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Historic England Research Records

Hopton Castle

Hob Uid: 106648
Location :
Shropshire
Hopton Castle
Grid Ref : SO3670077940
Summary : Castle, probably late 13th or early 14th century with later additions and alterations. Castle 'motte', 'bailey', outer enclosures and ponds surviving as earthworks. Remains of stone tower 'keep'. Alleged site of chapel. The tower is 14 metres by 12 metres in size and has a small projecting stair tower at the south west corner. The mound stands on average 2 metres above the outside ground level, and has a base diameter of 32 metres. The 'bailey' measures, internally, 35 metres north to south by 30 metres transversely and contains the site of at least two buildings. The outer enclosure, probably a garden, is 70 metres in length and the south side 130 metres in length; it contains the remains of ponds, walkways and/or buildings. Scheduled. The earthwork remains were mapped from aerial photographs as part of the NMP Marches Uplands Mapping Project, and surveyed at Level 3 in 2005.
More information : (SO 36707794) Castle (NR) (remains of) (NAT) (1)

Hopton Castle, the Opetune of Domesday. A ruined keep occupies the summit of a ditched mound. To the west and abutting the motte is a small inner bailey, with a larger and later outer bailey to the south and west surrounded by a moat, now partially destroyed. (No information on the "site of chapel?" shown on plan. A mound is shown at this point on OS 25" 1884.) (2)

Hopton Castle is generally as described above. It is situated in water meadows on the S bank of a small stream. The keep is 14.0m by 12.0m in size and has a small projecting stair tower at the SW corner. The entrance is in the N side through a pointed arched doorway. The motte stands 2.0m above the outside ground level, and has a base diameter of 32.0m. The surrounding ditch, largely eroded away on the NE side (? by flooding) is 8.0m in width and up to 1.0m in depth. A second doorway in the W side of the keep probably gave access to the inner bailey. Below it a causeway projects into the motte ditch. The inner bailey measures, internally, 35.0m N-S by 30.0m transversely. It contains the site of two buildings, indicated by rectangular hollows, about 15.0m in length and 6.0 to 7.0m in width, orientated E-W. Within the southernmost hollow, foundation remains of a N side wall are exposed.

Heavy scatters of stone around the perimeter suggest the bailey to have been enclosed with a curtain wall and at the SW corner is the site of a tower or turret, indicated by an embanked hollow, 6.0m square. The enclosing ditch is 12.0m in width and is up to 2.7m in depth.

The outer bailey is L-shaped and lies to the W and S of the inner bailey. The W side is 70.0m in length, the S side is 130.0m in length. The bailey contains no visible features. A ditch on the S side is cut into a gentle N-facing slope and is 12.0m in width, and from 1.7 to 2.0m in depth. It continues around the E end of the bailey and is partly waterfilled on the N side, where it possibly served as a fishpond, the depression being rectangular, 50.0m in length, 17.0m in width, 2.0m in depth. At the W end of this depression, it links up with the motte and inner bailey ditches. A line of low scarps along the N and E sides of the site were probably constructed to minimise flooding by the stream, though it would probably have been directed by leats into the ditches. There is nothing to be seen at the site of chapel noted by VCH on their plan. Published 1:2500 survey revised. (3)

The Keep is 12th century but the doorway to the north and the principal windows are of 14th century form. Grade 2*.
A chapel at Hopton, dedicated to St. Mary is said to have passed to Wenlock Priory in the 12th century. The present parish church dates from 1871. (4-6)

SO 3666 7793. Hopton Castle tower keep castle with outer bailey 150m north west of Park Cottage. Scheduled (RSM). The monument includes a castle mound or motte, two baileys and a fishpond. The motte is surmounted by a probably early 14th century rectangular stone keep with later additions and alterations. Grade 1. (7-8)

Listed by Cathcart king. (9)

The earthwork remains of the castle mound, bailey and part of the moat were mapped from aerial photographs as part of the RCHME: Marches Uplands Mapping Project. To the west and NW were the extensive remains of numerous fields of ridge and furrow which may well be associated with the castle site. These have been recorded separately. (10)

Description of the site and its history. The castle seems to have seen no action until 1644, when the Royalists forced the Parliamentarian garrison to surrender, after which the garrison was slaughtered. The castle was then rendered incapable of defence, although the good state of the keep suggests that it may have continued in use afterwards.

Although often desribed as a motte and bailey, the mound has been cast up against the keep. There are foundations of three towers on the bailey rampart, the keep being placed centrally within the rectangular bailey. To the SW is a second, outer bailey or ward. (11)

Hopton is either a motte-and-bailey or ringwork in origin, or was built new in archaic style in the late 13th-early 14th century. Certainly the late castle is what now presents itself, complete with elaborate water gardens. The description by Authority 11 is eroneous. Surveyed at 1:500, September 2005. (12)

Note on the repair works. (13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of Shropshire: volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 395-6
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 1908
Source Number : 11
Source : Hopton Castle 1066 to 1305
Source details :
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : M Bowden, Hopton Castle, Shropshire: a survey of the earthworks, EH AS&I Report AI/20/2005
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Source Number : 13
Source : Cornerstone: the magazine of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings [SPAB]
Source details :
Page(s) : 12
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30 (1), 2009
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 19-OCT-73
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Salop Clun RD 1967 27
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Source Number : 5
Source : Shropshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 153
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 1958
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Salop Parish Register Hereford Diocese 2 1901 Hopton Castle ii
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Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage SAM Amendment 22/JUL/1995
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Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE Listed Buildings District of South Shropshire 28/MAY/1987.99.
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Source Number : 9
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 425
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Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 10
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : CUCAP EN 66 (NMR SO 3677/1) 03-OCT-1978
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : early 14th century
Monument End Date : 1332
Monument Start Date : 1300
Monument Type : Keep And Bailey Castle, Fishpond, Keep, Chapel, Curtain Wall, Angle Tower
Evidence : Earthwork, Ruined Building, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Slighted 1644
Monument End Date : 1644
Monument Start Date : 1644
Monument Type : Keep And Bailey Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : Salop 23
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 19204
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : MU.285.10
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SO 37 NE 27
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SO 37 NE 27
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-10-19
End Date : 1973-10-19
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: MARCHES UPLANDS NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT HOPTON CASTLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, EH: HOPTON CASTLE SURVEY
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HOPTON CASTLE (TIME TEAM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31