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HER Number (PRN):01003
Name:Whittington Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Conservation Area: Whittington
Listed Building (I) 1178307: WHITTINGTON CASTLE
Scheduled Monument 1019450: Whittington Castle

Monument Type(s):

  • ENCLOSURE? (Iron Age - 800 BC to 43 AD)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (11th century to 13th century - 1066 AD? to 1221 AD)
  • CASTLE (13th century to 17th century - 1221 AD to 1699 AD) + Sci.Date
  • CURTAIN WALL (13th century - 1221 AD to 1250 AD)
  • GATEHOUSE (13th century - 1221 AD to 1250 AD)
  • INTERVAL TOWER (13th century - 1221 AD to 1250 AD)
  • KEEP (13th century to 17th century - 1221 AD to 1699 AD)
  • GARDEN (Late 18th century - 1760 AD to 1799 AD)


Scheduled Monument and Grade I Listed Building: A fine example of a high medieval castle which developed from a Norman motte and bailey, Whittington is of particular interest because of its surviving water features and 18th century garden remains.

Parish:Whittington, Oswestry, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ33SW
Grid Reference:SJ 3254 3112

Related records

28854Parent of: Earthworks c150m SE of Whittington Castle (Monument)
33639Parent of: Find of reused ashlar blocks, foundations of former antiques shop, Castle Street, Whittington (Find Spot)
30825Parent of: Possible earthworks, south of Whittington Castle (Monument)
31405Parent of: Possible medieval well, N gatehouse tower, Whittington Castle (Monument)
32853Parent of: Possible prehistoric enclosure incorporated into medieval castle defences, Whittington Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA4893 - 1999 WB on works at the White Lion Pub, Whittington by SCCAS
  • ESA5945 - 2004 Assessment of and conservation plan for Whittington Castle by Purcell Miller Tritton
  • ESA5946 - 2002 geoarchaeological and geophysical survey of Whittington Castle by Terra Nova
  • ESA5948 - 1999-2001 Feasibility study of Whittington Castle by W S Atkins
  • ESA5975 - 2005 WB at Whittington Castle, Shropshire by Nigel Baker
  • ESA6013 - 2005 Excavation in the outer gatehouse of Whittington Castle, Shropshire by Nigel Baker
  • ESA6583 - 2006 WB within Whittington Castle Gatehouse by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6703 - 2006 WB within South Tower at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6704 - 2006 WB within North Gatehouse Tower at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6705 - 2006 WB within North Gatehouse Tower for lift shaft at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6706 - 2006 WB within the timber framed cottage at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6707 - 2006 WB on south side of timber framed cottage at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6708 - 2006 WB on area of former toilet block at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6709 - 2006 WB on area of a former outhouse at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6710 - 2006 WB on west side of timber framed cottage at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6711 - 2006 WB on area of the 'Bothy' at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6712 - 2006 WB on moat extension at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6713 - 2006 WB on viewing mound at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6714 - 2006 WB on footbridge at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA6715 - 2007 WB on various service trenches at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA967 - 1970 excavation at Whittington Castle by English Heritage
  • ESA968 - 1976 field observation by SCC SMR
  • ESA969 - 1977 field observation at Whittington Castle by SCC SMR
  • ESA970 - 1980 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA971 - 1983 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA972 - 1967 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA7134 - 2014 Trial trenching at Penrhos Arms, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA7502 - 2014 heritage assessment of land southeast of Whittington Primary School, Station Road, Whittington by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA7542 - ?2003 building survey at Whittington Castle, Whittington by Richard K Morriss
  • ESA7819 - 2005 Interpretation plan for Whittington Castle by Alan Randall, C Parr and D Brennan
  • ESA8024 - 1976 excavation in outer bailey in connection with tree planting, Whittington Castle by Department of Environment
  • ESA9882 - 2021 WB on drainage trench at Whittington Castle by CPAT (Ref: 20/03753/FUL)


There is no mention of the castle in the Domesday Book, though manor held at that time by Roger de Montgomery, with Tudyr ap Rhys as sub - tenant. In 1138 castle may have been built by William Peveril <11>

