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Historic England Research Records

Banbury Castle

Hob Uid: 337195
Location :
Oxfordshire
Cherwell
Banbury
Grid Ref : SP4570040790
Summary : Site of a castle, demolished in 1648 and now built over. Excavation in 1973-74 uncovered three phases. Firstly a castle, built circa 1125-36, of rectangular plan; remodelled to a concentric plan in the late 13th century and early 14th century. After the siege of 1644 bastions were added. Finds included Medieval pottery, silver pennies and a cannon. Some Iron Age and Roman pottery was found along with worked flints.
More information : (SP 45704079) Site of (NAT) Castle (NR) (SP 45614086) Moat (NR) (Site of) (NAT) (1)

Excavations of three sites within the castle area were carried out in 1972. At Castle Street car park pits, yielding C11th or C12th pre-castle pottery and a large C12th building were found covered by a layer of gravel, dumped c.1300, succeeded by phases of stone and timber buildings, and four, probably C17th, burials. The mound, generally regarded as the bailey of the original castle, was found to be of later date. At 27 Cornhill two gullies were dated by pottery found inside, to the second half of the C11th. One also contained six sherds of Stamford-type ware. Above was a rectangular stone-lined pit, 2.8 x 4.1 x 1.5m, with preserved wood and pottery from glazed vessels, sealed by clay. An unidentifiable silver penny was found and two silver half pennies which must have been deposited before 1280. In Factory Street the probable medieval ramparts of the castle were revealed below the remains of the Civil War earthworks. (2,3)

Excavations in 1973-4 of part of Banbury Castle north of the market place, prior to redevelopment of the site as a shopping centre revealed three main periods of the castle's development. Beneath the earliest castle layers a buried soil seems to have survived across almost the entire site. It provided an Iron Age pottery sherd, bone, Roman pottery and worked flints, all in too small a quantity to suggest any intensive pre-castle occupation. Period 1: The first castle, begun in 1125 or 1136 by Alexander de Blois, Bishop of Lincoln (1123-48), was of rectangular plan, defended by a wide curtain wall and a slight ditch. The interior, mostly metalled, was flat and the principal buildings seem to have stood in the centre of the enclosure. In the south-west corner, however, a well-preserved stone building was excavated. Period 2: The castle was completely remodelled in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, to a concentric plan, as shown on the 1685 estate map. There were two large defensive ditches between which lay a bank and the new curtain wall with cylindrical corner and interval towers.
Period 3: Extensive alteration took place after a siege in 1644; the south curtain wall was rebuilt closer to the outer ditch, the gate was refronted and bastions constructed. The castle retained this form until demolished in 1648. The most important single find was a civil war period cannon, 3m long. (4)

Listed as a Vanished castle by Cathcart King. (5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1885
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Oxford City and County Museum : archaeological and historical newsletter
Source details :
Page(s) : 2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Sep-72
Source Number : 3
Source : Oxoniensia
Source details : (P J Fasham)
Page(s) : 312-38
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 38 - 1973
Source Number : 4
Source : Oxoniensia
Source details : (K A Rodwell)
Page(s) : 90-147
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 41 - 1976
Source Number : 4a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Historic Towns Atlas Vol I 1969 plans (M D Lobel)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
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) : 387
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric
Display Date : Prehistoric
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -500000
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : built 1125 to 1136
Monument End Date : 1136
Monument Start Date : 1125
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : remodelled late 13th to early 14th
Monument End Date : 1332
Monument Start Date : 1267
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : bastion added 1644
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1644
Monument Type : Bastion
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Demolished 1648
Monument End Date : 1648
Monument Start Date : 1648
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Prehistoric
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT
Object Material :
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Oxfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1816
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Oxfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1816/10,715
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 44 SE 11
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, GARDENS CAR PARK, CASTLE STREET EAST
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE STREET SEWER TRENCH
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FACTORY STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, 27 CORNHILL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BANBURY CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1974-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BANBURY CASTLE, MARKS AND SPENCER SITE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1982-01-01
End Date : 1982-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BANBURY TOWN CENTRE REDEVELOPMENT
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE GARDENS CARPARK (ZONE 1)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BANBURY TOWN CENTRE (PHASE 4)
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31