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HER Number (PRN):00249
Name:Caus Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1020147: Caus Castle

Monument Types

Summary

Scheduled Monument: An Iron Age hillfort, adapted in the medieval period to house first an 11th or 12th century motte and bailey castle (probably the centre of the marcher lord Roger Fitz Corbet's barony) and subsequently also the medieval new town of Caus (probably established in the 12th century). The town declined in the later 14th century, but the castle remained garrisoned until, having held out for the King in the Civil War, it was taken and demolished. Many earthwork and structural remains are visible on the site.

Parish:Westbury, Shrewsbury and Atcham, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ30NW
Grid Reference:SJ 337 078

Related records

05112Parent of: Medieval street system, Caus (Monument)
05113Parent of: Medieval urban form, Caus (Monument)
05109Parent of: Motte and Bailey Castle, Caus (Monument)
05107Parent of: St Margaret's Chapel, Caus (Monument)
05106Parent of: St Nicholas Chapel, Caus (Monument)
05110Parent of: Town defences, Caus (Monument)
05111Parent of: Unlocated components, Caus (Monument)
15226Related to: Brook House, Stoney Stretton (Building)
00250Related to: Hawcocks Mount ringwork castle 200m north east of Hawcocks Farm (Monument)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA235 - 1971 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA236 - Site Visits to Deserted Settlements in Shropshire in 1977
  • ESA237 - 1984 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA6904 - 2011-12 DBA and walkover survey of hillforts in Shropshire by Shropshire Council and Herefordshire Council
  • ESA7503 - 2015 Gradiometer survey at Caus Castle, Westbury, by Giles Carey
  • ESA7959 - 2016 Resistivity survey at Caus Castle, Westbury by Giles Carey
  • ESA8179 - 2016 Earthwork survey at Caus Castle, Westbury by Michael Fradley
  • ESA8180 - 2016 Photogrammetric (UAV) survey at Caus Castle, Westbury by Aerial Cam

Description

Main enclosure (hillfort?) of 9 acres contained borough. Bivallate NW and SE, trivallate NE and SW. Entrances on E and W with some masonry still visible on W. Third entrance on NE? Motte 15m high, summit diam 14m, bailey of one acre defended by double banks and containing major buildings still visible. OS FI 1971 adapted by IB <1>

Probably built late C11 or C12 by Roger Fitz Corbet. Castle rebuilt in stone c1200. Grant of weekly market for borough at that time. c1349 borough contained 58 burgage tenements. Named features include streets, two gates, Chapel of St Nicholas opposite inner gate (late C12?) and chapel of St Margaret f 1272, last recorded 1447. Last recorded house 1614. Surrendered to Parliament 1645. Quarried for roadstone <7e>
Castle named 1198 <7f>

Possibly a hillfort in origin. <8>

Possibly Saxon burh of WEARDBYRIG (915) <9>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1: High score as one of 46 Motte and Bailey Castles; Medium score as one of 18 Small Multivallate hillforts; one of less than 10 Shellkeeps <21>

Scheduling revised in 2001. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small multivallate hillfort within which are the earthwork, buried and upstanding structural remains of a motte and bailey castle, and a small medieval market town or borough. ->

-> The hillfort is situated on a prominent hill at the south eastern end of the Long Mountain. From this location there are extensive views over the Rea Brook valley to the south and east, and the undulating lowlands to the north. The hillfort is roughly rectangular in plan, with overall dimensions of 200m north west to south east by 565m south west to north east. The defensive circuit defines an area of about 4.7ha. Its size would suggest it was the settlement of a large community, where certain centralised economic and social activities were practiced. The earthwork defences of the hillfort closely follow the contours of the hill, which increase their defensive strength. Along the south eastern side the earthwork defences consist of two ramparts, the outer faces of which survive as steep scarps, separated by a ditch, visible as a distinct depression to the north and a broad sloping terrace to the south. The southern half of the defensive circuit along this side of the hill has been redefined and strengthened where it coincides with the defences of the inner bailey of the medieval castle. The south western end of the hillfort is defined by two ramparts separated by a deep ditch. Further south, running in' a straight line and defining the base of the hill, is an outer rampart bounded on its northern side by a ditch, now visible as a shallow depression. These earthworks define the southern side of an original entranceway into the hillfort, which also served as one of principal gateways into the medieval town. This entranceway, which was partially altered in the medieval period, is defined on its northern side by the rampart running along the top of north western side of the hill. The outer face of this rampart survives as a steep scarp and is bounded by an external ditch, now visible as a broad terrace. From about its mid point, running north eastwards, this ditch is defined by an external rampart, the outer face of which is also marked by a steep scarp. Downslope, an outer ditch and counters carp bank provide additional lines of defence, which continue around the north eastern end of the hillfort. Sections of these defences have been modified by the later quarrying for stone, by the construction of post-medieval and modern farm buildings and associated access roads, and by landscape gardening. At the northern and north eastern corners of the fort are two further original entranceways, both of which also served as gateways into the medieval town. ->

