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HER Number: 7798
Record Type: Monument
Name: Wallingford Castle

Designations

  • Scheduled Monument () 1006324: Wallingford Castle
  • Listed Building (I) 1181852: FRAGMENT OF CASTLE WALL AT SU 6096 8978
Grid Reference: SU 609 897
Parish:WALLINGFORD, SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE, OXFORDSHIRE

Monument Type(s):

  • DITCH (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Norman, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Summary

Castle is contained within NE corner of the enciente of the town banks. Excavations revealed floors, yard surfaces, postholes and other interior features. Survey of curtain wall; evidence for King John's fortification of castle; probable edge of castle ditch found.

Associated Monuments

  • None
  • Associated Finds:

  • FOX318 - POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • Description

    SU6089NE WALLINGFORD CASTLE LANE
    (East side)
    Wallingford
    10/57 Fragment of Castle wall at SU 6096 8978
    09/12/49 (Formerly listed as Remains of Queen's
    Tower and fragments of Castle Wall)
    GV I
    Fragment of Castle wall. Probably C13. Coursed squared limestone to south face; knapped flint with stone dressings to north face. Approx. 6m. long and 6m. high. History: Wallingford Castle was begun in 1067 by order of William the Conqueror; supervised by Robert D'Oyley. Motte and Bailey castle completed in 1071. Castle expanded in C13 under King John, and King Henry III, when it was held by Richard, Earl of Cornwall. In 1307 the castle and town were given by Edward II to Piers Gaveston, created Baron Wallingford. In 1335 Edward II gave the castle to his son Edward, the Black Prince, Duke of Cornwall, who spent large sums on repairs and improvements. Held during most of C15 by Chaucer and de la Pole families of Ewelme. By 1540's the castle had fallen into disrepair and stone was being used for other buildings in the town. During the Civil War it was fortified as a Royalist stronghold. Charles I inspected the new works in 1643. Siege of Wallingford in 1646 when Colonel Blagge was besieged for 16 weeks by Cromwell's troops. On 17th November 1652 Cromwell's Council of State ordered its demolition. This fragment probably formed part of the Inner Bailey. The Castle area is scheduled as an ancient monument.
    ("Wallingford Castle, a brief guide", 1984; V.C.H.: Berkshire, Vol.III, 1923, p.523-531; Buildings of England: Berkshire, 1966, p.248).
    Listing NGR: SU6096089780
    (2) Considerable earthworks remain - a double line of moats except on the river side where one was considered sufficient. On the N side the town ditch makes a third line of defence. In the SE corner of this enclosure is a large motte, 30' (10cm) high with masonry remains on the top. The only other masonry remains are two stretches of wall and a curtain wall tower apparently of the 14th c. Excavation has revealed that the ground level inside the Outer Bailey was raised by some 2m in the early C13th. Earlier buildings were partly dismantled, and then buried. Lime-washed cob walls stane 1.8m high. Floors, yard surfaces, hearths and associated post and stake-holes also survive. Included in the additional area are parts of the outer defences of the castle, the site of the main (SE) gate, and the site of St Nicholas' College, which is believed to be inside the outer bailey rampart
    (6) Built 1067-71 by Robert d'Oigli. Slighted 1652 motte and bailey, with more than one phase or ? Extended c.1275. Site now lies in private grounds, under pasture except for SW corner, which has been remodelled as ornamental gardens
    (8) Survey of upstanding stonework by OAU
    (9) Work was started in 1986 on a measured drawing of the very eroded south face of the curtain wall, part of which is now leaning dangerously. The stone is the local chalky 'clunch', which was probably originally tooled to an ashlar finish, but has no resistance to the weather
    (10) Small excavation on site of greenhouse at Castle Lane House to check if SE curtain wall ran through area. Curtain probably ran at higher level on dumped material from ditch. Side of ditch seen at SE extremity. Beneath the greenhouse footings was a deposit of loam with medieval pottery to a depth of 1.5m. It was fairly uniform and only at the deepest level was there any horizontal layering. The excavation produced useful new evidence on the extent of the later medieval defences at Wallingford, one of the strongest castles in this part of the Thames Valley
    (12) Excavations in the bailey revealed that a mid C12 bank and ditch, and later C17 wall constituted the main defensive earthworks. A C12 cob building was also found, preserved to a height of 1.8m. Various internal features, including wall plaster and door jambs impressions survived. Survey of S curtain wall by OAU in advance of attempts to rectify an outward lean.
    (15) Supposed site of Fitzcount's dungeon used for prisoners in Civil War (SU 6085 8978)
    (16) Excavations at Castle Lane House (SU 609 896) revealed probable edge of Castle Ditch, stepped in form and lined with clay
    (17) Buildings to the NW of Castle Farm overlie a small area of medieval pits, containing C12th/C13th pottery. Also recorded was a large ditach, interpreted as the bailey ditch, although its width and depth are unknown
