Clearwell Castle

Clearwell Castle, May 2008.

Clearwell Castle in Clearwell, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, is a grade II* listed Gothic Revival mansion. First known as Clearwell Court, it was built in the Gothic style by Thomas Wyndham in 1727, to the designs of Roger Morris,[1] and replaced an older house which occupied the same site.[2] He was a son of Francis Wyndham (d.1716), a grandson of Sir George Wyndham of Uffords Manor, Norfolk, 6th son of Sir John Wyndham (1558-1645) of Orchard Wyndham,[3][4] Somerset, from whom was descended the Wyndham Earls of Egremont of Petworth House, Sussex, and several other prominent Wyndham branches. The building was constructed of local stone in Gothic style with battlements. It has an imposing gateway formed by two three-storey towers.

The Wyndham family

Charles Wyndham (later Edwin) and his son Thomas Wyndham in 1775
Etching of Clearwell Castle in 1775

Thomas Wyndham (1686-1752) made substantial alterations and additions to the existing Clearwell mansion in 1727. He was the son of Francis Wyndham, a wealthy landowner. His mother was Sarah Darell, the daughter of Sir Thomas Darell. He was educated at Eton and the University of Cambridge and became a barrister and later a Member of Parliament. He married twice. His first wife was his cousin Jane Wyndham daughter and heir of William Wyndham who owned Dunraven Castle. She brought this estate into his family and it was passed through successive generations. His second wife was Anne Edwin, daughter of Samuel Edwin of Llanmihangel Place, Glamorgan.[5] The couple had two sons. When Thomas died in 1752 his eldest son by his second marriage Charles Wyndham inherited Clearwell Castle.

Notice of name change of Charles Wyndham from Wyndham to Edwin

Charles Wyndham (1731-1801) was born in 1831 in London. In 1862 he married Eleanor Rooke, daughter of James Rooke of Ifton and Bigsweir House. The couple had one son Thomas Wyndham (1763-1814.[6] In about 1775 Charles had his portrait painted with his son Thomas who was then about 12 years old. At about the same time he commissioned an etching of Clearwell Castle which shows both the house and the stable. The painting and etching are both shown.

In 1776 his aunt Lady Charlotte Edwin died and as she and her deceased husband had no children Charles inherited their large fortune. In the following year he changed his name to Charles Edwin in accordance with the terms of the inheritance. The notice for this is shown.

Charles died in 1801 and his son Thomas Wyndham (1763-1814) inherited Clearwell Castle. In 1787 he married Anna Maria Charlotte Ashby.[7] The couple had a son and a daughter. However their son died at a young age leaving their daughter Caroline the sole heir of the Wyndham fortune. Caroline (1789-1870) married in 1810 Windham Henry Quin (1782-1850) who was the eldest son of Sir Valentine Richard Quin owner of Adare Manor in Ireland. When her father died in 1814 she inherited Thomas’s estates and the couple changed their surname to Wyndham Quin. When Windham’s father died in 1824 he inherited the family property and titles and became Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin, 2nd Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl.

Caroline was known for her philanthropic work. She established schools in the towns where she and her husband owned land including Clearwell. In 1859 she built a new school there at her own expense. She also made large contributions to the church and opened a cottage hospital.[8]

Caroline died in 1870 and the property remained in the Wyndham family until 1893 when it was sold.

Other Languages