesiastical Commissioners
1894 - 19??    Henry Robert Franklin

???? - 1938    Auriol, Viscountess Ipswich
???? -  2012   Simon & Vivien Pleydell-Bouverie
2012 - Today  The Pleydell-Bouverie family




More images of this very distinctive building interior (still to upload) and exterior can be found HERE