    (18) 4 seige or counter castles constructed against Wallingford Castle during Stephen's reign. Documentary and archaeological data presented
    (19) Evaluation consisted of 2 trenches, only 1 of which had archaeological potential; the trench layers indicated probable ditches (maybe robber trench) infill or levelling associated with post medieval use of the site. Dating evidence, based on 1 sherd, suggests a date from C15th & C16th or later, which does not tie in well the C13th reconstruction of the bailey
    (21) Survey by OAU of curtain wall revealed bad condition and serious outward lean. Stone may have originally been squared and finished to an ashlar face
    (22) Building is illustrated; clipping has been transferred to Oxon History Centre.
    (23) Watching brief on farm sited on SE part of castle's bailey defences added new information to the castle site. Unmortared rubble found during brief may represent stone wall to outer bailey. Date for pottery found would easily fit within date of King John's refortification (late C12th-C14th). Other deposits (undated) may form part of outer bailey bank or rampart
    26; 29) Transferred to Oxon History centre.
    (30) Watching brief at 24 Castle Street revealed a North South continuation of the outer ditch to Wallingford Castle, presumably belonging to the final phases of moat construction in C13. Only one sherd of medieval pottery was recorded from within its fills.
    31) See for additional information.
    32) Architects' report confirmed that conservation works carried out in 2004 proved to be successful in that the standing remains appear to be stable, without the loss of major sections of stone or flint and with the lime mortar 'capping' still protecting the fabric below. The remains appear to be in good condition
    33) In 1975 the Architect's Benevolent Society excavated a trench to a depth of 1.5m in the outer bailey of the castle in order to keep its planning permission valid on the site. The stratigraphy of the tip layers containing C12th and C13th pottery was similar to that recovered in the 1972 excavation
    34) Micropalaeontology revealed the source of building materials for a defensive earthwork (English Civil War?) at Wallingford Castle
    35) A paper by Matt Edgeworth and Neil Christie in 2011 intended to move beyond the mere description of a built structure and to explore it in its urban context as a crucial and integral part of the town of Wallingford as part of a wider research project which examines Wallingford from its origins as a late Saxon burh or fortified township through to its emergence as a flourishing borough with royal connections in the medieval period.
    36) Second interim report with 4 phases of excavation, complete with summaries and interpretations. No maps or plans included, which limit the value of the report.
    37) Deposits discovered in evaluation are probably made ground for a bank or rampart but could possibly be ditch infill, robber trench infill, or levelling activity associated with post medieval use of the site. Deposits observed in Footing 2 could not be dated but would appear to form part of the outer bailey bank or rampart and therefore be of similar date to the deposits observed in Footing 1. The chronology of this material fits uneasily with what is thought of as the construction date of the counter bailey (C13). Similarly documents suggest that the castle feel into decay after 1385 and it seems unlikely that major refurbishments incluing rampart building took place after this time until the civil war in the 1640s, when Charles ordered its refortification, which could be a plausible context for deposition of new bank material. The date of deposits in Trench 2 was not well established, but the homogeneous nature and content of the material suggests it might be C18.
    WB done at 24 Castle St suggests that most of the new extension to both the N and E of the existing house was built over a massive N-S aligned ditch, with the soakaway completely in the ditch. This ditch must have formed part of the massive outer defences of Wallingford Castle, presumably belonging to the final phases of moat construction during C13. See report for discussion of other alignments of this ditch and other boundaries.
    38) Article outlines the aims, scope and preliminary outcomes of the Wallingford Burh to Borough Research Project which was set up to provide a detailed archaeological analysis of Wallingford's origins, growth and decline and to put this into a broader regional, national and European context of urban development. It centres on a site with strong physical suvivals from the ealry Middle Ages onwards and with much untapped documentary evidence. A major insight to emerge from the investigations considered in this project is the sheer complexity of settlement and castle evolution in the periods studied. As a partial microcosm of develpments over a much wider area, Wallingford provides evidence which can be used to address many significant questions about urban growth and decline in the late Saxon and medieval periods. Excavations and surveys in the town, while clarifying our picture of the past in some respects, have at the same time added to the intricacy of the patterns to be explained.


    <1> Dept of Environment/DCMS, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, South Oxon List 123: 10/57, p.25 (Index). SOX260.


