Corby Castle

Corby Castle

Corby Castle is an ancestral home of the Howard family situated on the southern edge of the village of Great Corby in northern Cumbria, England.

The Manor of Corby was granted to Hubert de Vallibus by Henry II. It passed to Andrew de Harcla, Earl of Carlisle, and was given to Sir Richard Salkeld in 1336 by Edward III. Lord William Howard bought part of the estate in 1605 and the remainder in 1624 for his second son, Frances, and the estate remained in the family until its sale in 1994. It remains in use (1997) as a private residence.

The present façade was built for Henry Howard by Peter Nicholson between April 1812 and September 1817. Henry Howard had inherited the estate from Sir Francis Howard, Lord William Howard’s second son.

Corby Castle is situated immediately south of the village of Great Corby and east of Wetheral. The c 60ha site is on land which slopes south-westwards down to the River Eden, and the setting is predominantly rural and agricultural. The Eden forms the western and southern boundary of the site, and fencing along the edge of woodland the northern and north-eastern boundary. A by-road running between Cumwhitton and Warwick Bridge forms the eastern boundary, and the south-eastern boundary is a track running west, then south-west from the by-road to the banks of the Eden.

Corby Castle (listed grade I) has at its core a medieval tower house. Following C17 alterations and additions, the building was remodelled in 1812-14 by Peter Nicholson for Henry Howard, giving it a rectangular plan and neo-classical facades. Some 100m north of the Castle is a yard with stables and other ancillary buildings, some of C18 date, including a gardener’s house.

In late 1981 Corby Castle was used as one of the main locations for the shooting of a five-part BBC miniseries. The dramatisation of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White starred Diana Quick as Marian Halcombe.

Robert Martin and Ian Yeates started a glassworks in the grounds of Corby Castle in 1986. They made a range of glass ornaments such as paperweights, perfume bottles and vases. Their work is signed “Martin Yeates”.

Corby Castle was sold by Sir John Howard-Lawson Bt. and Lady Howard-Lawson in 1994 to Northern Irish businessman Edward Haughey. The principal contents of the Castle were sold in 1994 through Phillips of Scotland. Dr Edward Haughey, Baron Ballyedmond (a life peer, represented the Ulster Unionist party in the House of Lords) and carried out a total refurbishment of Corby Castle, and used it for both family and corporate entertainment.

In 2012, Philip Howard, 51, sued his father Sir John Howard-Lawson, 78, over the £2.5 million sale of the 13th century Corby Castle estate. He was awarded £5.60 per year by the High Court.

The castle is reputedly haunted by a ghost known as ‘the radiant boy’.

Sept. 8, 1803: Rev. Henry A., of Redburgh, and rector of Greystoke, with Mrs A., his wife, who was a Miss S., of Ulverston: “Soon after we went to bed, we fell asleep; it might be between one and two in the morning when I awoke. I observed that the fire was totally extinguished; but, although that was the case, and we had no light, I saw a glimmer in the centre of the room, which suddenly increased to a bright flame. I looked out, apprehending that something had caught fire, when, to my amazement, I beheld a beautiful boy, clothed in white, with bright locks resembling gold, standing by my bedside, in which position he remained some minutes, fixing his eyes upon me with a mild and benevolent expression. He then glided gently towards the side of the chimney, where it is obvious there is no possible egress, and entirely disappeared. I found myself again in total darkness, and all remained quiet until the usual hour of rising. I declare this to be a true account of what I saw at Corby Castle, upon my word as a clergyman.”

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