Complex tenurial history in the late C12 / early C13. A market was granted shortly before licence to crenellate in 1221, in 1223 the unsuccessful siege of the castle by Llewellyn the Great suggests that the castle was in fully defensible condition at this time. The stone castle may date from this period <12>

A description of the castle in 1545 records a 36ft wide moat of running water, three storey gate-towers to the inner ward with a hall along the north side. Stable to the west of the outer gate <13>

The original bailey may have been the area on the NW, with marsh on the NE. A stream runs W/E along the N side and flows south along the eastern moat of the castle. The extensive outer works may date from the early C13 when the masonry castle was probably built <14>

R. A. Hartley excavated for the M.P.B.W. in 1970 within the bailey curtain-wall to establish the phases of occupation. The latest was probably 16C. Evidence of earlier 12th to 13th century occupation was indicated by footings for a small rectangular keep; the surface of the original motte on which it stood was traced 5.5 m down to the base of the curtain wall. A consistent layer of charcoal running between the two occupation levels suggests that the earlier castle was burnt. Sizable footings of a complex of buildings and one or two culverts in perfect condition have been found within the bailey. Finds include a large number of sherds, nails, other unidentified iron objects, and two coins. <15>

The castle is Bb2 type : low motte within triangular bailey, the motte lying within the bailey bank. There are some late C12 references <16>

The castle is shown virtually as at present on the first edition 25 in OS sheets, apart from the continuation of the earthworks almost to the road on the SE, and the absence of the large rectangular depression in the north part of the bailey shown on the most recent edition <18>

The ditch on the SE side ( SJ3274 3101 ) is shown by [<14>] as part of the castle defences. Field investigation showed this to be a north - facing scarp 2.5m high, the northern side consisting of a mortared stone revetment only 60cms high, with a stone feature projecting into the bottom of the ditch near the east end. (See plan in DRF) The ground to N & S is very level and has been part of the rectory garden. The feature may be merely a piece of landscaping, though the VCH plan is feasible in military terms. I Burrow FI 1977. [See also PRN 28854]. <19>

Castle, remains of. Begun c.1221 by Fulke Fitz Warine on site of late C11 or C12 motte and bailey castle. Regularly coursed and dressed grey limestone blocks with ashlar dressings; towers of outer gatehouse now with slate roofs. Original castle of motte and bailey type with bailey to north-west, replaced by rectangular plan with projecting semi-circular towers to inner and outer baileys, protected by elaborate water defences.
Principal survival is outer gatehouse: 2 D-shaped towers flanking broad pointed single-chamfered arch with roll moulding. 2 levels with plain corbel table and embattled parapet. Restored pointed windows with C19 cast -iron casements to upper level and cross-shaped arrow-loops to lower level ; stepped plinth. Arch has double nailstudded plank doors with restored panelling to inner face; small armorial shield above looks C19. Projecting corbelled fireplaces to left and right in angle with curtain wall, which has cross-shaped arrow-loops plus 2 semicircular bastions to right side. Gatehouse approached by short roughly coursed limestone rubble late medieval bridge with segmental pointed arch. Left return wall of left tower has 2-light trefoil-headed window with square label on upper level. Inner wall has segmental-headed chamfered doorway in angle with gateway. Right curtain wall has late C17 cottage, now offices, behind. Timber framed with narrow red brick infill, rendered to front and left gable end; slate roof. One storey and attic; apparently of 2 framed bays. Framing: square panels, 3 from chamfered plinth to wall-plate, much altered to front; collar and tie beam truss exposed to left gable end. 2 late C20 casements to ground floor and 3 contemporary raking eaves dormers. Entrance to right through late C20 panelled door under contemporary lean-to porch. Stepped external end stack to left has top rebuilt in late C19 yellow brick; similar red brick stack to back wall also with top rebuilt in C19 yellow brick.

