Saturday 1 September 2012


Pathway To The Castle

Donnington castle is local to me and its a place like to visit, especially in the early morning on a fine day when the mist is starting to lift over Newbury and the surrounding area.
Donnington Castle is situated 2 miles north of Newbury, all that stands today is it splendid gatehouse and foundations which are made out of the local flint. Donnington castle was built by its original owner, Sir Richard Abberbury The Elder under licence granted by Richard II in 1386. The castle subsequently bought by Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer as a residence for his Daughter Alice, who later became the Duchess of Suffolk.
The family later fell out with the Tudor monarchs and the castle became a Royalist property.

The Splendid Gatehouse
In 1514 it was given to Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, though Brandon appears to have stayed at the castle in 1516, by the time the castle and manor returned to the crown.
In 1535 the castle was in a state of decay,both King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle in 1539 and 1568 respectively.

Looking Inside The Gatehouse
In 1600 Elizabeth I gave the castle and manor to Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, by the time the English civil war broke out in 1643, the castle was owned by the Parliamentarian John Packer family. But after the first battle of Newbury it was taken for King Charles I, and held by Sir John Boys.
They enhanced the castles defence by adding earth works in a star shape.

The Star Shape Defences
The Parliamentarians laid siege to the castle in October 1644,the garrison held out for 18 months before Sir John Boys surrendered the castle in 1646, and in the same year Parliament decided to demolish the castle.
Today the castle is owned and looked after by English Heritage, today all you will find is its two storey gatehouse which has a fine vaulted ceiling, whilst elegant stone string course and curved gargoyles decorate the outside.

One Of The Gargoyles Keeping Watch

Looking Through At The Vaulted Ceiling

At the rear of the gatehouse you can still see fireplace and doors which indicate the floor levels, patches of brickwork show the damage caused during the civil war The external walls were rebuilt to a height of 0.2 meters (2 feet). The courtyard was enclosed by the curtain walls and would have probably contained a hall, kitchen and accommodation for guests.

The Doors And Fireplaces Can Be Seen At The Rear Of The Gatehouse

The Red Brickwork Shows Where The Castle Was Damaged During The Civil War

Certain times of the year the gatehouse is open to the public where you can enter the gatehouse and go up to the floors above. I hope to go one year.

Looking Over Towards Speen

Looking Towards The Cranes Of Newbury

Misty Morning

Gatehouse And Blue Sky

Looking Into The Courtyard


Gatehouse Through The Trees

Looking Towards What Would Have Been The East Wall

Inside The Courtyard Looking Towards What Would Have Been One Of The Corner Towers

    Donnington Castle

                                       I've been keeping guard for over 600 years and more
                                       I've seen Roundheads, Cavaliers, peace and war
                                       Men have shed blood sweat and tears for me
                                       Since the first battle in 1643

                                       I've taken cannon and musket fire
                                       But I stood strong and did not tire
                                       Then in Parliament they did call
                                       That I should stand no more

                                       So men came and tore me down
                                       Because I once belonged to the crown
                                       My gatehouse and small walls still stand
                                       I'm told I look rather grand

                                       Now it's children who play and fight for me
                                       Before running home for their tea
                                       So after 600 years and more
                                       I am at peace and not at war
                                                                                 Poem by DDPearce

                       All photos taken and owned by DDPearce of Darrins Photograhy
                       The map of the battlements was found on Wikipedia


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