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HER Number (PRN):00145
Name:The Castle, Bishops Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Conservation Area: Bishop's Castle
Listed Building (II) 1054569: REMAINS OF CASTLE ON CASTLE SITE
Listed Building (II) 498-0/11/1: Title not entered
Scheduled Monument 1020552: Motte and bailey castle

Monument Types

Summary

Scheduled Monument: A key site in the history of Bishop's Castle, this was both a functioning marcher castle and a residence of the Bishops of Hereford throughout the medieval period.

Parish:Bishop's Castle, South Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SO38NW
Grid Reference:SO 3234 8907

Related records

05143Related to: Castle/ Bishops palace, Bishops Castle (Monument)
13450Related to: Old Bank House, MARKET SQUARE, Bishops Castle (Building)
13432Related to: Summerhouse at SO32348913 (Building)
13433Related to: The Castle Hotel, MARKET SQUARE, Bishops Castle (Building)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA4364 - 1984 excavation at the Bishops' Castle by English Heritage (CEU)
  • ESA4365 - 1940 excavations at the Bishops' Castle
  • ESA4366 - 1985 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA4679 - 1937 Excavation of Castle Walls

Description

Built c1100, probably as a motte and bailey. A survey made for Queen Elizabeth I mentions buildings on the outer walls: 13 rooms covered with lead; the "new buildings"; two rooms covered with tiles; and the prison tower. There was also a dovecote, a garden, a forest and a park. Some of the walls have been excavated [by the author - no details given] and foundations 2 to 3 feet thick and 8 to 9 feet high exposed: the walls were shown to be 14th century <3b>

An earlier (rather confused) account by the author of the above [<3b>] suggests that the Bishops Moat, 2 miles out of town, is the site of the first castle, and that this site is a later castle, since it is referred to as the "New Castle" in 1281 <4a>

Founded between 1086 and 1127 by Bishops of Hereford. The motte in its present condition is 44m in diameter, 3m in height on the south and 1.5m on the north side, being situated on the end of a spur 225m above OD above a south facing slope. The ground rises from the motte to the north east. The bailey to the south is oval in plan, measuring 80m E/W by 70m N/S with a fall of some 15m vertical height. The motte is occupied by a bowling green and there are no visible remains of a ring wall or buildings upon it. The east half of the bailey is developed with town properties, while the western half is occupied by the Castle Hotel. Its height above the surrounding ground level varies from 1m to 2m on the east and west, to 3m to 5m around the south side, and is bounded in part by the remains of a rough coursed stone retaining wall which averages 0.5m thick and is of indeterminate age but is probably rebuilt on the line of a medieval wall. On the west side of the bailey is a 10m length of rough coursed stone walling which is 2m to 2.5m thick, 2.5m in height internally and 3m externally. Again it is of indeterminate age but it seems likely that this represents the only standing remnant of the castle structure. To the west of the motte and bailey is a terrace 15m to 30m wide which slopes down from the base of the motte towards Castle Street. This terrace is revetted by a wall 1.5 to 2m high on the east side of Castle St. Clearly parts of the wall have been restored in the relatively recent past, but again it might be the rebuild of a medieval wall.....The terrace is potentially of the greatest importance in understanding of the plan, development and dating not only of the castle but of the town itself <6>

The scheduled area was extended in February 1983. <11>

Excavation on top of the motte in advance of the building of a new bowling green clubhouse by the CEU in 1984 revealed no trace of medieval features. [See note on SMR card] <12>

SMC for water and sewerage works in 1994. <26>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Medium score as one of 46 Motte and Bailey castles <28>

The 'New Castle' was built between 1087 and 1127 and remained in use until the mid 16th century, when it was described by a survey as having 13 rooms, towers, a dovecote and garden. In the 16th century it was owned by the Earl of Arundel and became a ruin. The Castle Hotel is the site of the main buildings, and the bowling green the site of an earlier shell keep <29>

CMHTS Record Sheets <30>
CMHTS Report <31>

There is material in the DRF to suggest that a re-excavation of Lavender's trenches was proposed in the 1980s. <32>