Extensive ruins of rectangular raised platform to south of moat to south of outer gatehouse. Facing largely robbed but rubble core survives. Semi-circular bastion at north-west angle has narrow C13 four- centred arch on first level to east side, probably originally approached by external steps; remains of mutilated window opening above and narrow arrow-loop to west. Remains of another small bastion behind, formerly forming part of gatehouse, and of larger bastions to north-east, south-east and south-west corners. Foundations of several buildings on platform uncovered by excavation, including those of central rectangular tower (possibly the keep) with a forebuilding to east and a circular tower. Several fireplaces and a well.
Extensive earthworks in fields to south and west and probably also formerly to east, but now truncated in latter direction by road, include an oval-shaped flat-topped mound to west, which may be the original motte. Water played an important part in the castle's defences and the surrounding moats are best preserved to the north, south and east of the outer gatehouse. Much destruction occurred in the mid-to late C18, the eastern tower collapsing in 1760 with one of the northern towers and part of the west wall being demolished shortly afterwards to provide material for repairs to the Whittington-Halston road. Scheduled Ancient Monument (County No.17).
Interior. Only partial inspection of outer gatehouse possible at time of resurvey (June 1986) and apparently much altered but likely to retain some features of interest.
B.o.E. p. 317; V.C.H. Vol I (1908), p.401; William Cathrall, The History of Oswestry (1855), p.281. James Forde-Johnston, Great Medieval Castles of Britain (1979), pp.68-9 <24>

In 1970 the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works tried to arrange for a watching brief on the realignment of the A5 through the earthworks at Whittington Rectory. <26>

The Parish Council is tenant of the castle <27>

A list of owners/residents of the castle, provided by Dr. Ruby. <42>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, High score as one of 46 Motte and Bailey castles <48>
Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, High score as one of 15 Tower Keep Castles <49>

The Scheduling was revised in 2000. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument is situated within the village of Whittington and includes the standing, earthwork and buried remains of Whittington Castle, a motte and bailey and an enclosure castle, and the earthwork remains of its associated water control features. The standing remains of the castle are a Listed Building Grade I. ->

-> The original castle at Whittington was a motte and bailey which was replaced by a fortified keep in the early 13th century. The castle defences were strengthened by a series of banks and ditches to the west and south, a moat to the east and an area of marshland to the north. The southern defences originally continued eastwards but this area has been affected by modern development and is not therefore included in the scheduling. ->

-> Documentary sources indicate that the castle was fortified against Stephen in 1138 and that Henry II granted aid to Roger de Powys for the castle's repair in 1173. Fulke Fitz Warine was confirmed in possession of Whittington Castle by King John in 1204 and granted a license to crenellate in 1221. Two years later it was unsuccessfully besieged by Llewellyn the Great, suggesting that the castle was fully defensible by this time. The castle was decayed, but nearly entire, when surveyed in 1545; it was later granted to the Earl of Arundel, but subsequently fell into ruin and was robbed for its materials. In the late 18th century the castle site was laid out as a garden with pebble-laid pathways and brick structures and the outer gatehouse was repaired. The buried features of this garden provide interesting evidence for the 18th century reuse of the site and are included in the scheduling. ->

-> The oval flat-topped mound in the central part of the site is believed to represent the remains of the original motte castle, with a triangular-shaped bailey immediately to the north and west. The buildings of the late 11th or early 12th century castle are thought to have been timber structures which were subsequently replaced by stone built ones. The inner court is located to the east of the motte and consists of a rectangular raised platform, enclosed by a curtain wall with the remains of semi-circular towers at each corner and an additional tower at the north west angle, which formed part of the inner gatehouse. The foundations of several buildings have been located during excavations within the inner court, including those of a central rectangular keep and a hall building to the east. ->

-> To the north west of the inner court is a small outer court which occupies the south eastern corner of the original bailey. A small mound at the southern end of the latter is thought to have supported the northern end of the bridge which originally provided access into inner court. The outer court was partly defended by a curtain wall, a short length of which survives along the north east side of the court together with the ruins of two semi-circular towers, and by a moat to the east and south east, which remains waterfilled. It would have originally been occupied by additional buildings, including stables and ancillary buildings, the buried remains of which will survive beneath the ground surface. ->