    <2> English Heritage, Scheduled Ancient Monuments Record, SM 176 (Scheduling record). SOX283.


    <3> Berks Archaeological Journal, Vol 62 (1965-6) pp.17-21: Excavations at Wallingford Castle. (Serial). SOX390.


    <4> General reference, Armitage: 'Early Norman Castle of the British Isles' (1912) pp.228-30 (Bibliographic reference). SOX373.


    <5> NMR Monument - Long Listing Filed in Detailed Record File, SU 68 NW 17 (Index). SOX391.


    <6> Victoria County History of Berkshire, Vol III, pp.523-31 (Serial). SOX6.


    <7> Journal of the British Archaeological Association, (New Series) Vol 12, pp.122-4 (Index). SOX454.


    <8> CBA South Midlands Group, South Midlands Archaeology, CBA9 NL 17 (1987) p.99 (Serial). SOX5.


    <9> OAU Newsletter, Vol XIV, No 4 December 1986, p.7 (Article in serial). SOX270.


    <10> OAU Newsletter, Arch News vol xvii, no 4 December 1989 p.24 (Article in serial). SOX270.


    <11> Berks Archaeological Journal, Vol 58 (1962) pp.33-43. (Serial). SOX390.


    <12> CBA South Midlands Group, South Midlands Archaeology, CBA9 NL 3 (1973) p.18 (Serial). SOX5.


    <13> Medieval Archaeology, Vol 17 (1973) pp.159-161 (Serial). SOX318.


    <14> Medieval Archaeology, Vol 31 (1987) p.156 (Serial). SOX318.


    <15> 1893-5, Journal of Berks Archaeological & Architectural Society, Vol 3 (1893) pp.22-3 (Serial). SOX1061.


    <16> CBA South Midlands Group, South Midlands Archaeology, CBA9 NL 20 (1990) pp.85-6 (Serial). SOX5.


    <17> Oxford Archaeology, 1992, Castle Farm: Archaeological Watching Brief (Unpublished document). SOX1065.


    <18> Oxford Architectural & Historical Society, Oxoniensia, Vol LX (1995) pp.257-270. Containing Wallingford Castle, 1146-1153 by M Spurrell (Serial). SOX284.


    <19> Thames Valley Archaeological Services, 1995, Castle Farm: Archaeological Evaluation (Unpublished document). SOX1066.


    <20> Thames Valley Archaeological Services, 2012, Archaeological Investigations in Wallingford, Oxfordshire 1992-2010 (Monograph). SOX2883.


    <21> Medieval Archaeology, Vol 31 (1987) p.156 (Serial). SOX318.


    <22> Current Archaeology, Vol III (1972) p.318. See photo of cob building in DRF (Serial). SOX444.


    <23> Thames Valley Archaeological Services, 1997, Castle Farm: Archaeological Watching Brief (Unpublished document). SOX1067.


    <24> Oxford Architectural & Historical Society, Oxoniensia, Vol LX (1995)pp.257-270 (Serial). SOX284.


    <25> Oxford Architectural & Historical Society, Oxoniensia, Vol XXIII (1958) p.138 (Serial). SOX284.


    <26> Slide Cabinet, 6 of 1966 excavation (Photograph). SOX303.


    <29> Photographic Archive, 6 views of castle site taken by J M Steane in 1982. In DRF (Photograph). SOX304.


    <30> Thames Valley Archaeological Services, 2006, Land adjacent to 24 Castle Street Wallingford (Unpublished document). SOX1729.


    <31> Thames Valley Archaeological Services, 2012, Archaeological Investigations in Wallingford, Oxfordshire 1992-2010 (Monograph). SOX2883.


    <32> Montgomery Architects, 2010, Standing Remains (Inner Bailey), Wallingford Castle, Oxfordshire: Condition Survey Report (Unpublished document). SOX2544.


    <33> CBA South Midlands Group, South Midlands Archaeology, CBA9 NL 6 (1976) p.75 (Serial). SOX5.


    <34> The Micropalaeontological Society, 2010, Journal of Micropalaeontology, 29: 87-92 (Article in serial). SOX2728.


    <35> Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek, 2011, Archaologie der Brucken (Archaeology of Bridges), pp.232-238 (Monograph). SOX2729.


    <36> Additional Information in Detailed Record File, Wallingford Castle Excavations 1972 by R D Carr, 1976 (Index). SOX258.


    <37> RCHME, 1993, Thames Gravels Survey (Map). SOX290.


    <38> Oxford Architectural & Historical Society, Oxoniensia, Vol LXXV 2010, pp 35-47 (Serial). SOX284.

