Peckforton Castle

The Peckforton Castle is originally a country house that was built in the 19th century in the manner of a Gothic castle. It was commissioned by the largest landowner in Cheshire, John Tollemache who hired Anthony Salvin as the architect of the building.

Peckforton Castle Castles in England

Designed in the outlook of a medieval castle, Peckforton comes with all the standard features of medieval structures such as a dry moat, a portcullis, a gatehouse, and huge towers. Faced with red sandstone and perched on top of a hill, the castle has a very imposing outlook with its five-story tower.

History of Peckforton Castle

The castle was commissioned by John Tollemache, who was the largest landowner in Cheshire in the first half of the 19th century. Tollemache had the castle constructed between 1844 and 1850. Significant modifications were made by 2nd Baron Tollemache during the last decade of the 19th century.

The castle was abandoned in 1939 as the Second World War began. It passed to a secondary line of Tollemache family after Bentley Tollemache died with no heirs in 1955. In the next few decades, the castle was frequently used as a shooting location for movies.

It was purchased by an American in 1988 who had it renovated extensively and finally converted it into a hotel. The Naylor family purchased it in 2006 and set it up for different events alongside using it as a hotel. It serves both purposes today.

Castle Peckforton Location

Peckforton castle is located in the midst of a woodland at the northern end of Peckforton hills.

 Peckforton Castle Official Site

The village of Peckforton lies 1 mile to the southeast of the castle while the Beeston Castle stands at a distance of 0.75 miles from Peckforton castle. The castle stands at an elevation of 143 meters.

Peckforton Castle Timeline

  • The castle was constructed between 1844 and 1840.
  • Nearly all of its extant structure was erected during this period.
  • A minor modification was done in the 1890s when Wilbraham Tollemache had modern facilities such as electric lights added to the castle. In early 20th century, an afforestation scheme help preserve vast areas of forestry around the castle.
  • In 1939, the castle was abandoned by the Tollemache family as the Second World War commenced.
  • It was passed from the main line of Tollemache family to a secondary line when Bentley Tollemache died heirless in 1955.
  • In 1988, the castle passed on the hands of Evelyn Graybill who paid 1 million pounds for it.
  • It was later turned into a hotel and venue for corporate events.

What Type of Castle is Peckforton?

Peckforton castle is a purely residential castle that has been built in pure imitation of medieval Gothic style.

To that end, the castle has many defensive features which, although they were meant to serve no purpose, makes it resemble closely to actual medieval structures.

Apart from luxurious residential quarters, the castle has features such as a huge tower, dry moat, portcullis and a gatehouse.

Interesting Features of Peckforton Castle

The most interesting features of the castle are its imitative features.

Being built in the imitation of medieval style, the castle has a huge number of windows which looked precisely like arrow slots of medieval structures.

The castle also has large towers as were built in medieval times for defensive purposes.

A gatehouse surrounded by a dry moat complete the picture of middle ages.

Peckforton Castle Construction

  • The external construction of the castle is done using red sandstone which gives it a distinct red hue.
  • The main tower of the castle is five storeys high while the castle itself is three storyes high.
  • It includes a stable, bell tower, octagonal library tower and once had a sizable kitchen garden.
  • In the northwest is a circular tower with an octagonal dining room.
  • The east side of the ward has a private chapel, originally meant for the family.
  • It is constructed using sandstone and has a Gothic architecture as well.

Peckforton Castle Size

The modern-day Peckforton castle serves as a hotel and has 48 rooms of different sizes.

The castle itself is surrounded by a huge forest spanning over an area of 4,000 acres.

Peckforton Castle Defenses

  • Although the castle’s defenses were never meant to be of any practical value, they are an integral part of its overall structure.
  • Major defencive features include a dry moat which surrounds the northern ward where most of the castle’s buildings are located.
  • The moat can be crossed via a well-fortified gatehouse which includes a portcullis in close imitation of medieval sophistication.
  • Huge circular and octagonal towers strategically located in the castle also appear to be of defensive significance, although they include different accommodations in the interior.
  • The external walls are lined with small windows which can very effectively serve the purpose of arrow slits.

Peckforton Castle is Famous For?

Peckforton castle is famous for the fact that it is one of the last well-built castles in England which were built in the style of medieval structures.

The castle is also notable that it imitates the medieval Gothic structure very well, so much so that it has inspired laudatory remarks throughout its history.

The castle has been called the height of effective masquerading and also the ‘most learnedly executed Gothic mansion’ constructed in recent times.

The castle is also famous for being associated with John Tollemache who was considered a fairly eccentric man of his time.

Peckforton Castle Summary

The Peckforton castle was built in the 1840s on commission of the richest landowner in Cheshire, John Tollemache.

Although meant as a house for the Tollemache family, the castle was carefully built in imitation of medieval Gothic structures.

For this purpose, medieval structural elements such towers, a dry moat, portcullis and arrow slits were included in its architecture.

The castle is considered one of the last seriously built castles and among the best imitative castles of recent times.

It remained in the ownership of the Tollemache family until 1980s when it was purchased by an American and turned into a hotel.

Today the castle is used both as a hotel and as a venue for weddings and corporate events.