HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Shropshire HER Result
Shropshire HERPrintable version | About Shropshire HER | Visit Shropshire HER online...

HER Number (PRN):07784
Name:Formal Garden Remains West of Clun Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1011021: Clun Castle

Monument Type(s):


Scheduled Monument: To the west of the castle, on the west bank of the River Clun, are a series of linear earthworks believed to be the remains of garden features associated with the castle. The earthworks appear to be designed to control and manage water.

Parish:Clun, South Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SO28SE
Grid Reference:SO 296 810

Related records

03051Parent of: Mound or platform within the medieval garden remains W of Clun Castle (Monument)
01198Part of: Clun Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA2794 - 1973 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA2795 - 1976 field observation by the Ordnance Survey


A series of rectangular depressions and banks are probably the remains of medieval fishponds, much mutilated by modern drainage works. OS FI 1973 <1>
The earthworks are probably explained as a Medieval pleasaunce, perhaps incorporating an ornamental garden. The hollows may well be fishponds <1.1>

These fields (Nos 130, 130a, 130b),plus No 132 to the west are marked on the tithe map as 'The Parks' <2>
CMHTS Comment:- Probably refers to the fishponds/pleasure gardens <3> and CMHTS Report <4>

In draining The Parks, c1854, some thick oak posts, some a foot in diameter, were found buried upright deeply in the ground. (This was interpreted in the 1930s as possible evidence for a Lake Village.) <1.2> <3>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Medium score as one of 52 Fishponds <5>

Earthworks and cropmarks, covering c. 3 ha, of possible pleasance below Clun castle. ->

-> Overlooked by the great keep-like building set in to the side of the motte at Clun, recently reinterpreted as a 13C residential block or hunting box of the Earls of Arundel, is a roughly square complex of earthworks comprising moats and fishponds. These would have been fed or drained by the River Clun, here little more than a broad stream, which runs between the complex and the castle. ->

-> Clun castle was probably founded in the later 11 C. From about 1155 until 1549 it was held as the principal castle of the Barony of Clun by the FitzAlans, from 1243 earls of Arundel. The castle and town, which received a murage grant in 1277, were probably at their most developed and prestigious in the later 13th and 14th centuries. In 1295 Edward I visited Clun and presumably stayed at the castle, another royal visitor being Edward III who came to hunt in 1362. By the latter date the FitzAlans principal residence was at Arundel, but Clun castle apparently still retained an important role both as an administrative centre and as a place of resort and sport. The FitzAlan's Clun stud was 160 strong in 1397, and as late as 1440 the buildings at the castle were well kept up and included 'the newly built great house'. The castle's use by the family fell off in the later 15th century and in 1540 it was 'somewhat ruinous'. ->

-> The castle earthworks comprise a massive motte, divided by a deep ditch from two separate raised baileys. Set in to the north side of the motte is a four storey, keeplike building, long regarded as a defensive structure but recently argued, following detailed recording during a conservation programme to be a lodgings block of 13 or 14 C date. ->

-> The earthworks of the possible pleasance lie due west of the motte and c. 50 m from its base on the river's floodplain, the ground starting to rise off it immediately behind (west) of the earthworks. The river today loops away from the base of the motte to pass close to the south-east corner of the earthworks, although it is not known whether the modern course was the same one followed by the river in the Middle Age-, it may be that in the Middle Ages the river was taken past close to the motte base, but has later moved ever more westwards due to erosion. In the mid 19C the floodplain area overlooked by the castle, and including the earthworks, was called ' The Parks', four separate but adjoining fields being so called. Those fields mark the area of the Little or Small park, mentioned between 1301 and the 17C. In 1301 the Small park contained a garden worth 3s. 0d. With its grazing. ->

-> Those field boundaries, which served as drainage ditches, were probably created when the ground was inclosed and drained c. 1840. During those operations it was reported that 'some thick oak posts were found buried upright deeply in the ground. Some of them were a foot in diameter. They were black with age, exceedingly hard, and came from a wide area'. ->

