Secrets of Great British Castles

Arundel Castle

Series 2 - Episode 6 Arundel Castle



Arundel Castle has dominated the surrounding West Sussex countryside for 1,000 years, ever since Norman lord Roger de Montgomerie (“the Bill Gates of his day”) first built a wooden fort there on top of a hill.

Subsequent years saw endless fights, squabbles and battles. But by the 1600s, presenter Dan Jones tells us, it was more like an art gallery than a fortress and by 1786 its then owner, the decadent Charles Howard (the “Dirty Duke”), turned it into a pleasure palace.

Historian Ruth Goodman is on hand to show Jones some Victorian cosmetics, but he’s not impressed when he learns he’s just slicked his hair back with lard.


Arundel Castle, in West Sussex, has been the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for over 850 years, with its fortunes rising and falling with those of the Howard family. A particularly low point occured when Thomas Howard, the fourth Duke of Norfolk, was executed by Elizabeth I for allegedly plotting to marry her rival Mary Queen of Scots. Dan Jones meets a weapons expert, who shows him how Richard FitzAlan, the third Earl of Arundel, would have fought in the 100 Years War. He also meets a social historian, who gives an insight into how Arundel would have prepared for Queen Victoria's visit in 1846.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Dan Jones
Director Fiona Fahy
Director Ciara Bresnihan
Director Gerry Hoban
Executive Producer Billy McGrath
Executive Producer Abigail Adams
Producer Fiona Fahy
Producer Ciara Bresnihan
Series Producer Sarah Share
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Documentary History