Remains of a fortified house with later alterations and additions, situated on a sandstone spur which overlooks the western bank of the River Mole. Its north eastern end, built of sandstone and brick, survives in a ruinous state to 9 metres in height, whilst the south western end survives only largely below ground. Historical records indicate that Betchworth Castle dates to at least 1377, when Sir John Fitzalan, Marshal of England, was granted licence to crenellate his residence there. It is likely that the fortified house was constructed on the site of an earlier castle, traces of which may survive beneath the later buildings. The castle lies on the edge of Bletchworth Park Golf Club.
At a mile E. of the village of Bletchworth, on the E. of Reigate, upon a high bank over the river Mole, is the site of this castle, at first the possession of Richard de Tonbridge, as Bletchingley (q.v.), and afterwards of the Earls of Arundel. In 1377 John FitzAlan, second son of Richard, Earl of Arundel, succeeded to this property, and had a licence to crenellate his manor-house here. Having married Eleanor, co-heir of John, Lord Maltravers, he was created Lord Maltravers in his wife’s right, and became Earl Marshal of England in the reign of Richard II. ; he died 1379, and after his son’s death this estate seems to have passed, by a daughter of his grandson, Sir Thomas of Beechwood, to her husband, Sir Thomas Browne, Knt., who was treasurer of the household to Henry VI. (Burke’s “Extinct Peerage.”) Browne had a licence, in 1449, further to embattle the place, and had a park and free warren, and his family continued here for over 250 years, till 1690, when, by the daughter of Sir Adam Browne, Bart. (creation 1627), the castle and manor went in marriage to one William Fenwick, who pulled down the greater part of the castle, and turned the remainder into an ordinary dwelling-house. His widow sold the estate to Abraham Tucker, after whom it went to various owners.
In 1860 Henry T. Hope, of Deepdene, acquired it by purchase, and annexed it to his estate, dismantling the old house, then much out of repair. Little remains now of the Fenwicks’ dwelling, and nothing whatever of the ancient castle. A magnificent double avenue of limes, 300 yards long, leads up the hill to the ruin. (Castles Of England, Sir James D. Mackenzie, 1896)
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