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Historic England Research Records

Tamworth Castle

Hob Uid: 309973
Location :
Staffordshire
Tamworth
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SK2062003920
Summary : Tamworth is a motte and bailey castle of 11th century date with a 12th century Shell Keep. There are traces of a moat. The mound is 37 yards in diameter and has a base 80 yards in diameter. The shell keep is roughly diagonal in plan with walls 30 to 40 feet high. Much of the castle was rebuilt between the 16th and 18th centuries. Traces of a gatehouse were in existence. There is a saxon Holy Well. Scheduled.
More information : SK 2062 0392 Castle (NR). (1)

Tamworth Castle. According to the Anglo-Saxon Charter Lady Ethelfreda in 913 constructed a castle at Tamworth. The Marmions, during the 12th century converted Tamworth Castle into a Normal stronghold of the motte and bailey type.

The mound, carrying some Norman masonry and works of later dates, is 37 yds in diameter and has a base of 80 yds diameter. The shell keep is roughly octagonal on plan, with walls 30 to 40ft high and, in parts, 9 feet thick.

Nearly the whole of it was rebuilt in the times of Henry VIII (the Great Hall), James I and George III. The dry ditch around the castle is still easily traced. There is some evidence that there were further features between the mound and the rivers.

Since Leland's time (16th century) every trace of the main buildings which stood in what is now the Castle Gardens has disappeared.

The ancient entrance to the castle precincts is approached by a narrow by-way from Market Street - very little of the original masonry of the former gatehouse now remains, but what does, is undoubtedly medieval. The curtain wall, of herring-bone masonry, probably of Norman construction leads up to the keep from Market Street.

The Holy Well: near the river on the east side of the grounds is the holy wall of St Ruffianus, which has existed since Saxon days. (SK 2074 0388). (2-5)

Tamworth Castle consists of a large motte surmounted by the remains of a 12th century shell keep which was considerably altered or added to mainly in the 16th century. See photographs.

Vestiges of a moat are visible around the eastern perimeter of the mound; but of the bailey, which almost certainly accompanies
the motte, there is no trace.

A small portion of the curtain wall is visible extending from SK 2065 0393 - SK 2067 0393. See photograph.

No certain evidence of the medieval gatehouse was seen during fieldwork; possible remains situated at SK 2070 0393. The ?Saxon Holy Well is now represented by a modern brick cistern situated at SK 2075 0388.

The castle is now in use as a Museum. (6)

The castle was in existence by the late 11th century and in decay by the 16th century. A later 12th century shell keep (containing a later house) survives on a motte. (7)

No change since report of 8.12.53. (8)

C11 motte. Late C11 herring-bone masonry in curtain-wall. Keep comprises multangular shell with C12 tower to east. Internal apartments, mainly C15-17, in good preservation, Scheduled AM. (9)

Report on excavations in 1977 of the Norman bailey defences. The tradition that Aethelflaes built the castle can be discounted as a confusion between the burh defences and the castle bailey rampart. (10)

Re-considertion of the hall at Tamworth Castle suggested it was built in the second quarter of the fifteenth century or earleir. (11)

Tree-ring dating of timbers in the hall at Tamworth Castle suggested selling dates of c.1440 and c.1650 A.D. (12)

Listed by Cathcart King. (13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1921-38
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Stafford: volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 219,355-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1908
Source Number : 11
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (R. Meeson) plans
Page(s) : 329-40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 140 - 1983
Source Number : 12
Source : Vernacular architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 53
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 18 - 1987
Source Number : 13
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) : 451
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Notes on the Hist of Tamworth Castle 1944 (H C Mitchell)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports
Source details :
Page(s) : 54-65
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9 - 1878-9
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Tamworth Tower and Town 1936 (H C Mitchell)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 AC 08-DEC-53
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : The North Staffordshire Field Club transactions
Source details : (D M Pallister)
Page(s) : 6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Jan-72
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 JR 12-JUL-76
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE(HHR) Boro of Tamworth Staffs, Nov 1972, 1.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : North Staffordshire journal of field studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 15-28
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20 - 1978-9

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Holy Well
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : built 11th century
Monument End Date : 1099
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : built 12th century
Monument End Date : 1199
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Shell Keep, Castle, Curtain Wall, Causeway, Wall
Evidence : Extant Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C13
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Gatehouse
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : early C15
Monument End Date : 1432
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Great Hall
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : alterations 16th to 18th century
Monument End Date : 1799
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ST 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Staffordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 386500
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 386502
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 386505
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 386510
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 20 SW 19
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1025070
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 20 SW 19
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1953-12-08
End Date : 1953-12-08
Associated Activities : Primary, THE CASTLE, TAMWORTH
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1974-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 20 SW 19
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-09-13
End Date : 1972-09-13
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 20 SW 19
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1976-07-12
End Date : 1976-07-12
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE BAILEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1977-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1989-01-01
End Date : 1989-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, PEEL ARMS HOTEL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE MOTTE & COACH HOUSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE COACH HOUSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE BAILEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE GROUNDS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE, SHELL KEEP
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE ('PORTER'S LODGE')
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TAMWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT TAMWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31