Sherborne Old Castle

Sherborne Old Castle is a 12th-century ruin set in grounds next to New Sherborne Castle. The castle was built for Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of England, who after King Henry I was the most powerful person in England. It remained a retreat for the Bishops of Salisbury until the 16th century.

Sat Nav Postcode DT9 3SA (Google map)


Sherborne Old Castle Opening Times

23 March until 03 November 2024
10am-5pm (last admission half an hour before closing)

Sherborne Old Castle Dorset
Sherborne Old Castle

Sherborne Old Castle Admission Charges

Entrance for English Heritage members is FREE. 

Standard Entrance Fees bought online for non-members are shown below. At peak times (summer weekends) the entrance fee is around £1 more and at off-peak times (non-summer weekdays) the entrance fee is around £1 less. On the door tickets are around 10% more. Check the English Heritage website in advance for prices and opening times.

Standard Ticket TypeWith donationWithout donation
Child (5-17)£4£3.60
Senior (over 65) & Student£6.50£5.90
Family 2 adults + 3 children£19£17.20
Family 1 adult + 3 children£11.50£10.40
Prices shown above are for standard tickets bought in advance online.. The price is more expePrices subject to change. Check English Heritage website for up-to-date info. Information last updated 04 March 2024
Artists impression of how the castle looked like before if was destroyed in 1645 after the English Civil War – Information from an English Heritage board at the entrance to the castle

In 1592 the castle was leased to Sir Walter Raleigh, explorer and adventurer, who was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I (reined 1558-1603). The expense of refurbishing the old castle proved too great and Raleigh opted to built a new residence within the grounds a short distance away. The new 4-storey house, Sherborne Lodge (now known as “new” Sherborne Castle) was completed in 1594 where he lived until he was accused of treason and executed in 1618. His estates were forfeited to the Crown (James I who reined 1603 – 1625) before being sold to Sir John Digby in 1617.

During the English Civil War (1642-1651) the castle survived two sieges. However after the Parliamentarians (Roundheads) won the war against the Royalists (Cavaliers) the castle was laid to ruin to prevent further use and only the Southwest Gatehouse and parts of the castle, including the Great Tower and the North Range, now survive. Sherborne Old Castle wasn’t the only castle to be ordered to be destroyed by Parliament at the end of the Civil War. Corfe Castle was another example and blown up using gunpowder as well as many other castles throughout the country.

Just for your information the Parliamentarians had been led by Oliver Cromwell and the King at the time was Charles I who followed James I and reined from 1625 – 1649. Charles I was executed by Parliament and the monarchy was abolished and run as a republic under Oliver Crowell. The monarchy was finally restored to Charle’s son, Charles II, in 1660.

The New Sherborne Castle has remained the stately home of the Digby family ever since

The South West Gatehouse viewed from outside
South West Gatehouse information board – English Heritage
Ruins of The Central Building as viewed from the South West Gatehouse
The Central Building information board – English Heritage
The South West Gatehouse viewed from inside

Related Pages: Sherborne Castle / Sherborne / Sherborne Abbey / Corfe Castle