Ashby de la Zouch Castle is an English Heritage property in Leicestershire, the ruins of a castle dating from the 15th century. The town of Ashby de la Zouch got its name from the Le Zouch family who owned the manor of Ashby in the 13th and 14th centuries. By 1472 William, Lord Hastings was transforming this manor into what would have been a magnificent castle that you can still appreciate from its remains.
Lord Hastings had been a favourite of Edward IV and was rewarded for his loyalty with powers which allowed him to fortify his manors and build deer parks around them.
Things went downhill for Hastings however when Edward IV died in 1483 and he refused to support the future Richard III’s claims to the throne. As a consequence Hastings was executed and the castle which was only partially completed passed to his widow.
The family eventually returned to power in the 16th century; Henry VIII visited in 1503, it was used to imprison Mary Queen of Scots in 1569 and James I visited three times.
The English Civil War broke out in 1642 and the castle surrended to the Parliamentary forces in 1644. In 1648, because of concerns that the castle could be used by the Royalists, it was ordered that the castle should be put beyond military use and one side of the Great Tower was demolished, as can be seen below.
One of the highlights is being able to climb to the top of the Great Tower which allows for a better view of the remains and the area that would have been the gardens.
It really would have been a spectacular castle and we were very impressed with its size – the free audio guide was also very informative.
You can find more photos here.