-> The motte and bailey castle was probably constructed by Roger Fitz Corbet, a marcher lord, in the late 11th or early 12th century, as the 'caput' (the principal residence, military base and administrative centre) of his barony. Caus takes its name from the Pays de Caux area of Normandy, the ancestral home of Roger Fitz Corbet. Placename evidence suggests that Caus Castle superseded a ringwork, a medieval defended enclosure, known as Hawcocks Mount, 1.2km to the east, which is the subject of a separate scheduling. ->

-> The motte and bailey castle was constructed in the south eastern sector of the prehistoric hillfort and provided an extensive view of the valley route between Shrewsbury and Montgomery. The surrounding area within the hillfort was regarded as the outer bailey of the castle, and it was here that the borough of Caus was established, probably in the 12th century. The first documentary reference to the castle at Caus is in 1140. In 1198 Robert Corbert was permitted to carry out work to the castle by the Crown. It is considered that this building programme probably represents the transition from timber buildings to those constructed in stone. ->

-> In 1200 the neighbouring borough was granted a charter for a weekly market and in 1248 permission was granted for a fair. The borough, which was established primarily to serve the castle, appears to have prospered in the 13th century and in the first half of the 14th century. Records indicate that the number of burgages (properties within the borough) increased from 28 in 1274, to 34 in 1300 and to 58 in about 1349. By 1300 it is known that the borough had been enclosed by a wall. Passage into and out of the town was controlled by gates situated alongside the original entrance causeways into the hillfort. Two gates are recorded in 1371; Wallop Gate to the south west and East Gate, which occupied one of the entrance causeways to the north east. Within the town there was a chapel dedicated to St Margaret, which was founded by Thomas Corbet and his wife Isabel in 1272. Streets known as St Margaret Street and Castle Street are recorded in 1447. In the latter half of 14th century the town went into decline. This was partly caused by the Black Death, but was also the result of changing political and economic conditions in this region. In 1444 eight burgages were burnt during the rebellion of Sir Griffith Vaughan. In 1581 the borough contained four cottages, three of which were ruinous. ->

-> The castle was apparently occupied continuously by the Corbet family until the death of Beatrice Corbet in 1347, after which date it passed to Ralph, Earl of Stafford and it ceased to be permanently inhabited. It was garrisoned during Owen Glendower's uprising in 1399 and during the rebellion of Sir Griffith Vaughan in 1444. Throughout much of the 15th century the castle was principally used as an administrative centre and as a prison. ->

-> There are numerous medieval documentary references to the castle buildings. It is recorded that the castle had inner and outer gates, one of which was called the Great Gate in 1458. Apparently located opposite the inner gate was a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas, which was probably founded by 1200. The outer gate, in which there was a prison, was separated from the castle ditch by a barbican (a structure defending the entrance to a castle). Extensive building work was carried out between 1367 and 1379. A 'new' tower was recorded in 1379 and Grymbald's Tower was repaired in 1395. A postern (a side or rear entranceway) called Wolvesgate, recorded in 1379, probably gave access to the borough. Inner and outer baileys are mentioned in 1400, when the latter is said to contain kennels and stables. ->

-> During the 15th century the castle was apparently kept in moderate repair, but in 1521 it was said to be 'in great ruin and decay' .By 1541 an extensive rebuilding programme was underway. The outer gate was then remodelled and a court-house constructed over the barbican. A new fashionable residence was also created at this time. A brick building below the castle, known as 'the walk' was erected in 1556. In 1581 the castle was said to contain a hall, a great chamber, kitchens, larders, butteries, cellars, a pantry, and other houses of office, together with an inner gatehouse and a chapel. Lord Stafford sold the castle to Sir Rowland Hayward in 1573. After a protracted dispute with Hayward's son-in-law, John Thynne, Stafford relinquished possession in 1590. Between 1630 and about 1640 extensive alterations were carried out to the castle, involving the complete rebuilding of the domestic quarters. In 1645 the castle was garrisoned for the king, but it was surrendered after a short siege and was demolished shortly afterwards. The ruins of the castle were used as a quarry for road-stone in the 18th and early 19th centuries. ->

