Arundell, Blanche, Lady 1583-1649, defender of Wardour Castle, was daughter of Edward, earl of Worcester, and Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Hastings, earl of Hungerford. She married Thomas, second Lord Arundell, of Wardour, Wilts. She is chiefly remembered for her gallant defence of Wardour Castle against Sir Edward Hungerford and Colonel Strode, commanders for the parliament. Though her husband was at Oxford, and she had but twenty-five men against thirteen hundred, she replied to the summons to surrender the castle that she had a command from her lord to keep it, and she would obey his command. Quarter being offered for the women and children only, she refused it, and held out from Tuesday, 2 May 1643, till Wednesday of the next week. The battery of the besiegers played on the castle night and day, and the maidservants loaded the muskets for the garrison, who were worn out for want of sleep. Resistance ceased when two mines were sprung beneath the fortress, but honourable terms were obtained. All were admitted to quarter; but the stipulation against plunder was shamelessly broken. Outbuildings were burnt, deer killed, ponds cut, fish sold, fruit trees rooted up, and the leaden pipes, two miles long, supplying the castle with water, were sold at 6d. a yard. When to this was added the damage to choice pictures and books, the total loss was estimated at 100,000l. The castle was occupied by Ludlow, but recovered (after a siege from September to March 1644) by the son of Lady Blanche [see Arundell, Henry]. Lady Arundell, on leaving the castle, had not a bed to lie on, nor means to provide herself a house or furniture (Hist. MSS. Comm. Report, v. 89). She went to Salisbury, where she was provided with a lodging by the charity of Lord Hertford. Thence she petitioned the parliament for protection. She died at Winchester 28 Oct. 1649, and was buried with her husband at Tisbury.

     Mercurius Britannicus
     Ludlow's Memoirs (1751)
     Sir R. C. Hoare's Wiltshire
     Wilts. Archæol. Mag. xx. 41-2

Contributor: R. C. B. [Richard Charles Browne]

Published: 1885