Walworth Castle Estate dates back to 1150 and can trace it’s heritage from the Hansard family known as the “Handsome Hansard’s”. Their Heraldic Moto can be seen set in stone above the Ballroom entrance. The Hansard’s are famous for chronicling the debates in the Houses of Parliament of which some of the debates can be seen today in the Library Tower which have been donated by previous MP’s. Between 1189 and 1576, Walworth Castle and it’s estate were owned by the Hansard family. It was then however sold to Thomas Jenison in 1576 and continued to be owned by the Jenison’s until 1759.
In 1586, Elizabeth Jenison added many of the features of the castle, including the solid oak staircase and the ornate coving. During her rule at Walworth Castle, she welcomed many visitors. Most notably on 14th April 1603 Elizabeth Jenison entertained King James VI Scotland, who was travelling down to his coronation to become King James I of England. Our beautiful bridal suite, the King James Suite, was the actual room which King James himself stayed in during his time at Walworth Castle.
In 1605 Elizabeth Jenison dies and her son William Jenison inherited the estate. At this time her estate, comprising of the castle and farm stock and corn were valued at £954-10-1d. William was a Roman Catholic and a rebel and was imprisoned for refusing the take the oath of allegiance to the Crown. This brought great suffering to the family and debt and dilapidation to the castle and after his death.
The castle worked its way through the Jenison family until 1759 when the castle was sold to a wine merchant Matthew Stephenson, a wine merchant from Newcastle. He didn’t keep it for very long and sold the property again in 1775 to John Harrison.
John Harrison died in 1819 and left his estate to Ann, his only child. She married General Arthur Aylmer. General Aylmer was Lieutenant General of the Durham Light Infantry. Their only son succeeded the General, however tragedy struck and he and his wife Rosanna and their eighteen-year-old son were killed in the Abergele Railway Accident.
In 1931, after the death of the Aylmers the estate was bought by Neville and Charles Eade. It was then it was sold to Lord and Lady Palmer. During the Second World War, the castle was let to the Durham Light Infantry where it was used for high ranking German and Italian officers.
In 1950, Walworth Castle was sold to Durham County Council where it was used as a school for girls. The council then sold the castle to a private couple who turned the property into a hotel. The hotel has been in the current ownership since 2000.
Now privately owned, the castle has been lovingly restored, highlighting many of its original features. Upgrading this beautiful building has consisted of refurbishing many of the bedrooms, suites and public areas, to make sure that all our guests have 21st century facilities in this 12th century castle. In 2007, Walworth Castle Hotel joined the Best Western brand, which is the largest group of privately owned and operated hotels. Now a popular venue for weddings, celebrations and overnight accommodation.
As recent as 2018, Walworth Castle Hotel has won a raft of awards including, Small Hotel of the Year, Award of Excellence through Tripadvisor, Silver Award for Green Tourism and 5 stars for food hygiene. We are continuing to deliver excellent customer service in this beautiful venue. We are also sympathetically restoring the building back to its former glory.