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Possible site of castle, Dursley
County: Gloucestershire
District: STROUD
NGR: ST 75 98
Monument Number: 3436
A castle is said to have been built at Dursley by Roger de Berkeley after his loss of Berkeley in AD 1153 although it is recorded that Henry, Duke of Anjou, spent a night at the castle of "Durslea" in 1149. The building may have been merely a fortified manor house, though the mention in a C13 document of a "Castrum" at Dursley may indicate the existence of a regular fortress. Its ruins were said to be still visible in 1779 in a garden adjoining "Castle Fields", less than a quarter of a mile from the town (possibly in the locality of Castle Farm, ST 755982), and a garden adjoining the Lower Castle Field, or alternatively a spot in the Upper Castle Field, have been suggested as possible sites, though the latter yielded no discoveries when subject to slight excavation prior to 1886.
The castle was said by Leland to have had a good moat, but to have fallen into decay and its materials used to build the manor house at Dodington.
Rarm proposes the earthworks at Drakestone (445) as a possible site of the castle (1).
Quotation from "London Chronicle" of 1778 (or possibly "Westminster Chronicle") "Tradition handed down...very fallacious accounts of the situation of this castle....Atkyns...tells us a castle formerly belonged to the Berkeley family. On the first opening of the ground an outside wall fronting north....appears to be 4m thick, but only 9 or 10m in length are yet dug...there is a buttress of amazing strength at intervals of one yard. It is built chiefly of the famous puffstone...The workmen have found many curious old coins...round the foundation walls".
These were sold - type unknown. Castle Farm is to the north of Parsonage Street. Shape of enclosure on old Dursley Tithe maps is somewhat suggestive of a bailey (7).
Gloucester Chronicle quoting an earlier source. Describes susbstantial foundations seen c1770. Castle mentioned 1149 (9).


Protection Status

Sources and further reading
862;Ordnance Survey;unknown;Vol:0;
196;Renn DF;1968;Norman Castles in Britain;Vol:0;
210;Rudder S;1779;A New History of Gloucestershire;Vol:0;
217;Smith LT (Ed);1907;The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535 to 1543;Vol:0;
1859;Rawes B;1977;GLEVENSIS;Vol:11;Page(s):39-41;
5565;Gloucestershire Chronicle;1867;GLOUCESTERSHIRE CHRONICLE;
3435;Potter KR;1955;The Deeds of Stephen/ Gesta Stephani, Regis Anglorum;Vol:0;
3636;Jackson MJ;1980;Vol:1;

Related records
HER   445     Drakestone Camp - Stinchcombe Hill is the scheduled remains of either an Iron Age hillfort or a medieval castle, Stinchcombe.

Gloucestershire County Council: Historic Environment Record Archive