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Historic England Research Records

Holt Castle

Hob Uid: 116337
Location :
Worcestershire
Malvern Hills
Holt
Grid Ref : SO8306062560
Summary : Fortified house with a 14th century tower; the remainder of the original fortified structure was rebuilt in the 15th century, altered in the 16th century and remodelled in the early 18th century with further additions and alterations in the mid 19th century. Built of sandstone rubble and ashlar, with tiled roofs. Part of the 15th century enclosing wall survives, to the south west of the house. An early 18th century retaining wall forms part of the terracing to the east and south east.
More information : [SO 8306 6256] Holt Castle [N.R.] Tower [N.R.] (Rms. of) (1)

The castle consists of a rectangular block of buildings, partly 15th and partly 18th C., with a massive square 14th C. tower. The tower is evidently a survival from an earlier fortified building, replaced in the 15th C. by a house. (2)

The house and tower are constructed of brown sandstone. Additions and restorations have been so carried out that it is difficult to delimit the different periods of construction. It seems likely that the northern part of the house is 18th C. The tower appears to be almost entirely of one period. See G.P. AO/62/13/6. (3)

Holt Castle. Fortified house. C14 tower; rest of original fortified structure rebuilt C15, altered in C16, remodelled early C18, further additions and alterations mid-C19. Coursed sandstone rubble, sandstone ashlar, tiled roofs, partly 2-span having gable and parapets, partly hipped, all behind embattled parapet; large external sandstone chimney at front right with 3 diagonal brick shafts and oversailing cap courses; additional large brick stacks in valley behind front ridge. Square tower; main building adjoins east elevation, its rectangular plan incorporating an L-shaped fragment of C15 building in form of large hall to front of south end and a solar wing, now at the centre of the house, which projected eastwards and is expressed in the gable which interrupts the embattled parapet in the east elevation; originally it also had a west gable too. During the C16 the hall and solar were floored and fireplaces built. Probably once a south service wing which was demolished when the south wall of the hall was rebuilt in c1700, and the plan was squared up by the addition of a hipped wing, east of the hall block in the angle with the solar, containing a staircase and drawing room. The entire structure was refaced at this time and the interior was remodelled. During the mid-C19 two wings were built onto the north wall of the solar portion, matching the early C18 refacing; a further extension was added to the gable end of the easternmost wing, shorter in length and of lower height. Tower: 4 stages. Walls are 4 feet thick at base. West elevation has a pointed arched doorway with double planked doors, and each of the three stages above has a pointed arched window with 2 cusped ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil light above; there is a small rectangular stairlight on the second stage. The north elevation has a pointed arched planked door, and a pointed arched window with a single cusped ogee-headed light on the second and fourth stages, and 3 rectangular stairlights down the right side. The south elevation has 3 narrow loopholes to its lower stage and a window to the second and fourth stage similar to those on the north elevation with 2 stairlights at the far left side. The east elevation has a blocked window. Above the fourth stage is a string course, with grotesque heads at the corners, beneath an embattled parapet. Main building: 2 storeys, attic with hipped dormers and cellar; string course beneath embattled parapet and between main storeys to south and east elevations. West front elevation: to left of projecting tower fenestration is regular, having paired 18-pane sashes with central splayed mullions, 3 pairs at ground floor and 4 pairs at first floor level, and a pointed arched doorway with planked door and arched plain fanlight beneath the third pair on the first floor; at the far right is a hipped dormer with casement window. To right of tower is the large external sandstone stack, flanked at first floor level by paired 18-pane sashes. East garden elevation irregular fenestration; right of centre gable end of former solar breaks forward having ground and first floor multi-paned sashes with side lights, a long C16 4-light mullioned window in the gable with a small light above in apex. On left side at south end are 2 large multi-paned ground floor sash windows with 2 glazing bar sashes above; to right of these are 2 long multi-paned stairlights which overlap both storeys, beneath the left one is a small 6-pane sash and beneath the shorter, right window is a part-glazed door and 6-pane fanlight. Two flights of stone steps lead up to doorway, with elaborate wrought iron railings and, at the top, the initials WB and MB intertwined, presumably the intermarriage of the Bromley and Beauchamp families. Beneath the steps is a trefoil-shaped cast iron trough, with a frieze of figures and a grotesque mask set in curved back providing the fountainhead. There are 3 hipped dormers with casements behind the parapet above this left side of the east elevation. On the right side of the gabled section are 2 paired 18-pane sash windows on the first floor, and a group of 3 and a pair of similar windows on the ground floor, all with chamfered mullions; in the east wing extension is a glazing bar sash. The south elevation has regular fenestration; there are 4 ground floor 18-pane sashes with 4 first floor glazing bar sashes and 2 hipped dormers with casements.