Scheduling revised in 2001. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the known surviving extent of the earthwork, buried and upstanding structural remains of a motte and bailey castle and bishops' palace, which lie within two separate areas of protection at the northern end of the town of Bishop's Castle. The first area of protection forms the majority of the monument and includes remains of the northern part of the castle and bishops' palace. To the south of this lies the second area of protection which includes remains of the southern part of the castle and palace. All the upstanding sections of the castle and palace walls are Listed Buildings Grade II and are all included in the scheduling. ->

-> The motte and bailey castle was built by the bishops of Hereford, probably between 1085 and 1127, and lay within the large episcopal manor of Lydbury, which had belonged to the bishops of Hereford since the late eighth century. After the Norman Conquest the bishops of Hereford controlled the manor as marcher lords. The first documented reference to the castle is in the mid-12th century when the castle was seized by Hugh de Mortimer from Bishop Robert de Betun. Ecclesiastical control was probably restored by Betun's successor, Bishop Gilbert Foliot. In 1167 the castle was re-fortified at a cost of 20 marks. It is considered that this work involved replacing timber buildings with structures built of stone. A settlement became established close to the castle, which in 1203 was granted a market charter by Bishop Giles de Broase. This act is believed to have been the impetus for the establishment of the planned town to the south of the castle. In 1263 the castle and the town were attacked and the castle was captured by John FitzAlan, Lord of Oswestry and Clun, and Earl of Arundel. Records indicate that the estimated total cost resulting from the damage to buildings in the town and the castle was in excess of 200 marks. ->

-> The castle served as a palace of the bishops of Hereford throughout the medieval period, and it was also the centre of administrative and legal control for the area. It is recorded that Bishop Cantilupe stayed here often in the mid-13th century, and it was one of the episcopal palaces maintained as residences by the bishops of Hereford after 1356. It continued to be used by the bishops until the 16th century. Records indicate that from 1170 to 1610 constables were appointed to maintain the castle, and a reference by Leland in 1530 described it as being of good strength. ->

-> A survey of the castle undertaken in the reign of Elizabeth I records that there were 13 rooms covered with lead, a tower on the outer wall, a stable on the eastern side, and two rooms covered with tiles. A gatehouse, a prison tower and two other rooms referred to as a 'new building', were also noted. An 18th century illustration based on an Elizabethan drawing shows a square keep within an inner ward defined by a curtain wall and adjoining towers occupying the area of the motte. Along the outer ward wall a gatehouse, a round tower and a rectangular building are shown, with a further rectangular structure within the interior. ->

-> In 1603 the castle was granted by James I to the Howard family. During the 17th century it was allowed to fall into ruins and was used extensively as a quarry for building materials by the inhabitants of the town. Following the abandonment of the castle, The Square, in the south eastern part of the outer ward, was created as an extension to the market place occupying the central street within the town. The Castle Hotel, opposite The Square, was built in 1719. The Square and The Castle Hotel are not included in the scheduling. During this period much of the outer ward and the defended area immediately to the west of the outer ward wall were used as agricultural land. On the levelled remains of the keep and the inner ward a bowling green was created in the 18th century. The adjacent summerhouse, built in the late 18th or early 19th century, is a Listed Building Grade II. ->

-> The castle is situated at the southern end of a spur overlooking the town. The roughly circular motte occupies a high point on the spur, and measures approximately 56m at its base and 44m across the top. The height of the southern portion of the motte is accentuated by the sloping ground on which it stands and is about 5.7m high. To the north, where the ground rises more gradually, the motte has been reduced in height in order to create a level surface for the bowling green. The bailey was located on the lower ground to the south of the motte. Its exact dimensions are unclear, but it was probably of a similar size to the later outer ward, about 0.5ha, that occupies this area. All the upstanding sections of walling defining the outer ward are roughly coursed and consist mainly of locally derived stone. The wall marking the western side of the outer ward is 2m wide and stands to a maximum height of 3.7m. The southern and eastern sides of the outer ward are defined by substantial retaining walls standing up to 7m high, built onto, and revetting deeply excavated sections of bedrock. The wall along the southern side is strengthened by stone buttresses. At the north eastern corner of the outer ward are the remains of a rectangular projection with rounded ends, which is considered to be the base of a tower. At the south eastern corner, close to what is believed to be the site of the gatehouse to the outer ward, the retaining wall takes the form of a rectangular recess. Within this recess are three projecting sandstone corbels and an associated scarcement (a ledge built into the wall) .Together these features would have provided support for a balcony 3.6m above the present ground surface. ->

