Castles of England/Later History of Castles

← Tudor Castles | Castle Life →

By the 14th century castles were beginning to fall out of favour. England was becoming increasingly peaceful and castles were expensive to maintain. They were also cold and unpleasant places to live. Over time, castles began to fall into disuse, to be replaced by manor houses. Some castles, however, continued to be maintained, particularly those in strategically important locations like the Scottish borders and ports.

The Civil War

Corfe Castle in Dorset. In the foreground is the bailey wall, which was deliberately destroyed ("slighted") following the Civil War in order to render the defences useless

The last conflict in which castles played a major role was the English Civil War. This war, fought through the 1640s, saw castles brought back into use. Once the fighting had ended, nearly 60 castles were partly destroyed so they couldn't be used again.

The Castle as a Modern Home

The east side of Windsor Castle, now one of the many homes of the British Royal Family

Some castles that survived the Civil War were retained as family homes, perhaps the most impressive of which (outside of the Royal castles), is Arundel in West Sussex.