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Berkshire, England, plan of Donnington Castle, 1776
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Berkshire England, antique plan of Donnington Castle 1776

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Plan of Donnington Castle by Adam Smith.

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Berkshire England, antique plan of Donnington Castle 1776

Engraved by Adam Smith

Plan of Donnington Castle by Adam Smith 10 May 1776

Donnington Castle is now the ruins of a 14th century castle with a courtyard of flint and stone; the upstanding remains of an attached gatehouse with repairs in brick; and the surrounding earthworks from a Civil War fieldwork or star fort were built as fortifications by the garrison governor Sir John Boys in the style of Italian Renaissance 'star' artillery defences.

Each projection was designed to provide a gun emplacement with a wide field of fire. They have been described as perhaps the leading example of a star fort in the UK.

It is a nationally important site, as indicated by the designations of Scheduled Monument and Grade I Listed Building.

In 1386 Richard de Abberbury received a licence from the king to rebuild a castle on his land at Donnington.

Its commanding position overlooks the crossing of two of the main north-south and east-west roads of England.

The surviving building, the three-storey gatehouse, was added to a slightly earlier quadrangular building. The ruined courtyard west of the gatehouse was probably a mid 14th century bailey with buildings on all sides.

The curtain wall with four round corner towers and two square wall towers can be traced, but the walls now only exist to a height of a metre or less and have been extensively rebuilt.

Most of this damage was caused during the Civil War siege of Donnington Castle, from July 1644 to April 1646, when the Parliamentarians bombarded the castle using cannons. In 1415 the manor of Donnington was sold to Thomas Chaucer, who was probably the son of Geoffrey Chaucer, although the poet had died by this time.

The castle's glory days were during the Civil War when it was garrisoned for King Charles I; after the destruction of the siege, the estate's owner John Packer abandoned the building in favour of the Elizabethan lodge which became Donnington Castle House. Excavations were carried out in the courtyard in 1932 when the castle was in private ownership; it was placed in the care of the State in 1946.

Today the castle is managed by English Heritage.

 

Leaf app.: 31 x 22 cm. 12.1 x 8.6 inches.
Map app.:  18 x 16.5 cm. 7 x 6.5 inches
Condition: View very good, soiling on borders.