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Historic England Research Records

Hadleigh Castle

Hob Uid: 418983
Location :
Essex
Castle Point
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ8102686089
Summary : The buried, earthwork and ruined remains of Hadleigh Castle are located in the parish of Hadleigh, Essex. They include a polygonal bailey surrounded by a curtain wall. The castle is thought to have been built by Hubert de Burgh sometime between 1215 and 1239, after which it was seized by the crown. Its original form was probably an octagon elongated east-west with square angle towers and a barbican at the east end. The semicircular north and south towers are of a second phase but may have been built by Hubert. It is thought that there were gardens on the south side of the castle and that they may have been developed during this early phase. According to archaeological excavations, part of the complex included a hall dating to the mid 13th century which had been rebuilt twice by 1300. Evidence was also found of a garderobe attached to the second phase hall and a buttery to the third.Little other building work was carried out at Hadleigh Castle for much of the rest of the 13th century but royal interest appears to have revived under Edward II. He assigned it to the royal chamber by 1316 and spent considerable sums on it. Under Edward III it again appears to have been neglected but during the 1360s he undertook a major programme of construction completely altering the layout of the castle and redesigning the approaches. Following these alterations, royal interest in the castle diminished and it passed to several nobles, as well as wives of Henry VIII, before being sold by Edward VI in 1552. It was bought by Lord Riche who began dismantling the castle for its building stone and it was in a ruinous state by the 17th century. It is thought that in the 18th and 19th centuries the castle may have been used as an observation tower by revenue officers due to the historical graffiti that surrounds the seaward-facing windows on the upper floor. Hadleigh Castle has been under the guardianship of English Heritage since 1948.
More information : (TQ81008605) Hadleigh Castle (NR) (1)

The castle which is in the form of an irregular polygon stands on a spur overlooking the Thames. Hugh de Burgh was given licence to crenellate in 1231, it was siezed by Henry III in 1232 and completely reconstructed by Richard III about 1365. (7). A landslip has left the remains of the south wall out of position and the remainder of the castle is very ruinous. The parch marks which appear on the air photographs (5) were excavated by P.L. Drewett for the D.O.E. in 1971-3 and identified as the foundations a small hall, solar, and kitchens (3) (4). Roman brick is built into the castle (6). Investigated 1953 (8). (2-8)

Description and photograph of Hadleigh Castle. (9)

Medieval pot quern described and illustrated. (10)

Notes on excavations at Hadleigh Castle. (11)

The majority of the standing masonry on the site dates from the first phase of the castle's construction and includes a polygonal bailey surrounded by a curtain wall. To the east, west and north a low wall survives marking the perimeter of the bailey although, due to a landslip, the southern perimeter has been reduced to large blocks of displaced rubble situated approximately 4m downslope from their original position.

Limited excavation in 1971 revealed evidence of the buried foundations of building ranges within the western part of the bailey. These include the original hall (dated by pottery to the mid 13th century) and, superimposed over this, a later 13th century hall measuring 17m by 9m with buttresses surviving to the west. This second hall included an `L'-shaped solar at the southern end which would have been situated on the first floor giving access to a garderobe tower. Much of the western footings of the solar were removed by subsequent rebuilding of the curtain wall.

Archaeological excavation has shown that the footings of the eastern wall of the second phase of the hall were reused for a third hall, constructed to the east of the first and second halls and dating from the end of the 13th
century. This hall also included a solar block to the south and the footings of a room uncovered at the northern end of the hall are interpreted as the remains of a buttery serving it. (12)


This is an additional source. (13)

Topographic survey of the castle earthworks combined with an analysis of the landscape context and new historical research was undertaken in January 2009. This, combined with new historical research has led to a reappraisal of the castle's development. The castle could have been constructed at any time between 1215 when Hubert de Burgh acquired the estate and 1239 when it was seized by the crown. Its original form was probably an octagon elongated east-west with square angle towers and a barbican at the east end. The semicircular north and south towers are of a second phase but may have been Hubert's work as they parallel another of his castles. The castle was clearly designed to be approached along the ridge to the east, presumably from the wharf/mill below the castle (see associated record). Hadleigh Castle was neglected for much of the rest of the 13th century but royal interest appears to have revived under Edward II who assigned it to the royal chamber by 1316 and spent considerable sums on it. Under Edward III it again appears to have been neglected but during the 1360s he undertook an major programme of construction completely altering the layout of the castle and redesigning the approaches. The topographic survey identified various terraces thought to be the remains of gardens on the south side of the castle, below the new royal appartments. It is possible though that these gardens can be identified with the vineyard recorded in 1274/5 and since this was a period of neglect it seems possible that the gardens could date from the earliest period of the castle's existence. (14)

