08 June 2011

Kirby Muxloe Castle

The fifteenth-century castle at Kirby Muxloe, in Leicestershire, although never finished, is a superb example of the early use of brick (over 100,000 of them). It was begun in 1480 by William, Lord Hastings, walls, towers and moat accentuating its rectangular form. The work was interrupted after just three years when Hastings, second cousin to and loyal follower of Edward IV, opposed Richard III's seizure of power and was, in consequence, executed.

The Hastings family, descendants of whom still lay claim to the throne despite living in Australia, continued building until 1484, when Lady Hastings abandoned the task. The castle was acquired by Sir Robert Banaster in 1630, but little work was undertaken, and the buildings slid into ruin. The gatehouse and the west tower provide a good indication of just how grand the castle would have been.

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