Interior: Tower: ground floor divided into two having a C15 vaulted corridor into main building with 2 narrow chambers on south side. In thickness of north wall is a straight flight of stone stairs to the first floor now reached through door in north external elevation, but originally approached through doorway in solar part of house, now blocked. Also spiral staircase in south-west corner, now blocked and upper flight broken away. Main building: solar roof believed to retain C15 timbers. On ground floor west wall has blocked doorway to cellar in angle with tower, and beside it blocked entrance to tower stairs, as previously referred to. Attic floor of solar divided by C16 partition, both rooms having remains of C16 plastering. Early C18 dog-leg staircase with narrow turned balusters, moulded handrail and panelled dado. Hall, dining and drawing rooms all have early C18 panelling and finishings. Tower believed to have been built by John Beauchamp, the first lord Beauchamp of Kidderminster, who was executed in 1388.

Fortification wall adjoining Holt Castle at south-west corner. Fortification wall. C15. Coursed sandstone rubble. Approx 3 feet thick and 32 yards long running westwards at right angles to Castle (qv). Part of it is battlemented, merlons have ridged capping, and a wall-walk a few feet below crenellation height on its northern elevation. At its western end is a doorway leading from the forecourt to the garden; it has a two-centred doorhead and wrought iron gate. Grade II.

Retaining wall about 60 yards east and terracing about 80 yards south-east of Holt Castle. Retaining wall and terracing. Retaining wall of early C18 date. South terracing appears to preserve C16 arrangement. Retaining wall is of handmade brick, with stone copings and angled brick buttresses. Runs parallel to Castle (qv) on north-West, south-east axis for about 100 yards and then turns at right angles and runs approx 30 yards in south-east direction where it incorporates a small doorway, flanked by brick pilasters and with a wrought iron gate. Terracing runs from gateway to south-east corner of Castle and includes a flight of stone steps adjacent to Castle. Grade II. (4)

Additional reference. (5 & 6)

Listed as a possible castle by Cathcart King. (7)

3D reconstruction has been published by the Castle Studies Trust 2015 (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1954
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Worcester: volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 401
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 TPW 17-AUG-62
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Malvern Hills, Here & Worcs: Oct 1984
Page(s) : 53-55
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Source Number : 5
Source : Worcestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 198-9
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Source Number : 6
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) : 508
Figs. :
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Source Number : 7
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Reconstruction of Holt Castle, Denbighshire by 3-D modelling < http://castlestudiestrust.org/Holt-Castle-Denbighshire.html > [accessed 28-JUL-2015]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C14
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1300
Monument Type : Fortified House, Tower
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C15
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Fortified House, Wall
Evidence : Extant Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Remodelled early C18
Monument End Date : 1732
Monument Start Date : 1700
Monument Type : House, Revetment, Structure, Terraced Garden
Evidence : Extant Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered/extended mid C19
Monument End Date : 1866
Monument Start Date : 1833
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 17525
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 151756
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 151759
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 151758
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SO 86 SW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 507412
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SO 86 SW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1962-08-17
End Date : 1962-08-17