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To the west of Derby, a few yards to the north of the A52 road to Ashbourne is a sunken lane running through the old village of Mackworth. The entrance to one of the farms is a turreted gatehouse dated c 1495-1500, which is all that remains of Mackworth ‘Castle’, which was home to the De Mackworth family who served under the Black Prince at the battle of Poitiers.
It is said that Mackworth ‘Castle’ was destroyed during the English Civil War. There is no evidence to show that the actual castle was a stone built structure as we think of a castle today, but was probably more likely to be a timber-framed fortified Manor House. It’s exact history is something of a mystery. Some say that the gatehouse may have been built as a folly, or possibly as a gatehouse to a house that was never built. (A large platform for a house has been found to the north of the gatehouse.) The standing remains of the gatehouse comprise of the facade and part of the outer side walls of a two storey sandstone building. On the ground floor is a round arched central gateway which, originally, would have been flanked by side chambers containing staircases, leading to the guard chamber on the upper floor.
The surviving walls of the first floor guard chamber exhibit evidence of a fireplace and show that the room was lit by straight headed, two light windows. The roof is crenellated and has corner turrets. The facade of the building is decorated above the gateway with carved stone heads and waterspouts. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.