Following Edward III¿s refortification of Hadleigh Castle, royal interest in the castle diminished and it passed to several nobles, as well as wives of Henry VIII, before being sold by Edward VI in 1552. It was bought by Lord Riche who began dismantling the castle for its building stone and it was in a ruinous state by the 17th century. It is thought that in the 18th and 19th centuries the castle may have been used as an observation tower by revenue officers due to the historical graffiti that surrounds the seaward-facing windows on the upper floor. (15)

"An initial programme of survey was undertaken by the field archaeology unuit, on behalf of English Heritage, of the most recent areas of landslip on the south side of Hadleigh Castle, Essex. [...] The survey comprised a measured plan with a total station theodolite (TST), followed by light cleaning, photogaphing and recording of the exposed faces. [...] A geophysical survey by both resistivity and magnetometer meters was also undertaken within the castle bailey to help identify and assess the archaeology under threat by the encroaching landslides" (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1932/8 Prov Ed
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex. Volume IV [south-east]
Source details : Plan and photos
Page(s) : 63-66
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Essex Archaeological Society transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 48, 1974
Source Number : 12
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 20-Mar-97
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 13
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 115
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : Hadleigh Castle, Essex: earthwork analysis, survey report
Source details : Research Department Report Series 32-2009 copy held at NMRC
Page(s) : 73
Figs. : 26
Plates :
Vol(s) : 32-2009
Source Number : 15
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in the East of England
Source details :
Page(s) : 18-19
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Preliminary survey and recording at Hadleigh Castle, Essex
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 179-181
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 16, 1972
Source Number : 4
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 161-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 17, 1973
Source Number : 5
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : St Joseph CR 1081-2
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 6
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Corr 6" (Major J G S Brinson 1950)
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Source Number : 7
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 659-666
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 AC 24-APR-53
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Medieval Britain from the air
Source details :
Page(s) : 184-5
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Essex Archaeological Society transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 175-176
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15, 1983

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1215 to 1239
Monument End Date : 1239
Monument Start Date : 1215
Monument Type : Castle, Earthwork, Garden, Bailey, Curtain Wall, Angle Tower, Barbican
Evidence : Ruined Building, Sub Surface Deposit, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Second Hall built
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1233
Monument Type : Great Hall, Privy House
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : First hall built
Monument End Date : 1266
Monument Start Date : 1233
Monument Type : Great Hall
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Third hall built
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1266
Monument Type : Great Hall, Buttery
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered from 1316
Monument End Date : 1360
Monument Start Date : 1316
Monument Type : Royal Palace, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered 1360s
Monument End Date : 1369
Monument Start Date : 1360
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 18th-19th centuries
Monument End Date : 1900
Monument Start Date : 1701
Monument Type : Observation Post
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Partly dismantled from 1552
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1552
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : EX 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26306
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 116824
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 25
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 88 NW 9
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1505847
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1505851
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1505834
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1505841
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1533073
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, HADLEIGH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1863-01-01
End Date : 1863-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 88 NW 9
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1953-04-24
End Date : 1953-04-24
Associated Activities : Primary, HADLEIGH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT HADLEIGH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1989-01-01
End Date : 1989-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, PRELIMINARY SURVEY AND RECORDING AT HADLEIGH CASTLE, ESSEX
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-03-11
End Date : 2002-03-22
Associated Activities : Primary, HADLEIGH CASTLE (BAILEY)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HADLEIGH CASTLE, ESSEX: EARTHWORK ANALYSIS
Activity type : ANALYTICAL EARTHWORK SURVEY
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-01-01