HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV14592
Name:Barnstaple Castle

Summary

Barnstaple Castle comprised a Norman motte with shell keep and two baileys. The record of demolished houses in Domesday Book is usually taken as evidence for the presence of a castle by 1086 but there is no firm documentary evidence until the early 12th century. It is suggested that there may have been two phases of castle construction, with Judhael responsible for the first stone structure. The castle was said to be in ruins by 1274 and by the mid 16th century had fallen into permament decay, marking the beginning of a long period of industrial use on the site. Part of the site overlies a Saxon cemetery within which more than 50 graves have been found.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 555 333
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SS53SE14
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/43
  • Old SAM County Ref: 255
  • Old SAM Ref: 33062
  • Pastscape: 33893
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: 564M/12/189

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD (Between))

Full description

Steinmetzer, M., Archaeological monitoring and recording at Barnstaple Castle
Devon.
(Report - Watching Brief). SDV358137.

The watching brief exposed the earthen core of the Norman Castle mound. No structural features were identified and there was a complete absence of dating evidence. The core material is predominantly soil-based, suggesting that it came from the surrounding motte ditch. The small nature of the works didn’t permit the identification of major periods of construction, and it must therefore be assumed that the core deposits are roughly contemporary.


Department of Environment, 05/09/1989, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73984.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for erection of plaque.


Unknown, 06/04/1984, Digging Deep for Norman (Article in Serial). SDV351416.

Excavations to be carried out around the Castle Mound prior to development of the site of the cattle market.


Department of National Heritage, 08/03/1995, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73996.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for re-routing of an underground electricity supply to an events area.


Miles, H., 08/04/1975, Barnstaple Excavation Committee (Correspondence). SDV350793.

Letter giving an account of the excavations at Barnstaple Castle. The earliest phase as revealed by the excavations is a cemetery of late Saxon date. More than 50 graves have been excavated and include two 'charcoal burials'. The next phase relates to the construction of the Norman castle. The position of the moat running around the outside of the bailey defences has been located. There is little evidence from the site for its use in the later medieval period but in the 16th century there is evidence for the beginning of a long period of industrial use of the site.


Timms, S. C., 09/02/1983, Barnstaple Castle (Personal Comment). SDV74061.

Site in ownership of North Devon District Council. Excavations in 1972-75 were confined to inner bailey on land adjacent to castle house which was demolished in 1976.


Cullen, B + Thompson, S, 09/2013, Joy Street, Green Lanes, Barnstaple, Evaluation, 4 (Report - Evaluation). SDV357185.


Timms, S. C., 11/06/1979, Barnstaple Castle (Report - Assessment). SDV354417.

Barnstaple Castle forms a major feature of the historic town plan and is of exceptional importance. The layout of the motte and bailey is well-preserved and seal important Saxon deposits. The tree-covered motte is the most visible feature rising to over 20 metres. It is scheduled but the scheduled area does not cover the full area of archaeological importance. This is due to the occupied office building which was standing on the Green at the time of the scheduling. Following demolition an additional area has been proposed for scheduling.


Department of Environment, 12/11/1991, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73994.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for positioning three interpretation panels on, or adjacent to, the castle green and library square.


Department of Environment, 13/03/1986, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73981.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for reduction of mound retaining wall and landscaping.


Department of National Heritage, 13/10/1994, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73995.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for works concerning general enhancement of the castle green, to include footpaths, lighting, hard and soft landscaping, seating, information boards, pedestrian access from North Walk, south side access to form vehicle access, and floodlighting of the castle mound.


Griffith, F. M., 18/12/1985, DAP/FU, 1-6A (Aerial Photograph). SDV74027.


Department of Environment, 19/02/1986, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73980.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for rebuilding of wall.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 613-614, Plan (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

In 1906, the keep 'is wholly demolished and the mound alone remains'. The castle was the scene of many conflicts, ending in its surrender in 1646 to General Fairfax.