-> At the eastern end of the outer court is the outer gatehouse, built of regularly coursed and dressed grey limestone, which has been restored several times since the 1800s. It consists of two D-shaped towers that flank the arched entranceway and is approached by a coursed limestone rubble bridge. A timber-framed cottage, thought to date from the 16th century but with later alterations, has been built behind the north tower. ->

-> The 19th century extension to the south gatehouse tower, as well as the gatehouse and cottage, which are both Listed Buildings Grade I, the modern toilet block, the modern staircase to the inner court, all fence posts, floodlights, concrete and tarmac surfaces, modern walling, electricity poles and support cables and the footbridge across the stream are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included <50>

Between 1999 and 2001 a feasibility study was carried out by Whittington Castle Preservation Trust, and this includes a historical and archaeological summary, together with a diagrammatic plan and gazetteer of earthwork and building features identified within the castle area <51><57>

Watching brief carried out at The White Lion Public House, Whittington. The pub sits on the line of the former defences of Whittington Castle. The top of the fills of one of the defensive ditches around the outer bailey of the castle may have been exposed at the base of the pits dug for foundations around the south west of the pub building. No other significant archaeological deposits or features were disturbed or damaged during the excavation of the pits, which other wise encountered made ground and yards of 18th century and later date. <52>

In December 2005, excavations were undertaken within the south tower of the outer gatehouse at Whittington Castle in conjunction with the installation of under floor heating. The excavated sequence appears to be sharply divisible into three phases. The latest refers to the most recent fully-fitted building with a suspended wooden floor. The surfaces encountered below the suspended floor with hearths and stake holes appear to belong to a period of activity during the 19th century reconstruction of the building, probably after c. 1809. The third phase of deposits relates to the medieval castle, though the results suggest that the top 0.3m of medieval deposits were removed, probably in the early 19th century. <54>

Watching brief carried out at Whittington Castle, Shropshire in 2005 in conjunction with a programme of restoration and development of the castle. The brief comprised 5 test pits, 6 small and 1 large borehole samples and 1 evaluation trench. None of the test pits or evaluation trench encountered significant archaeological deposits. <55>

Purcell Miller Tritton's report suggests that medieval castle may have reused an Iron Age enclosure. <56>

Castle guidebook, produced by Whittington Castle preservation trust and English Heritage. <58>

Material excavated of the west side of the South Gatehouse Tower consisted of a very dry compacted mid yellowish brown silty clay with frequent inclusions of charcoal flecks. Few finds were recovered with only very occasional fragments of 18th to 19th century brick, small bone fragments, one clay pipe stem, some small white glaze ware and one fragment of 14th to 15th century green-glaze ware. ->

-> Clearance of overburden in the east room of the North Gatehouse Tower revealed a floor made up of 13th century brick and floor tiles and limestone flags which may have been recovered from areas of the castle. Beneath this crudely laid floor, a very dark greyish black demolition deposit with fragments of brick and mortar consistent in date with the floor above was located. Pottery finds were 19th century in date. The demolition layer extended to a depth of 0.4m, sealing a natural mid yellowish brown material which was very compact and stony and seemed undisturbed. The top of a well 1 .20m in diameter was also located, constructed in a single course of red brick, crudely laid and unbonded, laid directly against the natural yellowish brown material in the well cut. The well was filled by the demolition deposit to a depth of c. 0.8m below ground surface. At this point the fill changed and became a mid yellowish brown clay which was quite soft and slightly dry. The brickwork continued beneath this clay deposit. <59>

A series of watching briefs were undertaken in 2006-2007 at Whittington Castle, monitoring work undertaken as part of the restoration of the castle by Whittington Castle Preservation Trust. The works were largely of a small scale nature but were undertaken at discrete locations in the immediate vicinity of the castle - refer to ESA 6583 and ESA 6703 to ESA 6715 for further details on the nature of the works undertaken. ->

-> The programme of restoration work had been planned to allow minimal disturbance to archaeological deposits on the site. The limited archaeological recording has confirmed the continued activity on the site from c.1700 to the present day, but no firm evidence of occupation levels relating to the medieval period has been revealed. ->

