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Kirby Muxloe Castle

Visited July 2022

Location Kirby Muxloe, Nr. Leicester
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Gift Shop
Map

 

Kirby Muxloe Castle is about 4.5 miles outside of the city of Leicester, and like many other sites in the locality, is very much linked to the story of King Richard III.

 

 


 

 


Review

 

Building work on a new and sumptuous castle was started by William, Lord Hastings, a loyal ally of Kind Edward IV. He had already re-built nearby Ashby Castle, which become the principal residence of his family, but it was Kirby Muxloe that he considered his ancestral home: his father was born in the village, and so before he had fully completed the expansive building works at Ashby Castle, William began work on a grand fortified manor at Kirby Muxloe.

 

Only an extremely wealthy man could finance the build of two castles at once, and William's allegiance to the King had brought him great rewards. Kirby Muxloe Castle was  built from red brick, which was unusual at the time and also a sign of his wealth.

 


 

 


 

All this changed in 1483 when King Edward IV died. Hastings and Edward's brother Richard were initially friends, but Richard had him executed for treason in 1483. This act remains controversial to this day, as it was seen as a summary execution without a fair trial, although there more recent opinions which suggest that Richard was reacting to the news of a conspiracy against him led by Hastings. Either way, Richard seemed to regret his hasty action as he allowed Hasting's heirs to inherit his lands, which was unusual for the descendants of those executed for treason.

 

However, Hasting's execution effectively ended building work at Kirby Muxloe, although his widow Katherine carried on some of the work after her husband's death, it was gradually brought to a standstill, as the family concentrated on making Ashby Castle their main seat.

 


 

 


 

What is clear from the remains of the castle, is that it was intended to be an extremely lavish sign of the family's wealth; the planned buildings, the quality of the brick work, the ornamental features on the buildings were all designed to impress.

 

As it happens only one of the four intended corner towers was built, and the gatehouse which was never completed. There is also the foundations for the other intended buildings around the edge of the castle. The moat makes it a very picturesque site to visit.

 

Because of the amount of water in the large moat, the castle site is also the home to many wildfowl. They are interesting to watch, but make sure you wear suitable footwear as they inevitably leave droppings everywhere.

 

As well as the climbable towers, and the ducks and geese, children might enjoy the moat-side walk which is mostly wooded and has some interesting trees and a couple of bridges to cross. The moat is deep though, so take care. The whole site is small enough to walk round without it being a chore, but big enough to provide some space to run around.

 

There are no toilets or cafe facilities at the castle, but we found the Castle Hotel, which is about five minutes walk away, offers lovely food at a reasonable price.

 

At the time of our visit in July 2022, the castle site only seems to be open at the weekends, so please check the website for up to date opening times before you visit.

 

 


 

 


 

More info:  English Heritage Kirby Muxloe Castle

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