Armitage, E., 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles, 102 (Monograph). SDV74015.


Unknown, 1917, Proceedings at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting, 18 (Article in Serial). SDV78799.


Oliver, B. W., 1928, The Castle of Barnstaple, 215-223, Plan (Article in Serial). SDV73002.

Barnstaple Castle. Motte with shell keep, and two baileys, details on sub-sheets. The castle consisted of a shell keep of masonry (discovered in excavation in 1927) on the motte, with descending stone wall which encircled the oval inner bailey to the north-west. The motte and inner bailey were surrounded by wet moats. An outer bailey probably existed to the south of the motte but this was not walled. Excavation by Oliver took place in 1927 an earthwork and timber motte and bailey castle was probably founded here about 1068-1069. The wooden structures were probably replaced in stone by Judhel of Totnes sometime before the castle's first documentary reference in 1113 in 1136, it was described as "weak and powerless" and the keep and castle walls were probably the work of Henry de Tracey soon afterwards. In 1228 the walls were reduced in height by order and various documents of the late 13th century suggest the castle was then in a state of decay. It was ruinous in 1326. Its documentary history is outlined in this article.


Benson, J., 1934 - 1935, Barnstaple, 217-218 (Article in Serial). SDV73987.

A documentary reference of 1273 mentions a wall round the castle which is almost built. Other documents cited.


Alexander, J. J., 1941, Early Barons of Torrington and Barnstaple, 153-179 (Article in Serial). SDV74013.

In the 320 years between the Norman Conquest of Devon the Honour of Barnstaple passed through the control of several families.


Ministry of Works, 1950, Barnstaple Castle (Schedule Document). SDV73985.

Barnstaple Castle granted by Henry I to Iudhael, founder of Totnes and later held by the de Tracy's. In complete decay by Leland's time. The motte impinges on the town wall and the bailey extends away from the town; the motte is well preserved, the bailey largely levelled, but the ditch is visible on the north side. Borough offices occupy part of the bailey and the rest is a park.


Renn, D. F., 1973, Norman Castles in Britain, 102, Plan (Monograph). SDV74000.


Miles, T. J., 1973, North Walk, Barnstaple, 48, 51 (Article in Serial). SDV350794.


Unknown, 1974, Barnstaple, 307-8 (Article in Serial). SDV356770.

The castle bailey is highlighted as one of the main areas in the town under threat from redevelopment. Beneath the Norman rampart is a Saxon cemetery. The upper levels are also of interest for they contain waste dumps of the North Walk pottery dating between circa 1665 and 1685. Much of the pottery from here was exported to colonial America in the 17th century.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 1 (Article in Serial). SDV344485.

Excavation at the Castle: Waste dumps from a 17th century potter's workshop found. Beneath the rampart are a number of graves belonging to a Saxon cemetery.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 2 (Article in Serial). SDV344486.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 3 (Article in Serial). SDV344487.

Beneath the cobbled floors of the potter's workshop were the remains of two metal-working furnaces dating to about 1620-1640. Study of the old ground surface on which the bailey rampart rested has shown that the area was subject to occasional flooding at high tide. Nevertheless burials were taking place here between about AD700 and 1000, the graves being only 18 inches to 2 feet deep. A small scrap of a Cornish Saxon pot dated to the 10th or 11th century was found in one of the graves but it still appears that there were no potters in Saxon Devon. A number of flint flakes and implements have been found in the soil around the graves indicative of prehistoric occupation in the area.


Miles, T. J., 1975, Barnstaple: Excavation at the Castle Site 22/9 (Report - Excavation). SDV344493.

