I mentioned Kirby Muxloe to someone the other day and he said 'Oh, yes, the red brick castle'. I always used to think of Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire with those words but Kirby Muxloe is most definitely a red brick castle too.
I had visited the castle many years ago in the 1980s and remembered it being surrounded by water but had forgotten it was built of brick and also that it was never completed as a building.
You can walk around the outside of the castle first taking in its structure and on the day we visited there were some lovely reflections in the water of the moat.
Above you can see the remains of the west tower and the gatehouse. It was intended for a tower to be built in each corner of the construction, with domestic buildings in the centre of the outer walls which is where the old manor house used to stand.
The owner William, Lord Hastings (1430 -1483) began to rebuild a new and sumptuous residence on the site of the old manor house around 1480. He was in favour and had power and influence at the court of King Edward IV but his luck changed and he was executed in June 1483 by the new king Richard III. In July of that year Richard III issued a special grant to Hastings's widow Katherine and restored the family to its inheritance. Katherine did continue for about a year with the building project but it gradually came to a close. Had the building been completed Kirby Muxloe would have been one of the most advanced and fashionable fortified manor houses of its day.
The gatehouse is accessed by the bridge over the moat, it is modern but constructed in the style of the old one.
The entrance to the gatehouse is impressive, only the ground floor remains although you can access the next floor up it is open to the elements (see the photos below) but you can cross above the ceiling from one side to the other via spiral staircases.
One of the guard rooms in the base of the gatehouse, the other is used as the reception and shop by the custodians English Heritage.
You can see the door to one of the staircases on the left of the gatehouse. We went up via the stairs on the right and came down those on the left.
The ceiling of one of the spiral staircases, I love the swirling brick patterns.
The remains of the room which would have been above the entrance to the gatehouse
and across the two guard rooms below.
Back down the stairs on the opposite side.
There were lovely views across the centre of the castle area towards the moat and to the countryside beyond. You can see the stone foundations of the earlier manor house in the grass below.
Looking upwards in the west tower
Nature was taking over.
The opening hours for Kirby Muxloe are weekends only from May to September so it is very hard to catch it open we were lucky to be close by en route to Stoneywell (see my post of 8th September) so spent a pleasant hour here wandering around.
More information - here