    Sources

    <1>Dept of Environment/DCMS. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. South Oxon List 123: 10/57, p.25. [Index / SOX260]
    <2>English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monuments Record. SM 176. [Scheduling record / SOX283]
    <3>Berks Archaeological Journal. Vol 62 (1965-6) pp.17-21: Excavations at Wallingford Castle.. [Serial / SOX390]
    <4>General reference. Armitage: 'Early Norman Castle of the British Isles' (1912) pp.228-30. [Bibliographic reference / SOX373]
    <5>NMR Monument - Long Listing Filed in Detailed Record File. SU 68 NW 17. [Index / SOX391]
    <6>Victoria County History of Berkshire. Vol III, pp.523-31. [Serial / SOX6]
    <7>Journal of the British Archaeological Association. (New Series) Vol 12, pp.122-4. [Index / SOX454]
    <8>CBA South Midlands Group. South Midlands Archaeology. CBA9 NL 17 (1987) p.99. [Serial / SOX5]
    <9>OAU Newsletter. Vol XIV, No 4 December 1986, p.7. [Article in serial / SOX270]
    <10>OAU Newsletter. Arch News vol xvii, no 4 December 1989 p.24. [Article in serial / SOX270]
    <11>Berks Archaeological Journal. Vol 58 (1962) pp.33-43.. [Serial / SOX390]
    <12>CBA South Midlands Group. South Midlands Archaeology. CBA9 NL 3 (1973) p.18. [Serial / SOX5]
    <13>Medieval Archaeology. Vol 17 (1973) pp.159-161. [Serial / SOX318]
    <14>Medieval Archaeology. Vol 31 (1987) p.156. [Serial / SOX318]
    <15>1893-5. Journal of Berks Archaeological & Architectural Society. Vol 3 (1893) pp.22-3. [Serial / SOX1061]
    <16>CBA South Midlands Group. South Midlands Archaeology. CBA9 NL 20 (1990) pp.85-6. [Serial / SOX5]
    <17>Oxford Archaeology. 1992. Castle Farm: Archaeological Watching Brief. [Unpublished document / SOX1065]
    <18>Oxford Architectural & Historical Society. Oxoniensia. Vol LX (1995) pp.257-270. Containing Wallingford Castle, 1146-1153 by M Spurrell. [Serial / SOX284]
    <19>Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 1995. Castle Farm: Archaeological Evaluation. [Unpublished document / SOX1066]
    <20>Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2012. Archaeological Investigations in Wallingford, Oxfordshire 1992-2010. Monograph No 10. [Monograph / SOX2883]
    <21>Medieval Archaeology. Vol 31 (1987) p.156. [Serial / SOX318]
    <22>Current Archaeology. Vol III (1972) p.318. See photo of cob building in DRF. [Serial / SOX444]
    <23>Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 1997. Castle Farm: Archaeological Watching Brief. [Unpublished document / SOX1067]
    <24>Oxford Architectural & Historical Society. Oxoniensia. Vol LX (1995)pp.257-270. [Serial / SOX284]
    <25>Oxford Architectural & Historical Society. Oxoniensia. Vol XXIII (1958) p.138. [Serial / SOX284]
    <26>Slide Cabinet. 6 of 1966 excavation. [Photograph / SOX303]
    <29>Photographic Archive. 6 views of castle site taken by J M Steane in 1982. In DRF. [Photograph / SOX304]
    <30>Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2006. Land adjacent to 24 Castle Street Wallingford. [Unpublished document / SOX1729]
    <31>Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2012. Archaeological Investigations in Wallingford, Oxfordshire 1992-2010. Monograph No 10. [Monograph / SOX2883]
    <32>Montgomery Architects. 2010. Standing Remains (Inner Bailey), Wallingford Castle, Oxfordshire: Condition Survey Report. [Unpublished document / SOX2544]
    <33>CBA South Midlands Group. South Midlands Archaeology. CBA9 NL 6 (1976) p.75. [Serial / SOX5]
    <34>The Micropalaeontological Society. 2010. Journal of Micropalaeontology. 29: 87-92. 29: 87-92. [Article in serial / SOX2728]
    <35>Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek. 2011. Archaologie der Brucken (Archaeology of Bridges). pp.232-238. [Monograph / SOX2729]
    <36>Additional Information in Detailed Record File. Wallingford Castle Excavations 1972 by R D Carr, 1976. [Index / SOX258]
    <37>RCHME. 1993. Thames Gravels Survey. [Map / SOX290]
    <38>Oxford Architectural & Historical Society. Oxoniensia. Vol LXXV 2010, pp 35-47. [Serial / SOX284]