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Fillingham Castle (also known as Summer Castle)


An 18th-century landscape park and woodland of 40 hectares surround the 18th-century gothic style castle. The castle, or 'summer castle' as it is also known, is a large hall or mansion built in 1760 by Sir Cecil Wray.


The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Mid- to late 18th-century park and woodland surrounding a mid-18th-century Gothic-style castle.



Fillingham Castle occupies a rural setting c 10km to the north of Lincoln, on the west side of the A15 Ermine Street which forms part of the eastern boundary. The c 40ha site is bounded to the west by Middle Street, the B1398, and by farmland to the north, south, and much of the east, where only the east avenue extends as far as the A15. The site itself occupies level ground but the Castle is situated on a ridge. The ground falls away to the west, giving dramatic views over Fillingham Broad and the village of Fillingham, within which lies the church and the Manor House, both having been gothicised in the late C18 to embellish the view.


The main approach to Fillingham Castle is from the B1398, c 250m to the south-west of the Castle. Up until the beginning of the C20 a lodge and gates stood at this entrance but these were removed by 1909 (OS) and the approach is now (2001) marked by simple stone gate piers. The tarmac drive runs north-east through mixed woodland containing some mature lime, to emerge at the tarmac forecourt below the south front. The drive continues north along the base of the east terrace to the rear of the house and the stable block. On the eastern boundary of the park stands a gateway with attached lodges and walls (listed grade II*). Built of limestone ashlar, the archway is neo-Gothic in style and was probably erected by John Carr in c 1775. Flanking the lodges are low crenellated screen walls which extend for c 30m in each direction. A wide avenue of trees runs from the lodges to the east front. This was laid out in the C18 (Armstrong, 1779) and until the early C20 carried the east drive up to the Castle (OS 1909). During the C20 the drive was abandoned and the grass became the main area of grazed parkland.


Fillingham Castle (listed grade I) is a Gothic-style country house built of limestone ashlar and coursed limestone rubble. It is constructed in three storeys, the lower storey having been concealed by the raised garden terrace added when the north wing was erected at the end of the C18. The central rectangular C18 core has four large corner turrets while the late C18/early C19 north wing addition has two storeys and five bays. The entrance door faces south, with garden fronts to the east and west. Fillingham Castle was built between c 1760 and 1770, possibly by John Carr (1723-1807), for Sir Cecil Wray.

The stable block (listed grade II) lies c 100m to the north-east of the Castle and was erected in the late C18. It consists of three two-storey ranges of coursed limestone rubble and is open to the south. Attached to the stables are outbuildings and a small stone cottage; these are used partly as stabling and partly for storage and parking.


The Castle is surrounded by a narrow raised terrace constructed with a stone rubble wall. It is laid to grass with borders against the house on the east, south, and west fronts while the north front leads onto a paved area.

Below the south terrace and beyond the tarmac forecourt is a large open lawn bordered to the east and west by plantations containing trees of mixed ages and species. The mature specimens are mainly oak, lime, and Wellingtonia. A C20 plantation enclosing the lawn to the south has recently (2000) been partly felled to reopen the view out over the south park.

Below the west terrace is a further large lawn, bordered to the north and south by plantations edged with mature limes. A late C20 swimming pool lies on the northern edge of the lawn, enclosed by conifer hedges.


Fillingham Castle is set in the north-west corner of the park. Small woodlands surround the Castle, with Lady's Wood and Pale Wood to the north-west and north-east, and Fox Covert c 150m to the south-east. To the east of the Castle the park extends for c 1.2km along the east avenue, originally a drive but now (2001) laid to grass. It is partly lined with mature oaks with sycamore and horse chestnut, planted in mixed species groups along its length as far as the east lodge gateway.

To the south of Fox Covert and the south lawn, open arable land extends as far as Hare's Wood on the southern boundary of the park. When it was laid out in the late C18 the park covered the whole of the area to the east of the south park as far as Ermine Street, and also extended slightly further north than it does now (Armstrong, 1779). The former boundaries to the north are still marked by ornamental archways facing Middle Street and Ermine Street respectively, now (2001) standing in arable land. The park had been reduced to its present size by 1909 (OS).


The walled kitchen garden lies immediately to the north of the Castle, beyond the drying ground and is composed of two compartments, both of which date from the late C18 but with planting added since 1949. The southern compartment is enclosed by high red-brick walls and is entered through a gateway (late C18, listed grade II) from the north end of the west terrace. It is divided by a central path running north/south through the garden, the western half being laid out as a series of ornamental flower gardens while to the east of the path are lawns, orchard trees, and a hard tennis court. Beyond the north wall is a second, smaller compartment surrounded by rough stone and brick walls with a cottage attached to the north-east corner facing the farm buildings and barn (listed grade II) associated with the Castle Farm complex. This smaller compartment is used for vegetable production (2001).


The Garden, 51 (1897), p 239

Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire (1900)

H Thorold and J Yates, Lincolnshire, A Shell Guide (1965), p 59

N Pevsner et al, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (2nd edition 1989), pp 276-7

H Thorold, Lincolnshire Houses (1999), pp 43-4


Capt A Armstrong, Map of the County of Lincolnshire, 1779 (Lincolnshire Archives)

OS 1" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1824

OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1907

Description written: June 2001

Edited: May 2002

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


Fillingham Castle was built between about 1760 and 1770, possibly by the architect John Carr of York, for Sir Cecil Wray. To accompany the house, which was constructed on a virgin site, a park was laid out and a kitchen garden built. Towards the end of the 18th century or early in the 19th century Sir Cecil, or his son and heir, extended the Castle to the north and added a raised terrace all around it, thus converting the original ground floor into an extensive cellar. During this period the park was at its most extensive with a long avenue aligned on the east front and Gothic-style arches placed at the extremities of the park. Sometime in the 19th century the Wray family died out and the property was inherited by the Daltons, who maintained estates elsewhere, and for most of their ownership they let Fillingham Castle to a series of tenants. By the end of the 19th century most of the open areas of park had been ploughed, and by 1900 the house, although in the ownership of Seymour Berkeley Portman- Dalton, was empty. During the first half of the 20th century the property was mostly left to decline. It was purchased by the Rose family in 1949 who undertook a major restoration project on the house, which was reduced in size. The surviving areas of park and woodland were rejuvenated and the walled garden replanted. The site remains (2001) in private ownership.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1975
  • Grade: II


  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Gothic-style castle.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Avenue
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Part: standing remains



Civil Parish