Bickleigh Castle is a fortified manor house which can trace its history back to 600 AD - possibly even before the Saxons arrived in the area. The Castle is situated on the banks of the River Exe and the surviving buildings together form part of what is called a 'water castle' - a castle defended by water - river and moat in the case of Bickleigh Castle.
Although the main building was destroyed in the English Civil War, other historically significant buildings remain - mostly sited around a central courtyard. Parts of the original Norman curtain wall still exist as does the twelfth century three-storey gatehouse and Norman chapel with Saxon Sanctuary. To the north of the main collection of buildings is a thatched cottage, which was built in the sixteenth century and now called 'Moat Cottage'. To the south is the 'Old Court' - a building construsted for Thomas, the 6th Earl of Devon, in the mid-fifteenth century.
The site underwent an extensive restoration programme in the twentieth century.
The Castle was owned by three families linked by marriage from the Norman period right through to 1924. There are close connections with Henry VII and Henry VIII as well as with the Plantaganets and the Stuarts. In the seventeenth century the Castle was home to the Carew family and in 1644 (during the English Civil War) the owner Sir Henry Carew was visited by the queen of King Charles I - Queen Henrietta. Prior to this the Castle was owned by the Courtenay family.
Visitors can enjoy self-guided and guided tours of the Castle, grounds and gardens hosted by the Castle's historian. The Castle is set in 60 acres of grounds of which 5 are landscaped. The ponds were created from the remains of the Norman moat.
The Castle can be booked for weddings and even the Saxon chapel and Great Hall can be used for ceremonies. Various wedding packages are available.
Address: Bickleigh Castle, Tiverton, Devon EX16 8RP
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Telephone: 01884 855796
Email: Send email
Website: Bickleigh Castle
Admission times: Usually open From the beginning of April - end of October - Every Thursday between 12.30pm-17.00pm. (Self guided tours start at 12:30 till 15:30. Guided tours are at 14:30). Private group bookings available on Tuesdays only. Guided tours must be booked in advance.
Admission charge: Prices start from £4 per adult for garden walks and £8 per adult for a full guided tour.
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