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Historic England Research Records

Ashby De La Zouch Castle

Hob Uid: 312919
Location :
Leicestershire
North West Leicestershire
Ashby-de-la-Zouch
Grid Ref : SK3622016640
Summary : The standing remains of Ashby de la Zouch Castle, a fortified house on the eastern outskirts of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The site is primarily a 12th century house which was redesigned and rebuilt over a period of several centuries. The buildings of the early Norman house are thought originally to have been timber structures which were replaced after 1150 by ones built of stone. The standing remains of the 12th century hall and solar are situated in the central part of the site. In circa 1350 the hall was redesigned as a single storey building and stone arcades were constructed to support the roof. At the same time a new solar was built and the existing solar was used as a pantry and buttery. To the west of the hall are the standing remains of a kitchen building erected between 1350 and 1400. Between 1464 and 1483 Lord Hastings undertook an extensive building programme at Ashby and obtained a licence to erect a fortified house there in 1474. Several new buildings were constructed on the site during this period including a large tower house, known as the Hastings Tower, a chapel and a small courtyard of domestic buildings. During these building works he also retained many of the site's existing structures. In the Civil War the site was besieged and surrendered to the Parliamentarians in 1646. Several principal buildings were slighted, rendering them untenable, however some in the northern part of the site were repaired in 1724 and renamed Ashby Place. By 1830 Ashby Place had become neglected and was in use as a House of Industry for poor relief. Five years Ashby Place had been replaced by 'Ashby Manor' which survives as a school. The ruins of Ashby de la Zouch castle were placed in state guardianship in 1911 and have been in the care of English Heritage since 1983. In 2006 excavations were carried out in the castle's gardens and historical research was undertaken to enhance understanding of its history.
More information : (SK 3611 1663) Castle (G.T) (In ruins) (1)

Ashby de la Zouch Castle. The manor of Ashby was granted by William I to one of his principal followers, Hugh de Grentmeisnil, and subsequently passed by marriage to the Zouch family. The earliest remains of buildings are certain sections of the walls of the hall, buttery, and pantry, which appear to belong to the middle of the twelfth century. In the course of the next two centuries these buildings were rebuilt, and the kitchen building and solar added to them. After the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV granted Ashby to his Lord Chamberlain, William, Lord Hastings, who between the years 1474 and 1483 added the tower, which bears his name, and the chapel. These were the last additions of importance to the castle, which was `slighted' after the Civil War. (2)

The remains of the castle are in a good state of repair, and the M.O.W. are still proceeding with restoration. Apart from some minor alterations the published 25" survey is correct. (3)

Castle Ruins (Including 2 isolated towers at south-east and south-west angles of outer wall). Grade I. Late C15 with additions. Generally stone but with some brickwork including 2 isolated towers at south-east and south-west angles of outer wall. Prominent landmark in association with the church and with Manor House School. (4)

As part of the RCHME's National Forest Project the castle was mapped using good quality air photographs. It was seen and recorded as a polygonal enclosure, 190m by 140m, defined by a stone foundation on 8 sides.

Centred at:-SK 3611 1665
Additional NGR's:
SK 3604 1670
SK 3608 1654
SK 3620 1659
(Morph No. FR.136.1.1)
See SK 31 NE 77 for associated Post Medieval garden features described by authority 4.
(5)

SK 361 166. Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle. Scheduled. (6)

SK 3612 1665. Ashby Castle and associated formal garden.

The monument includes the standing, earthwork and buried remains of Ashby Castle, a fortified dwelling house, and the earthwork remains of an associated formal garden known as The Wilderness (see SK 31 NE 77).

Scheduled (RSM) No 17121. (7)

Listed by Cathcart King. (8)

Additional reference. (9)

The standing remains of Ashby Castle, a fortified house on the eastern outskirts of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The manor of Ashby was granted by William I to Hugh de Grantmesnil and subsequently passed by marriage to the Zouch family towards the end of the 12th century. The site is primarily a 12th century house which was redesigned and rebuilt over a period of several centuries. The buildings of the early Norman house are thought originally to have been timber structures which were replaced after 1150 by ones built of stone. The standing remains of the 12th century hall and solar are situated in the central part of the site. In circa 1350 the hall was redesigned as a single storey building and stone arcades were constructed to support the roof. At the same time a new solar was built and the existing solar was used as a pantry and buttery. To the west of the hall are the standing remains of a kitchen building erected between 1350 and 1400. Between 1464 and 1483 Lord Hastings undertook an extensive building programme at Ashby and obtained a licence to erect a fortified house there in 1474. Several new buildings were constructed on the site during this period including a large tower house, known as the Hastings Tower, a chapel and a small courtyard of domestic buildings. During these building works he also retained many of the site's existing structures. In the Civil War the site was besieged and surrendered to the Parliamentarians in 1646. Several principal buildings were slighted, rendering them untenable, and Ashby was abandoned as a dwelling at this time. Illustrations of the site, however, indicate that several buildings remained habitable throughout the 18th century but these are thought to have been superseded in 1724 by the construction of Ashby Place in the northern part of the site. To the north and south of the castle are two courtyard areas with the northern courtyard retaining the buried remains of the gatehouse to the site. (10)

The buildings which survived the Civil War were repaired and called Ashby Place and used as a dower house by widowed countesses of Huntingdon. In 1789 the last Hastings earl of Huntingdon died and his estate passed to Francis Rawdon, earl of Moia.

In 1819 Ashby featured in the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, prompting an influx of visitors to the ruins. By 1830 Ashby Place had become neglected and was in use as a House of Industry for poor relief. Five years Ashby Place had been replaced by 'Ashby Manor' which survives as a school.

The ruins of Ashby de la Zouch castle were placed in state guardianship in 1911 and have been in the care of English Heritage since 1983. In 2006 excavations were carried out in the castle's gardens and historical research was undertaken to enhance understanding of its history.

See source for photographs, plans, illustrations and paintings which relate to the castle's history. (11)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1923.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry of Works. 1953. Guide to Ashby de la Zouch Castle (TL Jones)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : J Baird/03-JUL-1972/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : North West Leicestershire, 29-SEP-1977
Page(s) : 42
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Yvonne Boutwood/09-JUN-1993/RCHME: National Forest Project
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 6
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details : Leicestershire
Page(s) : 12
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Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 13-Nov-95
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 8
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 252
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 9
Source : Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 133
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Ashby de la Zouch Castle and Kirby Muxloe Castle
Source details :
Page(s) : 30-32
Figs. :
Plates :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C12; before 1150
Monument End Date : 1149
Monument Start Date : 1101
Monument Type : Timber Framed House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt in stone after 1150
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1150
Monument Type : Hall House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1474-1483
Monument End Date : 1483
Monument Start Date : 1474
Monument Type : Fortified House, Chapel, Wall, Tower House
Evidence : Ruined Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : c1350
Monument End Date : 1360
Monument Start Date : 1340
Monument Type : Hall House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1350-1400
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1350
Monument Type : Kitchen, Buttery
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Slighted after 1646
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1646
Monument Type : Fortified House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Repaired 1724
Monument End Date : 1724
Monument Start Date : 1724
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1830
Monument End Date : 1830
Monument Start Date : 1830
Monument Type : Workhouse
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LE 1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : FR.136.1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 17121
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 187707
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 53
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1073591
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1013324
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 31 NE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 927036
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1483210
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1483232
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 927036
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 31 NE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-07-03
End Date : 1972-07-03
Associated Activities : Primary, ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: NATIONAL FOREST PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-08-19
End Date : 1995-03-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MANOR HOUSE SCHOOL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH BUILDING SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31