A further 20 graves sealed by the Norman bailey rampart were excavated in 1975 and contained bones in poor condition with traces of coffins surviving as lines of iron pan and occasional nails. A few of the burials were on a reversed alignment with the head to the east. A stone-packed post hole cut one grave and apparently avoided another


Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

The record in Domesday Book of demolished houses in Barnstaple is usually taken to signify the presence of a castle in the town by 1086. However, there is no firm documentary evidence for a castle until the early 12th century. Excavations in the castle bailey revealed traces of two periods of Saxon occupation below a defensive rampart which may have been part of an 11th century castle but the relationship between this rampart and the motte has yet to be established. It is possible that there were two phases of construction, as at Lydford and that Judhael, who had previously built Totnes Castle, was responsible for the first stone structure at Barnstaple. The castle was said to be in ruins by 1274 and by the middle of the 16th century had fallen into permament decay. Buildings had been constructed within the castle bailey by the late 13th century. There was possibly an outer bailey in the area bounded by Tuly Street and Holland Street.


Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 75-79, 252, 258, 293, 298, 300, 315, 317, 321, 329, Fig. 14 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

The castle mound and vestiges of its moat are all that now survives. Some of the excavated stone walls on the motte can be seen. The castle is located in the south-west angle of the walled area. Documents suggest abandonment of the castle in 1136, repair or major rebuilding 1136-1139, partial destruction of the walls in 1228 and a decayed state in 1274. There is no clear evidence of a castle at the time of the Domesday inquest (1086) a foundation date between 1086 and 1136 is suggested.


Department of Environment, 1983, Barnstaple Castle (Schedule Document). SDV344491.

Barnstaple Castle mound and earthworks area extended. The 9.5 metre high mound is approximately 60 metres diameter at the base and 20 metres across the flat top. The side are covered with trees and bushes with a formal path to the top. The level grass covered top has two 0.5 metre high banks on the north side. Two lengths of walling on the side of the mound may represent part of the outer walling of the keep. The area of the inner bailey is mainly a level park. A scarp to the north may represent the edge of the moat and the remains of Castle House may include Medieval masonry. A wall and human skeleton have been found to the north of the site of Castle House. Other details: Monument Number 255.


Tatton-Brown, T., 1983, Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Proof Evidence Submitted on behalf of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited (Report - non-specific). SDV355654.


Griffiths, D. M., 1984, An Archaeological Assessment of the Proposed Route of the Barnstaple Urban Relief Road Stages II and III, 1 (Report - Assessment). SDV74017.


Andrews, G., 1985, Castle Mound to get Face Lift (Article in Serial). SDV361450.

Barnstaple's ancient castle mound, where men were hanged in the Middle Ages looks like getting a 20th century style new lease of life.

Branded as very neglected and poorly presented, the 900 year old landmark is to be turned into a focal point and a major attraction. The mound or ancient motte is a scheduled monument of national importance. Among ideas to restore the mound is a nine-point plan. It includes: turning it into a focal point, removing all dead, dying or dangerous trees, stabilising eroded areas, reinstating the footpath and providing more seats, encouraging wild flowers to grow and carrying out a careful programme of tree husbandry. In its early life, the mounds summit contained a Norman fortress, with the main body of the original Barnstaple Castle standing beside it. The castle was demolished in the 15th century. Later when the assize courts were held in Barnstaple, gallows were erected on the top of the mound and at least 18 men were hanged in the reign of Henry VIII.


Western Morning News, 1985, Town's Ancient Mound is Set for Face Lift (Article in Serial). SDV361449.

Castle Mound, in Barnstaple, the town's most important historic monument is in line for a major restoration operation.

The Mound which is at least 900 years old, is a tree-covered hillock next to the town's cattle market which covers the site of an ancient castle. The hillock is choked by trees and shrubs which have grown rapidly over the past 50 years to shoud the landmark. Suggestions to remove shrubs, untidy sycamores and dying elms. Footpaths can be repaired and grass planted on imported topsoil. Despite the loss of the structure the motte itself convincingkly demonstrates the oppressive and commanding character of the castle over the town.

