24th June, 2014
Broughton Castle is a stunning manor house with a fantastic moat near Banbury in Oxfordshire. Set in parkland and an absolutely delightful walled garden (see the photo above we took just the other day), it is built of the rich local Hornton stone, which gives it that quintessentially English - and more particularly Oxfordshire - feel to it.
In his book 'The Pattern of English Building', Alec Clifton-Taylor describes this stone as special inasmuch as "deep brown, tawny yellow, greenish and greyish-blue tints can be combined within a single block.” You can only imagine how incredible all these colours are combined with the amazing array of flowers and other flora which have been planted there.
Inside, Broughton offers a rare blend of incredible history and contemporary relevance... just ask your tour guide about the recent film productions that have taken place! We visited at the weekend and apparently Daniel Day Lewis had been shooting there only the day before. Famous films shot there in the past have included, to name a few, the recent Jane Eyre production, Shakespeare in Love (1998) and The Madness of King George (1994).
But the house has been inhabited since 1306, when it was built. Possibly its most famous moment in history is its role as a stronghold of opposition to Charles I. During the Battle of Edgehill in 1642 it was besieged and damaged. Amazingly though, the Castle has belonged to the same family since 1447 - the Fiennes. The 21st Lord and Lady Saye & Sele are the current residents.
We're not the only ones who think it's a fantastic house which is well worth a visit; Broughton was selected by Simon Jenkins as 1 of only 20 houses to be awarded 5* in his book 'England’s Thousand Best Houses'.
Our insider tip: check out the wallpaper hand-painted from China in about 1800 in The King's Chamber, where James I stayed in 1604 and Edward VII also spent the night in 1901.
Visit Broughton Castle on a tailor-made Oxford walking tour
Here at The Carter Company we specialise in bespoke itineraries. So whilst none of our tours currently pass right alongside Broughton Castle, we think it's such a gem that we'd recommend anyone who fancies visiting it for half a day to combine it with an Oxfordshire walking holiday tailor-made by us. As usual, we can also adapt one of our existing trips to include a visit to this wonderful historic house on request. Just ask!