About Broughton Castle
Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire is a medieval fortified manor house surrounded by a three acre moat and set amongst scenic parkland.
In actual fact, Broughton is more a fortified manor house than a castle, and has been the family seat of the Fiennes family (who hold the title Lord and Lady Saye and Sele) since the 14th century. The castle received its name from Sir John de Broughton, who built the castle around 1300AD. It was subsequently sold to Bishop Wykeham of Winchester in 1377 who ranked among Britain’s most powerful figures at the time. One of Wykeham’s descendants married into the Fiennes family, in whose hands the castle still rests today. The castle underwent a significant re-build in the second half of the 16th century, leaving us largely with the structure which can be seen today.
Among the most important historical events to occur at Broughton Castle took place during English Civil War when to the head of household, William Fiennes, was strongly opposed to Charles I. William refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King, and Broughton became a key meeting place for those set against him. William raised a regiment to fight during the Civil War, and he and his four sons all fought at the Battle of Edgehill. Following this clash, Broughton Castle fell under siege and was captured. Later in the conflict, William actually opposed the execution of Charles I, and stepped away from public office as a result of the execution, a fact which earned him a pardon from Charles II after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
Today Broughton Castle is a mixture of beautiful parkland, striking buildings and the three streams which allowed the construction of a large moat.
The house itself is magnificent – the Great Hall has an impressive display of arms and armour from the English Civil War, as well as from the Fiennes family tree. The Oak Room is panelled, as the name suggests, with oak from floor to ceiling, whilst the Queen Ann room commemorates the visit of James I's wife, Queen Ann of Denmark, in 1604. The King's Chamber was used by James I and Edward VII. The oldest section of the castle is the dining room, and passageway. The passageways contain vaulted ceilings, and there is a staircase which leads to the rare 14th century chapel. The garden is also well worth a look, with its curiously designed box hedging.
Contributed by Chris Reid