-> Some of those posts may well have been encountered when the field boundary was dug which bisects the site before running into the river. That boundary (between tithe map field nos. 130a and 130b) today separates the well preserved half of the monument, which lies to the south and is under permanent pasture, from the far less well preserved northern half. In the 1980s and 1990s that was under arable cultivation, and only the degraded remains of the principal features were visible. Comparison of APs taken in 1990 with one taken by St. Joseph indicate that much of the damage took place c. 1950 X 1990, although site inspection suggests that since 1990 that existing damage may have been exacerbated. That damage compounds the difficulty of both description and interpretation. The main element of the site appears to be a rectangular depression c. 25 x 15 m, surrounded by a level bank or platform c. 15 m wide. That is bounded externally by a narrow ditch, which defines a roughly square area. Beyond that lies a further zone, again bounded by ditches, that to the south being much broader and resembling a garden canal and those to the north and east being almost wholly ploughed out. Aligned within the west side of the last mentioned zone are at least two rectangular ponds, presumably for fish, that to the south being twice as large as that to the north. The southern edge of the canal-like feature is slightly banked, that bank turning with a right-angle to the south at the west end of the canal to run for a further 40 m. Its line is then continued by a dried up former stream bed of the river. ->

-> The whole complex is very reminiscent of the pleasance at Kenilworth, built for Henry V 1414-17. ->

-> About 90 m south of the canal-like feature is a sub-circular bank c. 10 m in diameter and with a sunken interior c. 4 m in diameter.[PRN03051] Reputedly these are the remains of a stone hut, used by the keeper of the fishponds and gardens. <6>

Scheduled area of Clun Castle extended to include garden earthworks in 1995. Relevant part of scheduling description: ->

- > To the west of the castle, on the west bank of the River Clun, are a series of linear earthworks believed to be the remains of garden features associated with the castle. The earthworks appear to be designed to control and manage water. At their southern extent a well defined north east facing scarp up to 3.2m high curves from the river towards the north west for 160m before turning to the west and fading out towards the modern roadway. To the east of this scarp and parallel to it, is a second, south facing, scarp 1.2m high forming the eastern side of a broad channel 6m wide. Some 80m along this channel and adjoining its north side is a sub-circular mound or platform 14m in diameter and up to 0.5m high [PRN 03051]. The central portion of this is hollowed to a depth of 0.2m and may represent the site of a building. To the north west of this feature the main channel continues bounded on its east side by a low bank. Between this and the river are a series of shallow channels up to 1.5m wide and 0.3m deep arranged in a rectangular pattern. These are bounded along their northern side by a bank with a channel 6m wide and 0.5m deep parallel to it on its north side. ->

-> Further north again a roughly square ditched enclosure can be recognised. This enclosure, the full extent of which is visible on aerial photographs of the area, is orientated roughly north to south and has sides of 60m. It is crossed by a modern field drain and hedge which cuts diagonally through it north west to south east. Differential management of the two fields has resulted in the southern half, which lies in undisturbed permanent pasture, being better preserved than the northern portion. Even so substantial buried remains still survive in the northern part of this feature. The southern part of the enclosure is bounded by a well defined shallow ditch 5m wide and 0.5m deep. To the north of the hedgeline the ditch remains visible as a very slight earthwork. To the north east of the enclosure a shallow plough-spread scarp curves north towards the river. It may represent the edge of a shallow mere which would have lain in the angle of the river supplying water to the channel system to the south through a system of sluices. <7>

Identifying features in an AP (possibly aerofilms) associated with the gardens to the W of the Castle. Annotated copy of photograph from Local Studies Library. <11>

Features centred on SO 2972 8095 are distinctly visible on LiDAR imagery. <21>

A series of features were mapped in this area by the Marches Upland Mapping Project (MUMP). This included the earthwork remains of field boundaries, fishponds and enclosures mapped from aerial photography. <22>

A set of features were mapped to the N of the scheduled area, to the N of the River Clun by MUMP (267/2/1-3). Features can also be seen on LiDAR imagery. This includes a subrectangular ditched feature, also visible as a parchmark on verticle aerial photography from 1999, with a possible annexe to the east, centred on SO 2976 8116. This is identified by MUMP as part of a possible field system with a field boundary to the N. A much more extensive earthwork can be idenfitied running roughly NW-SE on LIDAR here, and it might perhaps suggest a cannalised stream associated with the garden remains to the W of Clun Castle. <23><24>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2011. <25>

Included in a conservation plan for Clun Castle, described as The Pleasance. On the south side the feature survives relatively intact; on the north side it has been damaged by ploughing. The scheduled area of Clun Castle was extended to include The Pleasance in 1995. <26>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2019. <27><28>


