Southampton's medieval castle had fallen into disrepair by the 17th century. In the 18th century the site was occupied by first a windmill, and then a banqueting hall. In 1805 the site was purchased by John Henry Petty, then Lord Wycombe, but later the 2nd Marquis of Lansdowne, who built a mock Gothic edifice on the site.

The ‘castle’ was not much thought of by those who saw it. The Observer in 1809 declared it to be “proof of the wealth rather than the taste of the owner”. Skelton’s Southampton Guide in the same year stated that “the apartments are few and more remarkable for their singularity than their size or magnificence”. It also never seems to have been finished. Even after the death of the Marquis in 1809 building work continued, as was reported in Skelton’s Southampton Guide in 1815: “In its present state, Southampton Castle must be regarded as an incomplete structure, but very considerable additions are now going forward”. The Marquis lived in the castle until his death in 1809. The 3rd Marquis, having no use for the castle, sold it in 1816 and it was demolished in 1818.

Castle Built by the Marquis of Lansdowne.

Image Unavailable

From an early-19th century painting, c.1810.


see also


Further reading:
The Marquis of Lansdowne and his castle in Southampton’, by Jean Watts in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 16, Winter 2010, p34-40. (HS/h)
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p21-28. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes, 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p6, 33. (HS/h)
Georgian Southampton’, by Elsie Sandell in Collected Essays on Southampton, by J. B. Morgan (ed), p80. (HS/h)
Lansdowne House, by Norman Kemish, p7-9, 15. (HS/ps)


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