Alton Castle was founded by Bertram de Verdon and built on a rocky precipice overlooking the River Churnet in the 12th century. It was substantially reconstructed during the 15th century and subsequently was damaged during the Civil War. In 1847 it was significantly reconstructed by Pugin as a Gothic country house for the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury.
The site was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy in 1855 and the presbytery became their convent. The castle remained a private residence until 1919 when the Sisters of Mercy bought it for £3,500 to extend their boarding school. The school closed in 1989 and the castle was left empty until in 1996.
In 1996 it was established by the Archdiocese of Birmingham as a Catholic Youth Retreat Centre. As many as 7,000 children age 9-13 spend time there each year.
This is a Grade II* listed building.