In the tradition of great eccentric landowners of the 18th century, George William Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry, populated and transformed the vast gardens of Croome Court Estate with ornamental lakes, Greek temples and gothic ruins for the amusement of his family and guests. However, there is something of a mystery surrounding who designed and actually built the structure.
British Listed Buildings identify the architect as Sanderson Miller, a well-respected architect of the time with a reputation for excellence in the Gothic revival style. They estimate the date of construction as around 1758. Other sources which are almost certainly more accurate (Pevsner 2007) claim that Dunstall Castle was designed by the neo-classical architect Robert Adam and built in 1766 by resident mason John Newman. The final design contained elements associated with both a Norman castle and medieval abbey.What is certain is that the eyecatcher was built precisely one mile to the exact south of the Manor house and rear lawns. In keeping with the theme of the estate the ‘sham castle’ is designed in a neo-classical style with early elements of Gothic revival that were becoming increasingly popular at the time. It is classed as an eyecatcher, folly and lookout point. The initial structure was to low to be seen properly and John Newman was commissioned to increase its height by four feet.
It was originally positioned so as to be visible from several key points on the estate including the Court, Panorama Tower, Park Seat and Temple Greenhouse. As trees have grown up along the southern ridge Dunstall castle has become concealed from the estate and manor park. The central stone tower is built around a hollow brick core and with winding steps.
Over time the boundaries of the Croome Estate have changed and shrunk leaving Dunstall Castle outside of the current perimeter. A modern road now passes close to its base and it regularly surprises drivers who are using the route for the first time – particularly in the dark or fog.
Dunstall Castle is now in the ownership and management of the National Trust.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Blackmore Campsite, No 2 Hanley Swan Lane
Worcestershire, England, WR8 0EE
+44 (0)1684 310 280
- Address: Church Lane, Earls Croome, Worcester, England, United Kingdom, WR8 9DF
- GPS: 52.08428889,-2.168311111
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: WR8 9DF
- Entrance Fees: Free access to the Building
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Paul Vincent