The Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust has bought the historic home of the bishops of Worcetser. And will restore it as a tourist attraction.

Hartlebury Castle, the historic home of the bishops of Worcester, is being turned into a tourist attraction by locals, who have bought the property from the Church Commissioners. The Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust (HCPT) bought the castle at the end of March after raising £5.7 million for the project.
The castle had belonged to the see of Worcester for more than a thousand years. Unlike most bishops’ residences, Hartlebury, which is set in 43 acres of parkland and gardens, has a fishing lake, stables and three cottages.


Hartlebury Castle’s Hurd library was built by Bishop Hurd to house his 5,000 books. “It’s the only library in the Anglican communion where the books are on the shelves in the room built for it. It’s a gentleman’s library from the Age of Enlightenment,” says Robert Greenwood, chair of the Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust. The Field thinks the country house library is back in fashion. And this library with the books on their original shleves is one to add to your literary pilgrimage.

The Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust bought the castle with the help of a £5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and funds received from local authorities, trusts and private donors. The castle “is tired and in need of restoration work,” says Greenwood. “We will spend the remainder of this year completing our plans and hopefully starting some work. Next year major works within the bishop’s house, including installing a new lift to serve the Hurd library and upper floors, will be done. In 2017 the restoration will be complete and the whole castle will once again function as a single building.”

The castle is open for group tours this summer and on 17 June a tea party will be held to launch a First World War exhibition. For more details, visit the Hartlebury Castle website.