-> Small-scale archaeological excavations carried out in 1937-38 and in 1988, close to the south western part of the motte, appear to confirm the existence of the rectangular inner ward which was depicted on the 18th century copy of the Elizabethan drawing. The investigation undertaken in 1988 also found that this section of the inner ward wall was sealed beneath a sizeable dump of masonry from the demolished castle buildings. A limited archaeological excavation carried out in 1999 next to the southern portion of the outer ward wall found evidence of post-medieval stone structures abutting, and running parallel to, the wall. ->

-> A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: all paths, paved areas and yard surfaces, all modern free-standing walls, all fence and gate posts, all ornamental garden features, the bowling green and the adjacent summerhouse, the clubhouse and the sheds, the flag pole and the electric lights around the bowling green, the picnic table together with an information board and the concrete plinths for seats located to the west of the outer ward wall, the house known as Middle Bailey as well as the adjacent garage and driveway, the garage and the oil storage container within the garden of 2 Welsh Street, the dwelling known as The Castle Gatehouse located above the southern retaining wall of the outer ward, all extant outbuildings of 18th century and later date adjoining the southern and eastern retaining walls defining the outer ward, however, the ground beneath all these features is included. ->

-> Throughout its history the castle at Bishop's Castle has influenced the form and shape of the surrounding town … It is a significant example of a marcher castle which also functioned as bishop's palace. It thus provides important evidence concerning the development of, and relationship between, military and high status domestic architecture in the Welsh Marches during the medieval period. <33>

Site photographed during aerial survey in 2008-2009. <36><37>

Reinterpretation of the castle presented by Colin Walmsley of the Tameside Archaeological Society on the basis of evidence from documentary sources, field survey and excavation work [none of which has been separately reported on to the HER] by the author and other students of the Extra-Mural Dept of the University of Manchester. <38>


<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 00145 (Card index). SSA20722.


<01> Musson Chris R, 1985-Jul-23, CPAT 85/16/0005 to 0008 (4 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16130.


<02> Musson Chris R, 1989-Jun-25, CPAT 89/MB/0720 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16131.


<03a> Eyton R W, 1887, The Castles of Shropshire, p25-26 (Article in serial). SSA242.


<03c> Victoria County History, 1908, Victoria County History 1, p383 with plan (Volume). SSA178.


<03b> Lavender F, 1941/ 1943, The Castle at Bishops Castle (Article in serial). SSA704.


<03> Ordnance Survey, 1973, Ordnance Survey Record Card SO38NW1 (Card index). SSA707.


<04a> Lavender F, 1937/ 1938, The Castle at Bishops Castle (Article in serial). SSA703.


<04b> Renn D R/D F?, 1968, Norman Castles of Britain, p110 (Monograph). SSA244.


<04> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1986, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 26554 (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA711.


<05> Department of the Environment (DoE), 1985-Jan-02, 4th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, p1, 11/1 and 12/1 (List of Buildings). SSA11408.


<06> Tyler Alan W, 1981, The Castle at Bishops Castle (TEXT). SSA702.


<07> Various, 1981, Correspondence, 1981 (Correspondence). SSA705.


<08> Anon, 1981, The Bailey (Photograph). SSA710.


<09> Musson Chris R, 1990-Apr-04, CPAT 90/C/0042 to 0043 (2 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16132.


<10> Watson Michael D, 1983-Nov/Dec, Bowling Green On Summit Of Bishops Castle Motte (Photograph). SSA708.


<11> Department of the Environment (DoE), 1983, Map of Scheduled area, 1983 (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA709.


<12> Various, 1983/ 1984, Correspondence, 1983-1984 (Correspondence). SSA706.


<13> Musson Chris R, 1990-Apr-04, CPAT 90/C/0043 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16133.


