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Historic England Research Records

Farnham Castle

Hob Uid: 247314
Location :
Surrey
Waverley
Farnham
Grid Ref : SU8372147329
Summary : The site of Farnham Castle. Excavations in 1958-9 revealed much of the castle's development, although the phasing of the castle has since been disputed. It was originally believed to have been constructed in 1138 by Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester; however, this assumption was based on documentary evidence which has since been reviewed. Studies of the Pipe Rolls of the Bishop of Winchester from 1208/9, and a review of the archaeological evidence along with an appraisal of the castle's construction techniques, indicate that a building was already present by the 1130s, and that Henry de Blois fortified an existing structure rather than constructing an entirely new castle. The phasing is suggested as follows: Phase 1, pre-1100 manor house and farm. Phase 2, early 12th century country house built by Bishop Giffard. Phase 3, circa 1130-40 fortification of the country house and construction of the ringwork. Phase 4, 1155 demolition of the tower keep. Phase 5, post-1160 construction of the shell keep.A stone tower, perhaps as much as 35 metres high with a central well shaft was built. The base was then buried to form a mound around the tower. To the south were the kitchens, a chapel, and great hall, enclosed within a ditch. After 1160 the castle was rebuilt in the form of a shell keep 50 metres in diameter with rooms in four towers. The bailey was enlarged, the 40 metre wide ditch was dug, and the curtain wall and gatehouse were built. A north aisle was added to the chapel in the 13th century, but later demolished. In 1470-5, a three-storey brick tower, now known as Fox's Tower, was built to the south-west of the hall. The hall itself was remodelled and refronted in the late 17th century, and a new chapel was added to the eastern range in circa 1670. Stables were built south-west of the keep in the early 18th century. The keep was abandoned after the Civil War and used as a garden during the early 19th century. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.
More information : [SU 83724732] Farnham Castle [G.T.]. (1)

Farnham Castle: as described by the M.O.W. Guide, q.v. Illustrations Card.
Part occupied at present by the Overseas Service College. In excellent condition.
Published 1/1250 survey revised. (2)

Details of the architecture of the Castle Hall. (3)

Main posts of the Great Hall survive with an interesting later roof. One post examined, showed a decorative capital integral with its post, empty sockets give a clue that the arcade plates fitted in manner of lintels, therefore no scarfing was needed. The stylistic grounds and great size indicate a Norman date. (4)

Additional reference to motte construction. (5)

A plan of Farnham Castle. at a scale of 25" to one mile drawn by Mr Edward Andrews Downham of Laindon, essex, between 1889 and 1905 is in Kingston Museum, Ref S(913) No.3666. (6)

A brief history of the castle before 1200 AD. (7)

A detailed report on two groups of late- and post-medieval pottery from the excavations of 1958-60. (8)

The keep, bailey, curtain wall and outer ditch of the castle date from the 12th century. Excavations within the keep in 1958-9 revealed much of the castle's development. It was constructed in 1138 on the orders of Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester. A stone tower, perhaps as much as 35 metres high and with a central well shaft, was built first. Its base was then buried with chalk to form a 10 metre high mound around the tower. To the south of this original keep was a triangular arrangement of buildings including kitchens, a chapel and great hall, all enclosed within a ditch. After 1155, when Henry II had the original keep pulled down, the castle was rebuilt in the form of a shell keep some 50 metres in diameter with rooms in the 4 towers. The bailey was enlarged to its present limits, the 40 metre wide ditch was dug and the curtain wall with its square nural towers and gatehouse were built. During the 13th-15th centuries, domestic buildings continued to be built within the new keep and some 15th century brickwork can be seen over the entrance. The keep was abandoned after the Civil War and was used as a garden during the early 19th century. (9-11)

Listed by Cathcart King. (12)

Additional reference. (13)

A north aisle was added to the chapel in the 13th century, but later demolished. Between 1470 and 1475, a 3 storey, brick tower, now known as Fox's Tower, was built to the south west of the hall. The hall itself was remodelled and refronted in the late 17th century, and a new chapel was added to the eastern range circa 1670. Stables were built south west of the keep in the early 18th century. (14-15)

