New Wardour Castle
Between 1770 and 1776, Henry, the 8th Lord Arundell, returned to Wardour and built a very grand mansion house, known as New Wardour Castle, a mile from the old castle ruins. At this time, the law forbade the construction of Catholic churches and chapels as separate buildings, so Henry built a chapel inside his new mansion house, taking up the entire west wing. It was the first Catholic chapel built for public worship to meet these restrictions.
In 1754 a new Marriage Act became law - all marriages had to take place during daylight hours in an "open ceremony" and only marriages held at approved places (Anglican, Jewish and Quaker churches) were deemed legal. Although the law required Catholics to marry in Anglican churches, according to historians only 50% of such marriages in and around Tisbury conformed to the law.
All Saints Chapel in New Wardour Castle is semi-circular at both ends; the interior is lavishly decorated with fine fittings, paintings and vestments, many of which came from continental Europe. The cemetery dates from 1836. The Chapel served the Catholic community until a new church was built in Tisbury in 1898. Two years after the last Lord Arundel, John Francis, died in 1944, part of the estate was sold to pay death duties. (see further down page). Plan of New Wardour Castle
Beneath the rugged elm and yew tree shade
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap
Each in their narrow cell forever laid
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep
A mixed boarding school at Bridzor (just south of New Wardour Castle) in 1780 is mentioned in an advertisement at the time:
Mr. Jones at Bridzor nr Wardour Castle, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Terms: eighteen pounds a year for reading, writing, accompts, board, lodging, washing, mending, etc.
Particular care will be paid to the morals and knowledge in religious duty
Admittance from six to eleven years of age
By 1838 the school, having undergone many structural and educational changes, had moved to its present site. In 1952 official aided status was granted from the Ministry of Education. The first board of managers consisted of Mr J Arundell, Fr Paine, Fr Mortland, Dr Kennedy GP and, for Tisbury Parish Council, Mr J Burt and Mr G Bull JP. In 1966, it became a Primary School and still educates the Catholic community today.
Old Wardour Castle
Built in the late 14th century, the castle was acquired by Thomas, the first Lord Arundell in 1547. During the English Civil War, it was besieged by Parliamentarians while the second Lord Arundell was away fighting for the Crown; his wife Lady Blanche tried to defend the castle with only a handful of men, but surrendered when it was was threatened with complete destruction. With the castle uninhabitable, the Arundell's moved away. The Old Castle is now owned by English Heritage. Seige Surrender Terms 1643
Contributing to Photo Galleries etc
The information and images on this page are of great interest to researchers in the UK and Worldwide who are tracing their family history. If you would like to share photographs of your ancestors who were born or married in Wardour, picture postcards, or any other information, please email us. Your contribution really will be appreciated. Thank you.
Primarily, articles selected are those that contain names of parishioners to assist family history researchers however, the articles shown should not be presumed to be the only ones that appear in the given years, or that there are no articles in any of the years omitted.
Eye-witness accounts, written in 1982, by local people who worked for and knew the Arundell family including photographs and contributions from estate staff; many local people who lived in Wardour and Tisbury are named. Life at Wardour - Not So Long Ago
The Guild Hall
The Guild Hall at Bridzor was built in 1885 by the Arundell family for the Catholic community. It had a large stage for dramatic performances; dances, whist drives, wedding receptions and other social events were regularly held there. In the 1950's the Guild Hall became a private house. The Guild Hall
The Great War
The war memorial in Tisbury commemorates 45 casualties of WW1 many of whom were born in Wardour, but it is not possible to conclusively identify which ones.
There are two WW1 soldiers buried in Commonwealth War Graves at Wardour Catholic Cemetery, neither of whom had any connection with Wardour apart from their burials but biopics have been included to assist family history researchers.
All Saints Chapel
Registers held at Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
Registers from 1875 held by the incumbent
Marriage Announcements 1738-1948
Kelly's Directories - see the Tisbury page
Wardour was the ancestral seat of the Lords Arundell for 400 years, from 1547 to 1944. After the Reformation, the family remained staunchly Catholic as did the vast majority of their servants and estate workers, at one time numbering 500, who all lived at Wardour.
The Arundells were generous benefactors of the school and other buildings and were kindly towards their tenants. Together with the priests and nuns, they led the locals in the practice of the Catholic faith. Many of the former Lords Arudell including Thomas, the first Lord, are interred in a private vault beneath the altar in St John the Baptist Church in Tisbury.
Once a parish in its own right, in 1927 Wardour merged with East Tisbury and West Tisbury to become the civil parish of Tisbury.