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HER Number:MDV19486
Name:Blegberry Castle, Hartland


Possible site of a medieval castle.


Grid Reference:SS 231 262
Map Sheet:SS22NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHartland
Ecclesiastical ParishHARTLAND

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS22NW/4/3
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS22NW7

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Pearse Chope, R., 1902, The Early History of the Manor of Hartland, 418/54 (Article in Serial). SDV6735.

Chope, R. P., 1940, The Book of Hartland, 49 (Monograph). SDV340768.

Jope, E. M., 1961, Studies in Building History, 192-222 (Monograph). SDV1938.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978 - 1980, SS22NW7 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV7376.

Site visit 30th November 1978. Chope mentions a castle that was near Blegberry and that there are still fields called Castletown Mead and Castle Gate, while 207 acres of arable and 33.5 acres of pasture 'at the Castle near Blegbury' are recorded in the time of Henry VIII. The Tithe Map identifies nine fields incorporating the element 'castle', all but one grouped within a quarter mile of SS238262, (specific names below). This profusion of names occupies the top and gentle north and south slopes of a broad ridge, over half a mile from Blegberry farmhouse. The whole area is currently under pasture and neither the field patterns nor the surface provides any indications of an earthwork. However, both the topographic situation and the allusions by name and document strongly suggest that a prehistoric earthwork of the defended settlement type formerly existed in the vicinity.
Centred SS23872648: five fields: Castle, Castles, Great Castle, Great Castles and Wester Castle. SS23542614: Castle Gate. SS24862599: Pil Castles. Centred SS24052601: Two fields, Little Castles and Great Catles. (Castletown Mead is not described).

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 148-151,48,261,278,304, 317-8 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Possible site of medieval castle. A licence to crenellate was granted to Alan of Hartland in 1201, to enable him to defend his land against William Marsh of Lundy; the early 13th century castle was sited close to or in Blegberry; a documentary reference occurs in 1301 to 'land at the castle' but there is no physical trace of the castle today, and its medieval form is unknown. There are 16th century references to tenements with 'castle' names. It seems likely that the castle was sited here, although a number of 'castle' field names occur further west. Other details: Figs 47, 48.

Timms, S. C., 1980, Blegberry Farm (Worksheet). SDV7363.

Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 145 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 7, gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

In 1201 King John granted Alan of Hartland permission to fortify a residence against attacks by the piratical de Mariscos of Lundy. The castle itself is not mentioned in any other documents although lands 'at the castle' are recorded in 1301. The exact site of the castle, however, is unknown, although Blegberry seems the most likely location as a number of field names contain a 'castle' element. Blegberry Farm also has the remains of a 17th century fortified enclosure, built at another time when pirated troubled the Devon coast. This enclosure could possibly overlie the medieval castle. Its high position with wide views certainly seems an ideal location to counter a seabourne threat.

Hobbs, S., 2006, The Saxon Boundaries of Hartland Hundred (Article in Serial). SDV340918.

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 19 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Documentary references exist to early C13 castle sited in or close to Blegberry but site and form of castle unknown. This seems a likely site for the castle, although a number of "castle" field names occur further west.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1938Monograph: Jope, E. M.. 1961. Studies in Building History. Studies in Building History. Unknown. 192-222.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 148-151,48,261,278,304, 317-8.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 19. [Mapped feature: #9853 ]
SDV340768Monograph: Chope, R. P.. 1940. The Book of Hartland. The Book of Hartland. Unknown. 49.
SDV340918Article in Serial: Hobbs, S.. 2006. The Saxon Boundaries of Hartland Hundred. North Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. 12. A5 Paperback + Digital.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 145.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 7, gazetteer.
SDV6735Article in Serial: Pearse Chope, R.. 1902. The Early History of the Manor of Hartland. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 34. Unknown. 418/54.
SDV7363Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1980. Blegberry Farm. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV7376Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978 - 1980. SS22NW7. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.

Associated Monuments

MDV70Related to: Blegberry Farmhouse, Hartland (Building)
MDV19487Related to: Castle Field Names near Blegberry, Hartland (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 24 2020 4:27PM