From Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales, by John Timbs, Vol. II, re-edited, revised, and enlarged by Alexander Gunn; Frederick Warne and Co.; London; pp. 3-4.
The ancient Castle of Wardour, situate a short distance from Salisbury, was a baronial residence before the reign of Edward III., and was a possession of the Crown, until it came to Sir Thomas Arundel by gift of his father. Sir Thomas was created a Knight of the Bath, at the coronation of Anne Boleyn; but, being convicted, temp. Edward VI., with Edward Duke of Somerset, with conspiring the murder of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, he was beheaded, 28 February, 1552. King Edward VI., in his Journal, states that Arundel was only condemned “after long controversy,” the jury remaining near a day and a night shut up before they returned their verdict. Sir Thomas married Margaret, sister of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII. The most memorable event in the history of Wardour Castle took place in 1643, when it was besieged by sir Edward 4 Hungerford and Edmund Ludlow. It was garrisoned by twenty-five men under the command of the heroic Lady Blanche Arundel, who, in the absence of her husband, made a gallant defence of five days, and surrendered on honourable terms. The learned and illustrious Chillingworth, the divine, was here when the Castle was taken. “The besiegers, however, violating the treaty, were dislodged by the determination of the noble proprietor, (Thomas, second Lord Arundel,) who directed, on his return, a mine to be sprung under the Castle, and thus sacrificed this noble and magnificent structure to his loyalty. His lordship died of wounds received at the battle of Lansdowne, 19 May, 1648.” (Burke’s Peerage.)
The ruins of the Castle remain to this day, a striking object in the surrounding scenery, and a sad memorial of civil war and the basest treachery. The noble family, however, had built a magnificent mansion on a gentle eminence adjoining; whence it rises to view in a picturesque manner from a thick grove: the new mansion, designed by Paine, is called Wardour House, where are a portrait of the heroic Lady Blanche Arundel, by Angelica Kauffmann; an exquisite carving in ivory, by Michael Angelo. of our Saviour on the Cross; the cross worn by Cardinal Pole; and the Grace Cup, or Wassail Bowl, brought from Glastonbury Abbey — of carved oak, and Saxon execution. Here is also the state bed in which Charles I. and II., and James III., lay when at Wardour. The chapel fitted up for the Roman Catholic service, is very superb: near the altar is a monument to the memory of Lady Blanche and her husband.
Aubrey tells us, “Wardour Castle was very strongly built of freestone. I never saw it but when I was a youth; the day after part of it was blown up: and the mortar was so good that one of the little towers reclining on one side did hang together and not fall in peeces. It was called Wardour Castle from the conserving there the amunition of the West.” Many of the old yews and hollies in the grounds were formerly cut into the forms of soldiers on guard.