Lulworth Castle, in East Lulworth, Dorset, England, situated south of Wool, is an early 17th-century mock castle. The stone building has now been rebuilt as a museum. The castle is surrounded by Lulworth Park and the Lulworth Estate.
The foundations for Lulworth Castle were laid in 1588, and it was completed in 1609, supposedly designed by Inigo Jones. The castle was built as a hunting lodge by Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon, a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk. In 1607 Viscount Bindon described the building as a conception of his own mind, and wrote to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury crediting his part in origins of the design;
"If this little pile in Lulworth Park shall prove pretty or worth the labour bestowed in the erecting of it, I will acknowledge, as the truth is, that your powerful speech to me at Bindon laid the first foundation of the pile in my mind, which ever since has laboured for a speedy finishing for the contentment of those for whose further liking of that place the care is taken".
In 1641, Humphrey Weld, a grandson of Humphrey Weld, purchased it from Howard's heir, Lord Howard de Walden. The castle was seized by the Roundheads during the English Civil War, who used it as a garrison. Weld regained the property after the war finished. A Roman Catholic chapel was built in the grounds in 1786. Following the French Revolution, the surviving members of the French royal family were allowed to use Lulworth as one of their residences-in-exile. Charles X of France also stayed there briefly following the July Revolution of 1830.
The castle was gutted by fire on 29 August 1929 and was left as a roofless ruin, the family building a new residence for themselves nearby. In the 1970s, restoration work began with the help of English Heritage. The restoration, finished in 1998, included a new roof and restored surviving walls in the interior, but no new internal walls or replacements for the destroyed upper floors were constructed.
The castle is still owned by the Weld family and is a tourist attraction, holding medieval-themed events. Part of the Lulworth Estate is in use as an MoD firing range as well as a wildlife conservation area.
Since 2017, the site has been used as the location for the Bestival music festival, with the castle's foreground being the location for the main "Castle" stage.
- "About the Estate". Lulworth, Dorset Estate. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- Hutchins, John (1861). The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset. 1. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons. p. 374.
- HMC 9 Salisbury Hatfield, vol. 20 (London, 1968), p. 204.
- "Lulworth Castle exhibition will recall a fateful day". Bournemouth Echo. 31 August 2009.
- "James Weld: keeping it local". Dorset Magazine. 27 April 2009.