-> The motte and the inner bailey of the castle were constructed on the highest part of the hill top. The steep-sided roughly circular motte measures approximately 56m by 60m at its base and 14m across the top, and stands about 15m high from the base of the encircling rock-cut ditch. On top of the motte are the remains of an oval or D-shaped tower keep standing up to 2.1m high. It is built of limestone, roughly coursed, and incorporating the pieces of dressed red sandstone including a door or window jamb from an earlier building. The rectangular inner bailey is situated to the north east of the motte. A broad, deep, steep-sided ditch defines an internal area of approximately 0.35ha. On the south eastern side, this ditch, which reuses the line of the inner rampart and ditch of the hillfort, is bounded by a bank constructed over the outer rampart of the hillfort. On the north western side, the ditch defining the inner bailey is bounded by two ramparts separated by a deep, steep-sided ditch. These outer defences also enclose the western half of the motte. A narrow entrance passage, about 55m long, flanked on either side by the earthwork defences, controlled "the approach to the inner bailey from the north east. A flat-topped D-shaped mound, about 7m by 14m across the top, located at the end of the entrance passage on-its north western side, probably marks the site of a tower beside the outer gate. The inner gate, defined by the remains of two stone-built towers constructed from the locally derived shale, is situated at the north eastern end of the internal area of the bailey. Along the north western and south eastern sides of the bailey are remains of stone-built structures constructed around a central courtyard. Embanked and exposed sections of walling of these structures stand up to 1m high. At the western end of the courtyard, close to the base of the motte, is a limestone ashlar-lined well. ->

-> The outer bailey of the castle, in which the medieval town was established, is defined by the defences of the hillfort. At the north eastern corner, the hillfort defences appear to have been modified in order to create a level building platform for a gate tower next to the north western side of the entrance passage. A well-defined terrace, marking the position of a former street, runs from this entrance passage to the outer gate of the inner bailey of the castle. ->

-> Leading up to the south western entrance of the town, known as the Wallop Gate, is a hollow way formed by the continuous passage of traffic in and out of the town. On the north western side, below the hillfort rampart, is a level D-shaped platform, which appears to mark the position of a gate tower. A short section of the gate wall remains visible, built into the eastern side of the entrance passage at its northern end. This wall is constructed of roughly coursed limestone, is 3.2m wide and stands 3.6m high. Running north eastwards from this entrance passage, through the town/outer castle bailey, are a series of terraces which indicate the positions of former streets and which would have defined the burgage plots. ->

-> A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are: the farmhouse, associated outbuildings, the concrete bases of former outbuildings, sheds, a stable, paths, trackway and yard surfaces, all free-standing modern walls, fence and gate posts, the concrete water tower, the oil and diesel storage containers and the concrete blocks on which they stand, a concrete and brick-built drain inspection chamber, utility poles and ornamental garden features, however, the ground beneath all these features is included <22>

Photographed during aerial photographic survey in 2007/2008. <23><24>

This site was visited during a survey of major later prehistoric enclosures in the region, in 2011-2012. The scale of the earthworks and position within the landscape strongly suggests that the medieval castle and borough was sited within a hillfort, as previously postulated. Management of monument has been stable for many years but gradual colonisation of woodland by ash and scrub is leading to a detrition of the condition of this part of the monument. <25>

A programme of fluxgate gradiometer survey was undertaken in May-June 2015, within the outer bailey of Caus Castle, focused on the medieval borough associated with the castle. The aim of the survey was to evaluate the extent to which sub-surface archaeological deposits might survive associated with the borough. See PRNs 05111 and 05113 for further detail. <26>

Further to work in 2015 (see <26>), detailed electrical resistance survey was undertaken in March 2016, within the outer bailey of Caus Castle, again focused on the medieval borough associated with the castle. This work was carried out as part of a wider programme of investigation at the castle, supported by a small grant from the Castle Studies Trust. This comprised a programme of nested non intrusive methodologies, comprising analytical earthwork survey and photogrammetric survey. See PRNs 05111 and 05113 for further detail. <27>