<14> Musson Chris R, 1992-May-05, CPAT 92/MB/0459 to 0461 (3 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16134.


<15> Musson Chris R, 1992-May-05, CPAT 92/MB/0519 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16135.


<16> Musson Chris R, 1992-May-05, CPAT 92/MB/0462 to 0465 (4 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16136.


<17> Musson Chris R, 1992-May-05, CPAT 92/C/0816 to 0822 (7 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16137.


<18> Various, 1988, Correspondence, 1988 (Correspondence). SSA701.


<19> Shropshire County Council, 1979, Consultation Response, 1979 (Planning archive). SSA20090.


<20> Shropshire County Council, 1981, Consultation Response, 1981 (Planning archive). SSA20091.


<21> Shropshire County Council, 1981, Consultation Response, 1981 (Planning archive). SSA20092.


<22.1> Shropshire County Council, 1983, Consultation Response, 1985 (Planning archive). SSA20089.


<22.2> Shropshire County Council, 1988, Consultation Response, 1988 (Planning archive). SSA20093.


<23> Shropshire County Council, 1990, Consultation Response, 1990 (Planning archive). SSA20094.


<24> Shropshire County Council, 1990, Consultation Response, 1990 (Planning archive). SSA20095.


<25> Anon, 1991, Comments on DC Consultation, 1991 (Planning archive). SSA20096.


<26> Department of National Heritage (DNH), 1994-Jan-17, Scheduled Monument Consent for water and sewerage works (Scheduled Monument Consent notification). SSA20097.


<27> Tyler Alan W, 1981-May, Castle, Bishops Castle (Photograph). SSA12778.


<28> Horton Wendy B, 1990/ 1991, MPP Evaluation File, Motte and Bailey Castles (TEXT). SSA20084.


<29> Tonkin J W, 1976, The Palaces of the Bishop of Hereford (Article in serial). SSA11464.


<30> Buteux Victoria & Dalwood Hal, 1993/ 1996, CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Acton Burnell to Bishop's Castle, Bishops Castle 145 (x2) (Record form). SSA19964.


<31> Dalwood Hal et al, 1996, Archaeological Assessment of Bishop's Castle, Shropshire (CMHTS) (Historic landscape survey report). SSA12065.


<32> Anon, Unattributed SMR Comments in SMR database (SMR comment). SSA20176.


<33> English Heritage, 2002, Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 11/12/2001) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA20756.


<34> Musson Chris R, 2003-Jul-27, CPAT 03/MB/0046 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA21744.


<35> Musson Chris R, 2003-Jul-27, CPAT 03/CP/0531 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA21793.


<36> Shropshire Council, 2009-Jan-6, SA0901_233 to SA0901_237 (5 photos) Flight: 09_SA_01 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25880.


<37> Shropshire Council, 2008-Nov-25, SA0812_075 to SA0812_079 (5 photos) Flight: 08_SA-12 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25412.


<38> Walmsley C, 1988, The Castle of Bishops Castle: a reinterpretation by Colin Walmsley (Guidebook). SSA28862.


<39> Historic England, 2016, NRHE to HER Prototype Website (https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/), https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE/RecordDetail.aspx?recordid=505013 (Online database). SSA28986.