The exact origins are not known. It does not figure in recorded history until the early 12th century when Barnstaple was the centre of estates held on behalf of Hnery I by Juhel, a Breton who took charge of the areaafter the Norman Conquest. Juhel's son Alfred, abandoned the castle in 1136 because it was too weak to defend and within three years it was occupied by Henry Tracy whose descendents held court there for several generations. By the end of the 13th, century however the castle had fallen into disrepair and by the time of Henry VIII's reign the site was ruinous.


Miles, T. J., 1986, The Excavation of a Saxon Cemetery and Part of the Norman Castle at North walk, Barnstaple, 59-84 (Article in Serial). SDV73913.

The excavation of a Saxon cemetery and part of the Norman castle at North Walk, Barnstaple (1972-1975). Burials ceased in this area when a moat and rampart of the Norman castle were constructed across the site. The timber-fronted rampart was later refronted with stone. The castle earthworks were levelled circa 1600 and the site was subsequently put to industrial use. See article for full report of excavation and discussion including appendices on documentation relating to the castle, the foundation charter and the human bone recovered.


Thompson, M. W., 1986, Unknown, 305-321, Table 2 (Article in Serial). SDV233104.

Thompson associates the founding of priory with the castle's construction.


Timms, S., 1987, The Archaeology of North Devon Towns (Un-published). SDV354573.


Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 143 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 73 (Monograph). SDV64198.

The castle is thought to have been constructed either at the time of the conquest or in the early 12th century.


North Devon District Council, 1989, Barnstaple Pottery Week and Kiln Build (Leaflet). SDV356885.


North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1991, North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index, Site Code ND118 (Report - non-specific). SDV63429.

Monitoring of scarping of castle ditch undertaken in 1987.


North Devon Advertiser, 1993, Castle Mound Lowered (Article in Serial). SDV361496.

Castle Mound in Barnstaple has been lowered by 20 ft. to comply with the town's structure plan. Planners say that the mound had to be lowered because it was completely out of line with local regulations, limiting buildings in the town centre to a maximum of 80 ft.

They say that the castle was probably too high anyway but the growth of trees in recent years had taken it to a level which could no longer be ignored. The lowering operation was carried out by 40 workmen at the weekend.

A spokesman said that the general appearance of the mound would not be affected because they removed the 20ft from the bottom.


Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 2, 4, 6, 8, 11-14, Gazatteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

Located on a neck of land between the confluence of the rivers Taw and Yeo, the castle is first documented in the early 12th century. Its foundation, however, may have been earlier as the Domesday Survey of 1086 records houses laid waste in Barnstaple and it is known from other sites that this was often the result of castle building. The castle was abandoned by Alured, son of Juhel of Totnes at the start of the civil war during the reign of Stephen as being too weak. It was granted to the de Tracy family in 1139. By the end of the 13th century the buildings were in poor repair. The castle was in ruins by the 16th century but was briefly refortified during the civil war in the 17th century.
The motte is large, over 14 metres high. Excavation on the summit has revealed a stone perimeter wall surrounding a circular building, probably a keep. It probably had two baileys, one landward on the south-east side of the motte, the other to the north-west, away from the town (now Castle Green) which overly a Saxon cemetery. The motte and its baileys were surrounded ditches that excavation has shown to have been timber piled and filled with water from the tidal river. Such wet moats are an unusual feature in an early castle and would have provided a good defence, effectively cutting off the castle on the landward side.


Dix, B., 2000, North Devon and Exmoor: Report and Proceedings of the Royal Archaeological Institute, 2000, 407-466 (Article in Serial). SDV340401.

A Saxon motte and bailey castle surviving as a 14 metre high motte and ruined bailey on the south-east side. It was abandoned by Alfred in 1136 and then came into the possession of Henry Tracy in 1139. It was ruinous by the time it was visited by John Leland in the reign of Henry VIII but originally contained a domestic hall, chamber, kitchen and chapel.


Salvatore, J. P., 2001, 144562 (Un-published). SDV73998.


