Sheffield Manor Lodge is known locally as Manor Castle but there has never been a castle there. During the period of Mary Queen of Scots’ captivity in Sheffield (1570 – 1584), George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury made many improvements to Manor Lodge. The building was transformed from a comfortable house to one of the finest Tudor buildings in England.
Architecture at this time often involved conspicuous displays of wealth and status. At Manor Lodge, George used newly-fashionable bricks as a luxury building material for the gatehouse. People living at or visiting Manor Lodge could expect to enjoy some of the finest accommodation and facilities to be found anywhere in England at the time. In the Long Gallery they could enjoy exercising or admire the tapestries, ornaments and furniture. From the bay windows of the buildings next to the twin-towered gatehouse they could look over the gardens and features of the Outer Court.
On the far side of the Outer Court sits the Turret House (also known as ‘the Queen’s Tower’ or ‘Mary Stuart’s Tower’). This was where Mary Queen of Scots' room was situated and where she spent most of her time. It was restored in 1873. On the second floor there is elaborate plasterwork on the ceiling and a grand fireplace. The fireplace is ornamented with the Talbot Coat of Arms. The ceiling is decorated with motifs that symbolise the Talbot family (the Talbot hounds), Bess of Hardwick (White Briar Roses) and Mary Queen of Scots (Marigolds).