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Clearwell Castle

Clearwell Castle, May 2008.

Clearwell Castle in Clearwell, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, is a grade II* listed Gothic Revival mansion.



First known as Clearwell Court, it was built in the Gothic style by Thomas Wyndham in 1727, to the designs of Roger Morris,[1] and replaced an older house which occupied the same site.[2][3] He was a son of Francis Wyndham (d.1716), a grandson of Sir George Wyndham of Uffords Manor, Norfolk, 6th son of Sir John Wyndham (1558-1645) of Orchard Wyndham,[4][5] Somerset, from whom was descended the Wyndham Earls of Egremont of Petworth House, Sussex, and several other prominent Wyndham branches. The building was constructed of local stone in Gothic style with battlements. It has an imposing gateway formed by two three-storey towers.

20th century

Its name was changed to Clearwell Castle in 1908. For a time after 1947 it lay empty and deserted but in 1953 it was bought and restored by the son of the former estate under-gardener, Frank Yeates (d.1973). Frank sold his bakery business in Blackpool and along with his wife, Alice, and two sons, Graham and Bernard, worked quietly and tirelessly to restore the Castle room by room to its former glory until his death in 1973. Friends and relatives spent their spare time and holidays helping the family work on the Castle.[6]

In the 1970s Clearwell Castle was used regularly as a rehearsal and recording studio by rock music bands including Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Badfinger, Sweet, Mott the Hoople and Bad Company. Deep Purple rehearsed for their album Burn there in 1973. Peter Frampton recorded his 1975 album "Frampton" there. Sweet wrote and recorded parts of their Level Headed and Cut Above The Rest albums there in 1977 and 1978 respectively. Led Zeppelin composed and rehearsed some of their album In Through the Out Door there in 1978. Black Sabbath came to the castle in 1973 seeking inspiration after a series of fruitless writing sessions in California. The band found what they were looking for (including "the riff that saved Black Sabbath") in an underground recording studio built by the Yeates family there, writing the critically acclaimed album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

Clearwell Castle is now a wedding venue.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Clearwell Castle". Castles and Fortifications of England & Wales. Charles Taylor. 1997–2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  3. ^ "Clearwell". Royal Forest of Dean. Forest Web. 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, Cromer, Past and Present: Or an Attempt to Describe the Parishes of Shipden. London: 1889, pp.30-1
  6. ^ "Clearwell Castle - a Family Affair" Cathryn Yeates 1987


  • Rowan A (1970) Clearwell Castle, Gloucestershire, in Colvin H and Harris J, The Country Seat: Studies in the History of the British Country House, Allen Lane, London, pp. 145-149.

External links

Coordinates: 51°46′2″N 2°37′28″W / 51.76722°N 2.62444°W / 51.76722; -2.62444{{#coordinates:51|46|2|N|2|37|28|W|type:landmark |primary |name= }}

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