A programme of archaeo-topographical survey was undertaken at Caus Castle on 19-20 March 2016 alongside a UAV photogrammetric survey of the same area [<28a>] and a targeted electrical resistance survey of a section of the outer enclosure of Caus [<27>]. This work was funded by the Castle Studies Trust (CST) to advance understanding of this well-preserved, yet poorly-researched site, and followed an earlier unfunded magnetometry survey of the outer enclosure in 2015 [<26>]. ->

-> The archaeo-topographical and photogrammetric surveys have recorded a number of previously unidentified features across the site, allowing a significant reinterpretation of the development of the medieval castle and associated settlement. Features in and around the inner bailey and motte of the castle are particularly well-preserved, allowing a re-appraisal of the layout of this area in the later phases of the castle’s development. Earthwork features in the outer enclosure were less well preserved, although a number of important observations can still be made. A number of potentially important features outside of the castle and Scheduled area were also recorded, including potential garden features, possibly of 17th century date on the southern side of the outer enclosure. <28>


<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 00249 (Card index). SSA20722.


<01> Ordnance Survey, 1971, Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ30NW1 (Card index). SSA1221.


<02> Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP), 1954-Jul-09, CUCAP OT89 to OT94 (6 Photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16352.


<03> Musson Chris R, 1984-Aug-01, CPAT 84/MB/0575 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16353.


<04> Musson Chris R, 1984-Dec-11, CPAT 84/39/0017 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16354.


<05> Musson Chris R, 1986-Jan-03, CPAT 86/02/0009 to 0010 (2 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16355.


<06> Musson Chris R, 1986-Jan-03, CPAT 86/MB/0038 to 0039 (2 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16356.


<07c> Phillips T, 1779, History and Antiquities of Shrewsbury, p228 (Monograph). SSA1219.


<07a> Stackhouse-Acton F (Mrs), 1867, Garrisons of Shropshire 1642-48, p41-42 (Monograph). SSA239.


<07d> Eyton R W, 1887, The Castles of Shropshire, p23 (Article in serial). SSA242.


<07b> Anon, 1918/ 1919, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, pv-vi (Volume). SSA1217.


<07f> Renn D R/D F?, 1968, Norman Castles of Britain, p139, p147 (Monograph). SSA244.


<07e> Gaydon A T (ed), 1968, Victoria County History 8: Condover and Ford Hundreds, p308-310 (Volume). SSA1126.


<07> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1986, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 21511 (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA1226.


<08> Chitty Lily F, 1954/ 1956, Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society (Article in serial). SSA1218.


<09> Whitelock D (ed), 1961, The Anglo Saxon Chronicle (Monograph). SSA1220.


<10> Page P S, 1977, Deserted Villages in Shropshire, p35, No 27 (Gazetteer). SSA264.


<11> Anon, 1920/ 1921, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, pv-vi (Volume). SSA1807.


<12> Anon, 1906, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society (Volume). SSA3834.


<13> English Heritage, 1990, Map of Scheduled area, 1990 (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA1222.


<14> Anon, Slide (Photograph). SSA1225.


<15> Anon, 1976, Slides (Photograph). SSA1223.


<16> Musson Chris R, 1985-Mar-12, CPAT 85/MB/0013 to 0020 (8 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16357.


<17> Anon, 1982, Caus Castle Motte (Photograph). SSA1224.


<19> Musson Chris R, 1993, CPAT 93/C/0501 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16358.


<20> Musson Chris R, 1993, CPAT 93/MB/0005 to 0008 (4 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16359.


<21> Horton Wendy B, 1990/ 1991, MPP Evaluation File (TEXT). SSA20084.


<22> English Heritage, 2001, Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 18/09/2001) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA20688.


<23> Shropshire Council, 2007-Sep-4, SA0707_170 to SA0707_172 (3 photos) Flight: 07_SA_07 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA24902.


<24> Shropshire Council, 2008-Dec-3, SA0813_039 to SA0813_046 (8 photos) Flight: 08_SA-13 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25473.


<25> Dorling P & Wigley A, 2012, Assessment of the archaeological and conservation status of major later prehistoric enclosures in Herefordshire and Shropshire, p.191 (Archaeological fieldwork report). SSA24361.


<26> Carey Giles, 2015, Fluxgate gradiometer survey, Caus Castle, Westbury, Shropshire: pilot geophysical survey report (Geophysical survey report). SSA28055.


