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Historic England Research Records

Donnington Castle

Hob Uid: 233041
Location :
West Berkshire
Shaw cum Donnington
Grid Ref : SU4610069140
Summary : The site of the remains of Donnington Castle. The manor of Donnington was held by the Abberbury family from 1287, and in 1387 Sir Richard Abberbury was granted a licence to crenellate the castle by Richard II. The castle originally comprised a curtain wall with four round corner towers, two square wall towers, and a substantial gatehouse, constructed around a courtyard. The courtyard buildings were probably of timber construction and possibly included a hall, kitchen, and guest lodgings. In the early 15th century the castle was held by Thomas Chaucer (son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer), and it later passed to the crown. Henry VIII is reported to have stayed there in 1539, and Elizabeth I in 1568. The castle was defended in the Civil War by Parliamentarian John Packer in 1643, but it was taken by Sir John Boys who built defences on the slopes of the hill in a star shape. The projections were for gun emplacements; scarps and platforms relating to these defences survive today. The castle was subsequently attacked many times until 1646, and had to be relieved by the King (Charles I) on two occasions. Boys surrendered to the Parliamentarian troops after obtaining the King's permission. The castle was then destroyed leaving only the gatehouse remaining, which was then restored to John Packer. The gatehouse is two storeys high and roofed at battlement level. The external walls of the castle have been rebuilt to a height of 0.5 metres to indicate the original layout. The castle is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : [SU 46106917] Donnington Castle [GT] (remains of) (1)

History and short description. (2)

Donnington Castle is in the care of the Ministry of Works. The gatehouse remains complete and the external walls have been rebuilt to a height of 0.5m. The temporary Civil War works remain for the most part as scarps averaging 1.7m high.
Resurveyed at 1/2500. (3)

Donnington Castle. Castle, 1386. Listed Building Grade I. (4)

Donnington. SU 461 692. Rectangular ward with small round angle-towers; rear projects in a 4-faced bay; large rectangular gatehouse with round towers on front. Licensed 1386. Vigorous defence in Civil War, when encircled in extensive earthworks. (5)

Additional reference. (6)

The Medieval castle earthworks at Donnington were mapped from good quality air photographs as part of the Berkshire Mapping Project. It is positioned on the south-eastern end of a pronounced ridge with an enclosing earthwork defined by a single bank for the majority of its length. At the south-east end where the land drops away, it is defined by a double bank and single ditch.
This description is based on data from the RCHME MORPH2 database.
(7-8)

Scheduled. (9)

A brief history and description. (10)

The site lies within a Registered Park and Garden. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" (Prov) 1961
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Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (H Godwin)
Page(s) : 459-79
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 44, 1873
Source Number : 11
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : West Berkshire, 30-NOV-1986
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JP 15-OCT-63
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Newbury, 16-AUG-1983
Page(s) : 38
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14
Source Number : 5
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 10-Nov
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 6
Source : Berkshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 128
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Carolyn Dyer/18-NOV-1996/RCHME: Berkshire NMP
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Source Number : 8
Source : SU 46 NE 45 (Donnington Castle) (1963)
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : West Berkshire, 06-OCT-1993
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 10
Source : Heritage Unlocked: London and the South East
Source details :
Page(s) : 94-95
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Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval manor of Donnington
Monument End Date : 1386
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Manor
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Licensed 1386
Monument End Date : 1386
Monument Start Date : 1386
Monument Type : Castle, Angle Tower, Interval Tower, Gatehouse, Fortified Manor House
Evidence : Extant Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Civil War
Monument End Date : 1646
Monument Start Date : 1642
Monument Type : Fieldwork, Gun Emplacement, Siegework
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : BK 4
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 19013
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : BE.1.3
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 394112
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 183
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 46 NE 45
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, DONNINGTON CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1932-01-01
End Date : 1932-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 46 NE 45
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1963-10-15
End Date : 1963-10-15
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BERKSHIRE NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1995-11-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NEWBURY BYPASS, EARTHWORK E OF HILLS PIGHTLE
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31