Farnham Castle has traditionally been dated to the period of the Anarchy on the basis of the documentary evidence and limited excavation within the area of the castle keep in 1960. This view is challenged on the grounds of historiographical problems within the documentary evidence, the archaeological examination of other de Blois castles which suggest construction before his episcopate, and chronological incompatibility with the soil mechanics of the motte.
A new phasing is suggested:
Phase 1 pre-1100 Manor house and farm.
Phase 2 early 12th century Country house built by Bishop Giffard.
Phase 3 circa 1130-40 Fortification of country house and construction of ringwork.
Phase 4 1155 Demolition of tower keep.
Phase 5 post- 1160 Construction of shell-keep. (16)

A watching brief of a pipe installation found evidence of the tower having been raised an extra 0.5m at some point. (17)

The discovery of great bricks in the fabric of Farnham Castle, and dateable to before 1208, represent its first known use as a building material outside East Anglia in a context other than a tile kiln. (18)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 13-OCT-66
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 11
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Surrey
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : PART 40
Source Number : 12
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) : 465
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 13
Source : Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 54
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Source Number : 14
Source : Surrey
Source details :
Page(s) : 232-235
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Source Number : 15
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Surrey: volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 599-602
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details : 'The New Castles of Henry de Blois as Bishop of Winchester: The Case against Farnham, Surrey', article by Nicholas Riall
Page(s) : 115-129
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 47, 2003
Source Number : 17
Source : Farnham Castle, Farnham, Surrey. County Monument No. 12848. Archaeological Report on a Pipeline Trench Along the West Side of Wayneflete's Tower and Holes Drilled through the Southern Wall of the Kitchen/Dining Room
Source details :
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Source Number : 18
Source : Medieval Ceramics
Source details : 'Some late 12th- or early 13th-century great brick at Farnham Castle, Surrey', article by Nicholas Riall
Page(s) : 22-26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 2003
Source Number :
Source : SU 84 NW 10 (Farnham Castle) (1966)
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : Norman domestic architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 51-2
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Source Number : 4
Source : English historic carpentry
Source details :
Page(s) : 38-9, 56
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Source Number : 5
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details : N Reynolds
Page(s) : 203
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 19, 1975
Source Number : 6
Source : Bulletin of the Surrey Archaeological Society
Source details : Surrey Archaeological Society Bulletin, 169, 1980, 5-6 (Field, Nicholayson)
Page(s) : 05-Jun
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 169
Source Number : 7
Source : Farnham and District Museum Society newsletter
Source details : C Windeatt
Page(s) : 139-40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, March 1985
Source Number : 8
Source : Two late- and post-medieval pottery groups from Farnham Castle, Surrey
Source details :
Page(s) : 39-55
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Vol(s) : 68
Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 09-Jul-91
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : The building stones of Farnham Castle. Research project : early timber halls in England, interim report no.7
Source details :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Manor house and farm
Monument End Date : 1100
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Manor House, Farm
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Bishop Giffard's country house
Monument End Date : 1132
Monument Start Date : 1101
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Early C19
Monument End Date : 1832
Monument Start Date : 1801
Monument Type : Garden
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Fortification in 1138-40
Monument End Date : 1140
Monument Start Date : 1138
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Keep, Kitchen, Chapel, Great Hall, Bishops Palace
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Demolition of shell keep
Monument End Date : 1155
Monument Start Date : 1155
Monument Type : Shell Keep
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Construction of shell keep
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1160
Monument Type : Shell Keep, Gatehouse, Bishops Palace, Curtain Wall, Interval Tower, Angle Tower
Evidence : Extant Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C13
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1201
Monument Type : Chapel, Bishops Palace
Evidence : Extant Building, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1470-75
Monument End Date : 1475
Monument Start Date : 1470
Monument Type : Tower, Bishops Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built c1670
Monument End Date : 1680
Monument Start Date : 1660
Monument Type : Chapel, Bishops Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Late C17 remodelling
Monument End Date : 1700
Monument Start Date : 1667
Monument Type : Great Hall, Bishops Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built early C18
Monument End Date : 1732
Monument Start Date : 1701
Monument Type : Stable
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 34264
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SU 104
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Surrey)
External Cross Reference Number : 1682
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 12848
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 290830
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 290831
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 128
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 187
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : BB70/04372
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC000681
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC000682
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 23867/05
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 23867/10
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 84 NW 10
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1339712
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FARNHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1958-01-01
End Date : 1960-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 84 NW 10
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-10-13
End Date : 1966-10-13
Associated Activities : Primary, FARNHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARNHAM PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARNHAM CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARNHAM CASTLE PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARNHAM CASTLE KEEP
Activity type : PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31