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 03050.
[01]SSA8004 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1977. Ordnance Survey Record Card SO28SE35 . Ordnance Survey record cards. SO28SE35 . Ordnance Survey record cards. SO28SE35.
[01.1]SSA8002 - Correspondence: St Joseph J K S. 1958. Letter to Clun Museum commenting on UCCAP Air Photo 03/02/1958.
[01.2]SSA6811 - Article in serial: Jones H C. 1931/ 1934. Article in the Transactions of the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club. Trans Caradoc Severn Valley Fld Club. Vol 9. 198. p198.
[02]SSA11505 - Map: Foxall H D G. Transcript of Clun Tithe Map (1847). Foxall map transcripts. Clun. 1:10560.
[03]SSA19966 - Record form: Buteux Victoria & Dalwood Hal. 1993/ 1996. CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Burford to Clun. Central Marches Historic Towns Survey record form. Vol 3. PRN 05440.
[04]SSA12069 - Historic landscape survey report: Buteux Victoria et al. 1996. Archaeological Assessment of Clun, Shropshire (CMHTS). Hereford & Worcester CAS Rep. Rep 311.
[05]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[06]SSA10287 - Field survey report: Stamper Paul A. 1996. Historic Parks and Gardens in Shropshire - A Compendium of Site Reports Compiled 1994 - 1997. Archaeology Service reports. 55. Site Reports for English Heritage.
[06.1]SSA10289 - Volume: Clough M. 1969. Two Estate Surveys of the Fitzalan Earls of Arundel. Sussex Record Soc. 67.
[06.2]SSA4853 - Field survey report: Morriss Richard K. 1993. Clun Castle Clun, Shropshire - An Interim Report. Hereford Archaeology Series. 176.
[06.3]SSA10288 - Monograph: Watson Michael D & Musson Chris R. 1993. Shropshire from the air: man and the landscape. p61.
[06.4]SSA19623 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). Oblique View. RAF_A_213.
[07]SSA4864 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 1995. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 09/10/1995). 19179.
[08]SSA8003 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1976. Ordnance Survey Record Card SO38SW33 . Ordnance Survey record cards. SO38SW33 .
[09]SSA17210 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). 1968-Apr-12. CUCAP AUB33 to AUB34 (2 Photos). Black and white.
[10]SSA17211 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1981. CPAT 81/50/0018.
[11]SSA8001 - Correspondence: Morriss Richard K. 1990. Letter about the earthwork features W of Clun Castle on AP in Local Studies Library. Penny Ward.
[12]SSA17218 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1990-Jul-20. CPAT 90/MB/0946 to 0950 (5 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[13]SSA18746 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1990-Jul-20. CPAT 90/C/0291 to 0292 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[14]SSA18747 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1986-Jul-12. CPAT 86/MB/0693. Black and White. Medium.
[15]SSA21552 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1996-Jul-24. CPAT 96/MB/0313. Black and White. Medium.
[16]SSA21727 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2003-Jun-21. CPAT 03/MB/0006 to 0007 (2 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[17]SSA21758 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2003. CPAT 03/MB/0072 to 0076 (5 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[18]SSA21783 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2003-Aug-30. CPAT 03/CP/0712 to 0715 (4 photos).
[19]SSA21810 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2003-Jun-21. CPAT 03/CP/0103 to 0106 (4 photos).
[20]SSA22230 - Online database: National Monuments Record (NMR). Pastscape. 105403.
[21]SSA24735 - Geospatial data: Environment Agency. 2014. LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) Hillshade Model.
[22]SSA22521 - Database file: National Monuments Record (NMR). 1993/ 1994. Marches Uplands Mapping Project (MUMP) MORPH records (2006 version). Marches Uplands Survey. MU.267.2.
[23]SSA24735 - Geospatial data: Environment Agency. 2014. LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) Hillshade Model.
[24]SSA21901 - Vertical aerial photograph: UK Perspectives. 1999/ 2002. UK Perspectives MAPS Digital Aerial Photographic Data Set for Shropshire. Colour. ECW. 1:10000.
[25]SSA26700 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2011-Jun-16. SA1102_067 to SA1102_071 (5 photos) Flight: 11_SA_02. Colour. Digital.
[26]SSA29131 - Management report: Craddock-Bennett L, Morriss R K, Boucher A and Smith H. 2012. Clun Castle, Clun, Shropshire: Conservation Plan. Hereford Archaeology Series. 917.
[27]SSA30905 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2019-Jul-25. SA1902_009 to SA1902_010 (2 photos) Flight: 19_SA_02. Colour. Digital.
[28]SSA30907 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2019-Jul-25. SA1902_012 (1 photo) Flight: 19_SA_02. Colour. Digital.
Date Last Edited:Jul 31 2019 1:38PM