Exeter Archaeology, 2001, Archaeological Assessment and Building Recording at Commercial Road, Barnstaple, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV73888.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2002, Barnstaple Castle (Schedule Document). SDV342276.

Barnstaple Castle includes a Norman motte and bailey, part of which overlies a Saxon cemetery. The castle which has a surviving motte, stands on the east bank of the River Taw at its confluence with the River Yeo. It protected the lowest point at which the River Taw could be forded in Medieval times. The castle was sited within the western corner of an Anglo Saxon defended town or burh and was probably under construction by 1086 although it is not recorded in documents until the 12th century. Excavations between 1972-75 on the north-west side of the motte revealed the presence of 105 graves forming part of a Saxon cemetery. The extended inhumations were orientated east to west with no grave goods. The cemetery was deemed to be Christian and may date to about 900. Barnstaple Castle comprises a courtyard or bailey area originally enclosed by a bank and moat, which stood on the north-west side of the motte. The bailey would have held some of the working buildings of the castle. The earth and stone built motte stands about 14 metres high with a diameter of 60 metres and retains masonry fragments of a stone defensive wall and inner circular tower known as a donjon or shell keep with wing walls descending the slopes. In plan the keep was roughly circular and comprised two concentric walls with another wall 1 metre thick bounding the edge of the flat topped motte. A document of 1274 mentions a hall, chamber and kitchen on the motte. The rampart and ditch which defended the bailey were partly excavated in 1972-75 and found to be 10 metres wide and probably revetted with vertical timbers. It was fronted by a berm 4-5 metres wide and then a ditch or moat exceeding 5 metres wide was fed by channels from the River Yeo. A flat bottomed trench between the rampart and the ditch is considered to be a robber trench of a stone wall about 1 metre thick which was added to the front of the rampart in the Late Medieval period. The motte was also surrounded by a moat found during excavation in 1927 to be about 16 metres wide by 4.5 metres deep and probably connected to the bailey by a drawbridge. Records suggest that by 1136 the castle was abandoned but it was rebuilt after 1139 by Henry Tracy and his descendants. In 1228 the defences were reduced in height on the orders of Henry III and the castle was in disrepair by the end of the 13th century and the site was ruinous by 1540. A mansion known as Castle House was built on an area of the bailey in the 19th century and the surrounding area was landscaped. The mansion was demolished in 1976. All modern buildings and street furniture are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.


Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment, 15, Fig. 11 (Report - Assessment). SDV319631.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 33893 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV73999.

Remains of a Norman motte and bailey. Known from the early 12th century, when it is associated with Judhael, Lord of Barnstaple. In 1228 the walls were reduced to a height of 10 feet on royal orders. In a state of disrepair in 1328, it was a ruin in Leland's time. The castle mound and vestiges of its ditch are all that now survives. The mound is approximately 60 metres in diameter at its base, 20 metres across at its top and 14 metres high. The level grass covered top has two small, 0.5 metre high, banks on the north side. There are two lengths of walling. The bailey lay to the north west and was originally enclosed by a bank and moat.


Southwest Archaeology, 2013, Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database, Mapping Area 108 (Un-published). SDV351581.


Department of Environment, 23/12/1987, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73982.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for reducing height of wall, and removing a stretch.


Department of Environment, 29/01/1988, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73983.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for alterations to cattle market and enhancement of area adjacent to mound.


Department of Environment, 29/04/1985, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV73979.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for renovation and maintenance work.


Higham, R. A., Dec 1983, Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Devon Archaeological Society Statement. Appendix 4 (Report - non-specific). SDV355658.