<27> Carey Giles, 2016, Electrical resistance survey, Caus castle, Westbury, Shropshire: interim geophysical survey report (Geophysical survey report). SSA29031.


<28a> Stanford A, 2016, 3D model generated from photogrammetric survey, Caus Castle, Westbury (Webpage). SSA29351.


<28> Fradley Michael and Carey Giles, 2016, Archaeo-topographical survey: Caus Castle, Westbury - a preliminary report (Geophysical survey report). SSA29350.

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 00249.
[01]SSA1221 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1971. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ30NW1. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ30NW1.
[02]SSA16352 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). 1954-Jul-09. CUCAP OT89 to OT94 (6 Photos). Black and white.
[03]SSA16353 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1984-Aug-01. CPAT 84/MB/0575. Black and White. Medium.
[04]SSA16354 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1984-Dec-11. CPAT 84/39/0017.
[05]SSA16355 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1986-Jan-03. CPAT 86/02/0009 to 0010 (2 photos).
[06]SSA16356 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1986-Jan-03. CPAT 86/MB/0038 to 0039 (2 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[07e]SSA1126 - Volume: Gaydon A T (ed). 1968. Victoria County History 8: Condover and Ford Hundreds. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 8. p308-310.
[07b]SSA1217 - Volume: Anon. 1918/ 1919. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 4, Vol VII (=Vol 40). pv-vi.
[07c]SSA1219 - Monograph: Phillips T. 1779. History and Antiquities of Shrewsbury. p228.
[07]SSA1226 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 21511.
[07a]SSA239 - Monograph: Stackhouse-Acton F (Mrs). 1867. Garrisons of Shropshire 1642-48. p41-42.
[07d]SSA242 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1887. The Castles of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol X (=Vol 10). p23.
[07f]SSA244 - Monograph: Renn D R/D F?. 1968. Norman Castles of Britain. p139, p147.
[08]SSA1218 - Article in serial: Chitty Lily F. 1954/ 1956. Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 55. pvi-vii.
[09]SSA1220 - Monograph: Whitelock D (ed). 1961. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle.
[10]SSA264 - Gazetteer: Page P S. 1977. Deserted Villages in Shropshire. Site list. p35, No 27.
[11]SSA1807 - Volume: Anon. 1920/ 1921. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 4, Vol VIII (=Vol 41). pv-vi.
[12]SSA3834 - Volume: Anon. 1906. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 3, Vol VI (=Vol 29).
[13]SSA1222 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 1990. Map of Scheduled area, 1990.
[14]SSA1225 - Photograph: Anon. Slide. Colour.
[15]SSA1223 - Photograph: Anon. 1976. Slides. Colour.
[16]SSA16357 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1985-Mar-12. CPAT 85/MB/0013 to 0020 (8 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[17]SSA1224 - Photograph: Anon. 1982. Caus Castle Motte. Colour.
[19]SSA16358 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1993. CPAT 93/C/0501.
[20]SSA16359 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1993. CPAT 93/MB/0005 to 0008 (4 photos).
[21]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[22]SSA20688 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 18/09/2001). 33848.
[23]SSA24902 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2007-Sep-4. SA0707_170 to SA0707_172 (3 photos) Flight: 07_SA_07. Colour. Digital.
[24]SSA25473 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2008-Dec-3. SA0813_039 to SA0813_046 (8 photos) Flight: 08_SA-13. Colour. Digital.
[25]SSA24361 - Archaeological fieldwork report: Dorling P & Wigley A. 2012. Assessment of the archaeological and conservation status of major later prehistoric enclosures in Herefordshire and Shropshire. p.191.
[26]SSA28055 - Geophysical survey report: Carey Giles. 2015. Fluxgate gradiometer survey, Caus Castle, Westbury, Shropshire: pilot geophysical survey report.
[27]SSA29031 - Geophysical survey report: Carey Giles. 2016. Electrical resistance survey, Caus castle, Westbury, Shropshire: interim geophysical survey report.
[28]SSA29350 - Geophysical survey report: Fradley Michael and Carey Giles. 2016. Archaeo-topographical survey: Caus Castle, Westbury - a preliminary report.
[28a]SSA29351 - Webpage: Stanford A. 2016. 3D model generated from photogrammetric survey, Caus Castle, Westbury. https://sketchfab.com/models/f9b556632b7d496eb25acab738eeb987.
Date Last Edited:Mar 23 2017 10:19AM