The changing faces of Croft Castle

A framed photo of James Croft sitting in his Alvis outside Croft Castle in Herefordshire

Croft Castle hasn't always been occupied by the Crofts. Take a look at the rise and fall of members of the Croft family and how the castle has been used over the centuries.

The Baronetcy begins
The Croft's undying loyalty to the British monarchy was rewarded in 1671 when Bishop Herbert Croft's son was created a Baronet and the title lives on to this day in Australia.
 
In the gallery you can see a collection of family portraits, spanning across the many generations.

The one who lost it all...
Portrait of Lord Archer Croft, Croft Castle, Herefordshire
The one who lost it all...

From Baronetcy to bankruptcy
The 700 year history of the Crofts came to an abrupt end in 1746 when Sir Archer Croft declared bankruptcy after investing in the 1720 South Sea Bubble.
 
Eventually Sir Archer ended up selling the castle and the estates to the self made millionaire Richard Knight, a local Ironmaster. 

Croft reclaimed 
After 170 years, in 1923, Croft was reclaimed by Lady Katherine Croft. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the castle was brought back to life by Katherine and her children.

Portrait of Katherine Parr, Lady Croft, by Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn
Portrait of Katherine Parr, Lady Croft, by Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn
Portrait of Katherine Parr, Lady Croft, by Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn

They enjoyed many parties, balls and social banquets. Sir James excelled at sport, choosing to spend his time hunting, fishing and driving his extremely fast cars around the Herefordshire countryside.

The school years
During the Second World War the castle became home to St. Mary’s Convent School for Girls. Some of the girls' coat pegs and graffiti can still be seen on the attic walls today.

An echo from the past; school children from the 1940's have left their mark in the attics at Croft
Graffiti by school children from the 1940's in the attics at Croft Castle in Herefordshire
An echo from the past; school children from the 1940's have left their mark in the attics at Croft

 
In 1957, Croft Castle and its parkland came into our care.