Statement outlining the historic and archaeological significance of Barnstaple Castle. One of some 15 motte and bailey castles in the county, Barnstaple Castle is the only surviving urban castle in north Devon. Its siting has clearly affected the town plan, truncating a probable western continuation of Gammon Lane and influencing the course of the roads around the western edge of the historic town. Its motte will have dominated the town since the middle ages, only the emergence of larger scale buildings in more recent times has caused it to shrink in relative physical size. It is, however, a major element in the present landscape, providing a recreational and educational amenity. Its accessibility and visibilty, together with our understanding of its past gleaned from documentary sources make it an invaluable asset. Any development should be sensitive to this prime element of Barnstaple's historic core in terms of visual and spatial setting and scale.


Devon Archaeological Society, Dec 1983, Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Statement in Relation to Objections to Planning Application (Report - non-specific). SDV355655.

Statement in relation to objections to planning application for commercial redevelopment of the area. Although only the motte ditch would be physically affected by the scheme the significance of the castle is such that it should be protected in its entirety through a policy of conservation of the site as a whole.


Timms, S. C., Nov 1983, Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Proof Evidence (Report - non-specific). SDV355652.

Barnstaple Castle is a major element in the historic town plan. It was built between 1066 and 1107 and together with Exeter, Lydford and Totnes it forms an outstanding group of Norman castles that were erected in the four late Saxon boroughs in Devon after the Norman conquest. Barnstaple Castle is of the motte and bailey type. Its main defensive feature, the motte still stands as a dominant feature in the town. Excavations in the 1920s revealed substantial medieval stone structures on the motte and also a small section of the defensive ditch which ran round the base of the motte and from which material for the construction of the latter was taken. To the north and north-east of the motte was a bailey containing medieval domestic buildings and protected by a surrounding rampart and ditch. There are no visible surface traces of the bailey today but its extent is represented by North Walk and Castle Green. 19th century observations and excavations in the 1970s showed that the modern ground surface seals the remains of the medieval bailey defences as as part of an earlier Saxon cemetery and areas of later post medieval industrial activity. A late 17th century documentary reference indicates that there may also have been a bailey on the south and south-east side of the motte.
The castle lost its defensive functions during the medieval period and its defences had fallen into disrepair by the mid 16th century. It was briefly fortified during the Civil War in the 17th century but otherwise it remained relatively open and unoccupied by buildings until modern times. A private house stood on Castle Green in the 18th century and the last house on the site was demolished in 1976 to make way for a proposed library. Castle Green today is a grassed open space with a few trees and a small gate lodge. There is a tradition of access for townspeople to the bailey going back over some 400 years. The motte is heavily tree-covered which largely obscure any views from the summit. This tree cover dates from the late 18th or early 19th century as it is stated that it was treeless in the early 18th century.
It is suggested that the future management of the site needs immediate consideration, prior to any decision for redevelopment within the vicinity. As a class of site, motte and bailey castles are important enough to merit the conservation of all surviving examples which remain substantially undamaged. On this basis, Barnstaple Castle is worthy of total conservation.
Part of the motte ditch lies within the boundary of the current planning application but no indication as to its conservation is given and it is suggested that in order to preserve the extent of the motte ditch within that boundary a building-free zone be left extending 20 metres from the inside wall of the footpath around the motte base.
The setting of the castle also needs consideration within the current planning application, particuarly when viewed from the north-west. The view from the Civic Cetnre across Castle Green to the motte which is seen against the background of the town centre is an important one. In addition, the area around the castle has traditionally been open ground. A plan of 1584 is said to have shown no buildings on Castle Green and in 1727 the castle ditch on the present cattle market site is said to have been given over to gardens for 'time out of mind'. The Bridge Trust Plan of 1772 and Wood's map of 1843 also show areas of open space. The proposed scheme is held to conflict with Policy CO4 in that it does not safeguard Barnstaple Castle and its setting. As a scheduled ancient monument, a site of particular regional significance, in good preservation and in public ownership, Barnstaple Castle qualifies for priority consideration under Policy CO4.


Timms, S., Oct 1979, Barnstaple Castle (Ground Photograph). SDV357356.

View of castle from civic centre.


Unknown, Spring 1985, News from Devon. Archaeology in Barnstaple (Article in Serial). SDV357951.

