Delve into the history of Croft Castle

A photograph of staff from a bygone era at croft castle, Herefordshire

The Croft family have been key players and confidantes to England's leaders since 1055. From Edward the Confessor to Winston Churchill, find out how the family played their part in major historical events.

Back to the Domesday book

The Croft estate was founded by a Norman knight, Bernard the Bearded around 1055. Under orders from Edward the Confessor, Bernard built the first Croft Mote and Bailey castle to protect the English borders from the troublesome Welsh.

You can hear more about what happened after Bernard during one of our morning tours or take a look at the video below for a brief introduction to Croft's fascinating history.

The White Roses

During the Wars of the Roses, Sir Richard Croft fought beside Edward Mortimer at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461 and became a trusted confindante when Mortimer became Edward IV.

Richard's wife, Eleanor, was a governess to Edward IV's sons, who were put in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard III, and never seen again. Their mysterious disappearence and public speculation gave them their title in history as the 'Princes in the Tower'. 

The Crofts and the Tudors

Sir James Croft carved his name into British history forever by being one of the main leaders of the infamous 1554 Wyatt rebellion against Mary I.

He was pardoned and eventually became Elizabeth I’s Comptroller of the Royal Household in 1570. Upon his death in 1590 the Croft family had the honour and prestige of having Sir James buried in Westminster Abbey. 

The Crofts and the Civil War

Throughout the English Civil War, Rev. Herbert Croft was a staunch Royalist and was later rewarded for his loyalty by Charles II. Herbert was selected to be the Bishop of Hereford in 1660 and the Dean of the Royal Chapel in 1668.

Herbert's eldest brother, Sir William Croft fought with the Royalist army, and after a fierce battle against the Parliamentarians at Stokesay Castle ensued, he was later killed as he was about to scale the park wall of Croft.

The royal obstetrician

Sir Richard Croft (6th Bt) was a leading obstetrician who was elected to care for Princess Charlotte during her labour in November 1817. Charlotte was the wife of Prince Leopold of Germany and daughter of the Prince Regent.

Come and listen to one of our talks to find out about the tragic event that took place and how it transformed the Victorian era.

Churchill's advisor

Sir James died in 1941 and the castle was then inherited by Henry Page Croft. However, he did not live in the castle during the Second World War, as it was used as a convent school until 1946. 

Henry Page served as a Brigadier General during the First World War and was later appointed as Churchill’s Under-Secretary of State for War in 1940. It was in 1940 that Lord Henry was given a hereditary peerage, thereby becoming the 1st Baron Croft. After the war, he replaced the entire roof of the castle and was about to move in when he unfortunately died in 1947.