Castles. Who didn’t want one at least once? Since our childhood, the castle concept was related to mystery, magic or epic battles, and last but not least to very rich people. For most of us, a castle will remain a dream or an impossible goal to achieve, but we can continue to dream about it or look over the fence to those truly lucky.
Our subject is related to one of the many castles located in England, each one of them having a particular story, but the one associated with the Astley Castle is more…contemporary.
Located in North Warwickshire, the Astley Castle was built in 12th century, at a time when England was in the middle of an important social and political changes. We can also recall two phases in the castle history: during 1266 a moat was given to it, while during 1343 it became a seminary.
Many of its occupants or owners were aristocrats and famous people, for example, Lady Jane Grey, better known as the Nine-Day Queen.
During 1553, after the death of Edward VI, Henry The Duke of Suffolk (Lady Jane’s father) raised against the monarchy proclaiming Lady Jane as the rightful successor for the throne. But Henry’s plan failed, resulting in the beheading of both him and his daughter, Lady Jane. Henry The First Duke of Suffolk was captured while hiding in a hollowed oak tree at Astley Castle.
During WW2 the castle became a hotel, probably that was the last occupation of the castle, considering that in the following years it was ruined. Already abandoned, in 1978 the castle was heavily damaged by a fire, which was probably started by the owners, in order to set an insurance fraud.
Sadly, everything of possible value was stolen from the castle; its ruins were vandalized and the place completely forgot and abandoned.
The situation was desperate. What once was an architectural gem, and also a symbol of wealth and important reference for history, it became a pile of shattered bricks. Considering that many fairy tales are related to a castle, something magical happened also for the Astley Castle.
In 2005 the Landmark Trust (a building preservation charity) entered the scene by searching the better solution for the problem, considering outrageous to leave in decay such an important structure.
An architectural competition was announced, and the winning design award went to the Witherford Watson Mann firm, based in the UK. From then, everything gained a new, incredible shape. The architects wished to transform the ruins into a warm living space, saving the original castle’s structure and just adding and rebuilding around it.
The intervention transformed the ruins into a luxury space, where a perfect mix between history and design can be felt. That was the intention stated by both the Witherford Watson Mann firm and the Landmark Trust, to offer a home into a castle, a space that could be rented and valued each day of a great vacation or weekend.
Like in its old times, the new Astley Castle is a luxury playground. Each room is decorated with custom designer furniture, everything looks exactly how it should look, nothing is ”too much”, and nothing is missing for a high-quality experience.
One special feature of the new Astley Castle is the light. The architects designed the new lighting system in order to get inside the rooms as much of the natural light coming from outside. Not need to mention that the castle’s surroundings are truly beautiful.
(Article written using references from: http://boredomtherapy.com)