Report summarising the results of a Public Inquiry in December 1983 regarding North Devon District Council's proposal for a supermarket and multi-storey car park next to the castle. A detailed submission was made to the Inquiry by consortium of archaeological groups. While not opposing the principle of redevelopment, they stressed the need to give proper consideration to safeguarding the castle and historic buildings and to ensure that thorough excavations were undertaken. The Inspector took onboard these points and as a result the District Council has revised its Local Plan and has embarked on a scheme to make the castle area a major feature.


Friends of Archaeology ND, Unknown, Historic Barnstaple (Leaflet). SDV356772.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV233104Article in Serial: Thompson, M. W.. 1986. Unknown. Archaeological Journal. 143. Unknown. 305-321, Table 2.
SDV319631Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.62. A4 Stapled + Digital. 15, Fig. 11.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 75-79, 252, 258, 293, 298, 300, 315, 317, 321, 329, Fig. 14.
SDV340401Article in Serial: Dix, B.. 2000. North Devon and Exmoor: Report and Proceedings of the Royal Archaeological Institute, 2000. Archaeological Journal. 157. A5 Paperback. 407-466.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 143.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 613-614, Plan.
SDV342276Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2002. Barnstaple Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. [Mapped feature: #81291 ]
SDV344485Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 1. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344486Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 2. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 2. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344487Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 3. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 3. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344491Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1983. Barnstaple Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV344493Report - Excavation: Miles, T. J.. 1975. Barnstaple: Excavation at the Castle Site 22/9. North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Report. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV350793Correspondence: Miles, H.. 08/04/1975. Barnstaple Excavation Committee. Letter to L. C. Illingworth. Letter + Digital.
SDV350794Article in Serial: Miles, T. J.. 1973. North Walk, Barnstaple. Council for British Archaeology Archaeological Review for 1972. 13. A4 Stapled + Digital. 48, 51.
SDV351416Article in Serial: Unknown. 06/04/1984. Digging Deep for Norman. Western Morning News. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV351581Un-published: Southwest Archaeology. 2013. Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database. Greater Barnstaple Area Project. Digital. Mapping Area 108.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 2, 4, 6, 8, 11-14, Gazatteer.
SDV354417Report - Assessment: Timms, S. C.. 11/06/1979. Barnstaple Castle. Devon County Council Conservation Section. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV354573Un-published: Timms, S.. 1987. The Archaeology of North Devon Towns. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV355652Report - non-specific: Timms, S. C.. Nov 1983. Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Proof Evidence. Devon County Council. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV355654Report - non-specific: Tatton-Brown, T.. 1983. Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Proof Evidence Submitted on behalf of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV355655Report - non-specific: Devon Archaeological Society. Dec 1983. Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Statement in Relation to Objections to Planning Application. Devon Archaeological Society. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV355658Report - non-specific: Higham, R. A.. Dec 1983. Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Devon Archaeological Society Statement. Appendix 4. Exeter University. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV356770Article in Serial: Unknown. 1974. Barnstaple. Current Archaeology. 4.10. Newspaper/Magazine Cutting + Digital. 307-8.
SDV356772Leaflet: Friends of Archaeology ND. Unknown. Historic Barnstaple. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV356885Leaflet: North Devon District Council. 1989. Barnstaple Pottery Week and Kiln Build. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV357185Report - Evaluation: Cullen, B + Thompson, S. 09/2013. Joy Street, Green Lanes, Barnstaple, Evaluation. Wessex Archaeology Report. 78942.03. Digital. 4.
SDV357356Ground Photograph: Timms, S.. Oct 1979. Barnstaple Castle. Devon County Council Conservation Section Photo Archive. Photograph (Paper) + Digital.
SDV357951Article in Serial: Unknown. Spring 1985. News from Devon. Archaeology in Barnstaple. CBA Group 13 Newsletter. 102. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV358137Report - Watching Brief: Steinmetzer, M.. Archaeological monitoring and recording at Barnstaple Castle Devon.. Oakford Archaeology. OA1221. Digital.
