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Lords & Ladies

The mansion was inherited by Lady Waterford who welcomed the Prince and Princess of Wales, who went on to become King Edward and Queen Alexandra. At a later date, Kaiser Wilhelm II visited in 1907 in order to recover from ill health. In gratitude for the hospitality, the Kaiser gave a pair of stained glass windows to Edward Stuart Wortley, the owner at the time.

Harry Selfridge

The most notable tenant to have rented the Castle was Harry Selfridge, founder of Selfridges department store in London. Selfridge’s connection to the Castle still remains as he, his wife and his mother are buried in St Marks church, Highcliffe.

The Castle briefly served as a children’s home and a seminary for Catholic priests.

A brief history

In the 1950’s the Stuart-Wortley family sold all the furnishings of the house before selling the house, it then became a children’s convalesce home.


Saw the castle sold again, this time sections of the grounds were sold off to build housing.


The Castle had been bought for £14,000 by three senior Roman Catholic priests from the Claretian Missionary Congregation.


The Castle was again up for sale as the priests could not keep up with the rising costs. This time it was bought by three local business men. Prior to the sale the castle was badly damaged by fire. Further exposure leads the castle to further deteriorate.


Christchurch council compulsory purchase the castle.


Scaffolding was erected around the castle to keep it from decaying further.


With funding from Christchurch Council and English Heritage work was started to provide new roof and repair the exterior masonry as well a to repair the south wing. erected around the castle to keep it from decaying further.


Saw the Wintergarden open as the visitor centre.


Greendale Construction were awarded a contract to upgrade the Great Hall to allow functions all year round, refurbish the dining room to allow for wedding receptions  and to create a level access for those with limited mobility.


Second Heritage Lottery Fund was awarded. This phase will see the restoration of the East Wing.


Works have started for the latest phase of the restoration with Greendale.


East Wing has officially opened from May 2019.

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