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 00145.
[01]SSA16130 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1985-Jul-23. CPAT 85/16/0005 to 0008 (4 photos).
[02]SSA16131 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1989-Jun-25. CPAT 89/MB/0720. Black and White. Medium.
[03c]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p383 with plan.
[03a]SSA242 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1887. The Castles of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol X (=Vol 10). p25-26.
[03b]SSA704 - Article in serial: Lavender F. 1941/ 1943. The Castle at Bishops Castle. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 51. p157-159.
[03]SSA707 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1973. Ordnance Survey Record Card SO38NW1. Ordnance Survey record cards. SO38NW1.
[04b]SSA244 - Monograph: Renn D R/D F?. 1968. Norman Castles of Britain. p110.
[04a]SSA703 - Article in serial: Lavender F. 1937/ 1938. The Castle at Bishops Castle. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 49. p245-249.
[04]SSA711 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 26554.
[05]SSA11408 - List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1985-Jan-02. 4th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 498-0. List volume. p1, 11/1 and 12/1.
[06]SSA702 - TEXT: Tyler Alan W. 1981. The Castle at Bishops Castle.
[07]SSA705 - Correspondence: Various. 1981. Correspondence, 1981.
[08]SSA710 - Photograph: Anon. 1981. The Bailey. Colour.
[09]SSA16132 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1990-Apr-04. CPAT 90/C/0042 to 0043 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[10]SSA708 - Photograph: Watson Michael D. 1983-Nov/Dec. Bowling Green On Summit Of Bishops Castle Motte. Black and white. 35mm.
[11]SSA709 - Scheduled Monument notification: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1983. Map of Scheduled area, 1983.
[12]SSA706 - Correspondence: Various. 1983/ 1984. Correspondence, 1983-1984.
[13]SSA16133 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1990-Apr-04. CPAT 90/C/0043. Colour. 35mm.
[14]SSA16134 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-05. CPAT 92/MB/0459 to 0461 (3 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[15]SSA16135 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-05. CPAT 92/MB/0519. Black and White. Medium.
[16]SSA16136 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-05. CPAT 92/MB/0462 to 0465 (4 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[17]SSA16137 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-05. CPAT 92/C/0816 to 0822 (7 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[18]SSA701 - Correspondence: Various. 1988. Correspondence, 1988.
[19]SSA20090 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1979. Consultation Response, 1979. DC proforma PF1.
[20]SSA20091 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1981. Consultation Response, 1981. DC proforma PF1.
[21]SSA20092 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1981. Consultation Response, 1981. DC proforma PF1.
[22.1]SSA20089 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1983. Consultation Response, 1985. DC proforma PF1.
[22.2]SSA20093 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1988. Consultation Response, 1988. DC proforma PF2.
[23]SSA20094 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1990. Consultation Response, 1990. DC proforma PF2.
[24]SSA20095 - Planning archive: Shropshire County Council. 1990. Consultation Response, 1990. DC proforma PF2.
[25]SSA20096 - Planning archive: Anon. 1991. Comments on DC Consultation, 1991.
[26]SSA20097 - Scheduled Monument Consent notification: Department of National Heritage (DNH). 1994-Jan-17. Scheduled Monument Consent for water and sewerage works.
[27]SSA12778 - Photograph: Tyler Alan W. 1981-May. Castle, Bishops Castle. Black and white. 35mm.
[28]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File. Motte and Bailey Castles.
[29]SSA11464 - Article in serial: Tonkin J W. 1976. The Palaces of the Bishop of Hereford. Trans Woolhope Natur Fld Club. Vol 42. Pt 1, p53-63.
[30]SSA19964 - Record form: Buteux Victoria & Dalwood Hal. 1993/ 1996. CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Acton Burnell to Bishop's Castle. Central Marches Historic Towns Survey record form. Vol 1. Bishops Castle 145 (x2).
[31]SSA12065 - Historic landscape survey report: Dalwood Hal et al. 1996. Archaeological Assessment of Bishop's Castle, Shropshire (CMHTS). Hereford & Worcester CAS Rep. Rep 299.
[32]SSA20176 - SMR comment: Anon. Unattributed SMR Comments in SMR database.
[33]SSA20756 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2002. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 11/12/2001). 34905.
[34]SSA21744 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2003-Jul-27. CPAT 03/MB/0046. Black and White. Medium.
[35]SSA21793 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2003-Jul-27. CPAT 03/CP/0531.
[36]SSA25880 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2009-Jan-6. SA0901_233 to SA0901_237 (5 photos) Flight: 09_SA_01. Colour. Digital.
[37]SSA25412 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2008-Nov-25. SA0812_075 to SA0812_079 (5 photos) Flight: 08_SA-12. Colour. Digital.
[38]SSA28862 - Guidebook: Walmsley C. 1988. The Castle of Bishops Castle: a reinterpretation by Colin Walmsley. Temeside Archaeological Society Press.
[39]SSA28986 - Online database: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER Prototype Website (https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/). https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE/RecordDetail.aspx?recordid=505013.
Date Last Edited:Jul 4 2016 3:58PM