SDV361449Article in Serial: Western Morning News. 1985. Town's Ancient Mound is Set for Face Lift. Western Morning News. 07/03/1985. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV361450Article in Serial: Andrews, G.. 1985. Castle Mound to get Face Lift. North Devon Journal. 07/03/1985. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV361496Article in Serial: North Devon Advertiser. 1993. Castle Mound Lowered. North Devon Advertiser. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV63429Report - non-specific: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1991. North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. Site Code ND118.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 73.
SDV73002Article in Serial: Oliver, B. W.. 1928. The Castle of Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 60. A5 Hardback. 215-223, Plan.
SDV73888Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2001. Archaeological Assessment and Building Recording at Commercial Road, Barnstaple. Exeter Archaeology Report. 01.28. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV73913Article in Serial: Miles, T. J.. 1986. The Excavation of a Saxon Cemetery and Part of the Norman Castle at North walk, Barnstaple. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 44. Paperback Volume. 59-84.
SDV73979Correspondence: Department of Environment. 29/04/1985. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73980Correspondence: Department of Environment. 19/02/1986. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73981Correspondence: Department of Environment. 13/03/1986. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73982Correspondence: Department of Environment. 23/12/1987. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73983Correspondence: Department of Environment. 29/01/1988. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73984Correspondence: Department of Environment. 05/09/1989. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73985Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1950. Barnstaple Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV73987Article in Serial: Benson, J.. 1934 - 1935. Barnstaple. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 18. Unknown. 217-218.
SDV73994Correspondence: Department of Environment. 12/11/1991. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73995Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 13/10/1994. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73996Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 08/03/1995. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV73998Un-published: Salvatore, J. P.. 2001. 144562. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Unknown.
SDV73999National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 33893. National Monuments Record Index. Website.
SDV74000Monograph: Renn, D. F.. 1973. Norman Castles in Britain. Norman Castles in Britain. Unknown. 102, Plan.
SDV74013Article in Serial: Alexander, J. J.. 1941. Early Barons of Torrington and Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 73. A5 Hardback. 153-179.
SDV74015Monograph: Armitage, E.. 1912. The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles. The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles. Unknown. 102.
SDV74017Report - Assessment: Griffiths, D. M.. 1984. An Archaeological Assessment of the Proposed Route of the Barnstaple Urban Relief Road Stages II and III. Devon County Council Report. A4 + Digital. 1.
SDV74027Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 18/12/1985. DAP/FU. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1-6A.
SDV74061Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 09/02/1983. Barnstaple Castle.
SDV78799Article in Serial: Unknown. 1917. Proceedings at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 49. A5 Hardback. 18.

Associated Monuments

MDV14594Parent of: Barnstaple Castle Inner Bailey (Monument)
MDV14593Parent of: Barnstaple Castle Moat (Monument)
MDV19999Parent of: Barnstaple Castle Motte (Monument)
MDV14595Parent of: Barnstaple Castle Outer Bailey (Monument)
MDV49639Parent of: Castle Green Gibbet, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV14597Parent of: Saxon Cemetery at Barnstaple Castle (Monument)
MDV14596Parent of: Well in Barnstaple Castle (Monument)
MDV106447Part of: Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV853Related to: Castle House, Barnstaple (Building)
MDV70644Related to: Castle Lane, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV19247Related to: Castle Quay, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV866Related to: Cattle Market south of Barnstaple Castle (Monument)
MDV12521Related to: Fort Hill Fort, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV4488Related to: Priory of St Mary Magdalene, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV38780Related to: Tower Walk, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1378 - Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme Archaeological Assessment
  • EDV6720 - Archaeological monitoring and recording at Barnstaple Castle, Devon Devon. Photo attached: Y Photo attached? (Ref: OA1221)

Date Last Edited:Jun 28 2018 9:48AM