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Rowton Castle

Hob Uid: 66509
Location :
Shropshire
Alberbury with Cardeston
Grid Ref : SJ3788012730
Summary : A country house built circa 1700, for Richard Lyster, altered and extended in 1809-12 by George Wyatt (1782-1856) for Col. Richard Lyster and further altered and extended in 1824-28 for Henry Lyster and his wife Lady Charlotte Ashley Cooper. It may have built on the site of a medieval castle which was later destroyed however there is a lack of consensus among sources to confirm this. The current house was constructed from coursed Alberbury breccia rubble with grey sandstone ashlar dressings and a hipped slate roof. The five-bay 17th century house had its north-west front remodelled and north-east wing added in 1809-12. In 1824-28, the south-east (entrance) front was remodelled and porch added, the north-east wing was extended to the south-east, a large circular tower was added to south-west and service buildings were also added. The house is of two and three storeys with a basement and attic. The stable courtyard is of coursed Alberbury breccia with red sandstone ashlar dressings and grey sandstone ashlar chamfered coping. It comprises two sides of a square with a gatehouse to the south west. The castle is an interesting example of how an early 19th century architect like George Wyatt conceived classical interiors for a Gothic building. The designs were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1809 "as about to be carried out" and in 1812 as "lately executed".
More information : (SJ 37881273) Rowton Castle (NR). (1)

The Medieval castle at Rowton was raised to the ground by Llewellyn in 1482. No trace remains. The present house was built on, or close to, the site soon after 1696, but the original exterior has been largely masked by early 19th century additions and alterations (2).

In 1086, the manor of Rowton was held by Elmund's son, Alward. See source for all who held the manor throughout its history.

The will of Richard Lyster dated 1696 stipulated that his executors should spend £1000 "..in building a house at Rowton 'upon the bank where the old castle stands, or near thereunto.'" (The source of the reference to the castle is given as record No. 49/476 at the Shropshire County Record Office). The entry continues by stating that, '[t]he provisions of the will appear to have been carried out in the next few years, but no trace can now be found of any structure which might have formed part of the medieval castle.' (3)

Described by the DOE as a 19th century mansion built around a 15th century tower. (4)

Essentially 19th century castellated in appearance although the original 17th century house can be recognised. Nothing of the Medieval work can be seen. (5)

Additional references (6,7)

Briefly mentioned by Cathcart King. (8)

In 1086, the manor of Rowton was held by Alward, son of Almund. A castle thought to be near the current site was recorded in 1282 and later destroyed by the Welsh. There is no evidence of this building on the site today, however. In the 1460s the Lyster family built another castle or house - however its exact location isn't noted. Any building remains on the site that were present at the time of the Civil War were destroyed then or shortly after. In circa 1700 Richard Lyster built a new mansion on or near the site. (9)

In this online digitised version of Camden's 'Britannia', originally published in 1607, he states the following: 'More Northward Caurse castle standeth, which was the Baronie of Sir Peter Corbet, from whom it came to the Barons of Tafford, and Routon castle neere unto it, the most ancient of all the rest, toward the West borders of the shire, not farre from Severn, which castle sometimes belonged to the Corbets, and now to the ancient familie of the Listers. Before time it was the possession of John le Strange of Knocking, in despite of whom Lhewellin prince of Wales laid even with the ground, as we read in the life of Sir Fulke Fitz-Warin.' (10)

This online digitised version of 'The Antiquities of Shropshire: Volume VII' by Rev. R.W. Eyton and originally published in 1858, dictates the history of the manor of Rowton from 1086 until 1317. (11)

There doesn't appear to be clear consensus as to whether a castle existed at Rowton during the medieval period, prior to the construction of the current building on the site. Of the sources that suggest there was a medieval castle here, there are conflicting dates as to when it was destroyed.

It is possible that sources which claim a castle existed to be later destroyed by the Welsh had misinterpreted Camden's entry in 'Britannia' (see source 10). Camden may have in fact been referring to Ruyton Castle, also in Shropshire. (12)








Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1954
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Source Number : 2
Source : Shropshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 236
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Source Number : 11
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Eyton, Rev. R.W. (1858). Antiquities of Shropshire: Volume VII [online] [accessed 05-JAN-11]
Page(s) : 176
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Source Number : 12
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Recorder's comments Kathryn Hay, 05-JAN-11
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Source Number : 3
Source : A history of Shropshire: volume VIII
Source details :
Page(s) : 201-2
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Atcham RD, FEB-1949
Page(s) : 3
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DRB 10-APR-72
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Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Shrewsbury and Atcham, 18-MAR-1986
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Vol(s) : 1101
Source Number : 7
Source : Burke's and Savills guide to country houses : volume 2. Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 111
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Source Number : 8
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) : 434
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Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 9
Source : Castles of Shropshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 137-8
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Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Camden, W. (1604). Britannia [A hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton posted 14-JUN-04] [accessed 05-JAN-11]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval (before 1482)
Monument End Date : 1481
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Conjectural Evidence, Destroyed Monument
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built circa 1700
Monument End Date : 1710
Monument Start Date : 1690
Monument Type : Country House, Gatehouse
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered and extended 1809-12
Monument End Date : 1812
Monument Start Date : 1809
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Extended 1824-28
Monument End Date : 1828
Monument Start Date : 1824
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 93650
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 258952
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SJ 31 SE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 974642
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SJ 31 SE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-04-10
End Date : 1972-04-10
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14