-> Observations made during the watching briefs indicate that mid yellowish-brown silty clay with angular stone and pebble content is the site subsoil. This appears to have formed the c.1700 subsoil, prior to the construction of the timber framed cottage on site and subsequent 19th century disturbance. The ceramic material and tile recovered from the deposits at the west end of the south tower add to the theory that this side of the tower was built up c.1809 by the owner William Lloyd. A well located in the North tower may be medieval in date (PRN 31405), relined in brick for use when the timber-framed cottage was added to the site. West of the timber framed cottage, much of the earlier ground disturbance can be attributed to the agricultural use of the site in the 19th century. ->

-> It must be concluded from this programme of work that any evidence of medieval or earlier occupation of the site must be looked for beyond the area of the gatehouse towers and any areas already disturbed by 19th and 20th century interventions. <60>

An heritage impact assessment was undertaken in 2013 of a site at Penrhos Arms, immediately to the south of the defences of Whittington Castle. Documentary evidence was reviewed which postulated that a fourth defensive circuit of ditch and bank might have run to the south of the mapped castle defences (see PRN 30825). Further to the heritage impact assessment, a programme of archaeological evaluation was undertaken, involving the excavation of 3 trenches across the postulated line of this feature. No evidence was recorded of an additional circuitous bank or ditch as documentary evidence had suggested. A layer of random stones was recorded at the extreme north end of two trenches, perhaps representing the remains of the covering of the existing outer bank of the castle earthworks, where they slope into the development site. Given the negative results of the evaluation, the author visited the village green, to assess earthworks previously recorded in this area (PRN 28854). They suggest an interrelationship between the two but remark that this feature should be considered as a separate entity from the castle defences. <61><62>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2007. <63><64>

A programme of dendrochronological survey was carried out at the castle in 2004. Samples from the south (rear) range to south tower produced felling dates of Spring 1477; Summer 1478. The main gates produced felling dates of Winter 1579/80; Winter 1485/6. The North bastion – inserted floor gave a felling date range of 1477-1507; the cottage to the rear of the north tower gave a felling date of Winter 1628/9. ->

-> Two timber lintels over the cruciform arrow loops of the thirteenth-century north tower in the outer gatehouse were sampled but failed to date. The rest of the upper floors and the front roof were probably replaced in the early nineteenth century. To the rear of the south tower is an extension which served as the manor courthouse for many centuries. Above this a two-light window is thought to be Tudor in date and may well relate to the insertion of the floor tree-ring dated to 1478. In the north tower, the dated beam may relate to the same rebuilding phase as the south range. ->

-> The gates were clearly of two phases, the southern leaf being constructed of very fast-grown timber, but the north leaf of very slow-grown boards and framing. It is double-boarded, with a L-shaped hanging stile that includes the start of both layers of boards. To the rear of the north tower is a one-and-a-half storey timber-framed cottage (d) built onto the back of the tower. <65><65a>

An article summarising the history of the site was produced in 2004. This concentrates on the documentary history of the castle and its occupants, the Fitz Warin family. <66>

Noted in desk-based assessment of land to the SE. The history of Whittington is closely linked to the foundation of the castle. King John granted a market charter to the village, shortly after the granting of the castle to Fulk TitzWarin III by 1204. It has been stated that there is no evidence that the Castle played any part in the Civil War (<66>, p.120), although other sources say it was a Royalist stronghold. The castle was taken in 1643 by Cromwell. Musket balls have been found in the grounds of the castle and popular belief claims that armour was found in the moat. <67>

An analysis was undertaken of the standing structures still visible within the boundaries of Whittington Castle, excluding the earthworks. This includes detailed discussion of structures in the inner bailey as well as the better preserved outer gatehouse, or barbican. <68>

A further, anonymous, draft report on the development of the standing buildings and archaeology at the castle, with no date. Contains a little further background information. <69>

Short pamphlet on the myths and legends of the Castle. <70>

Further note on 1970 excavations at the castle (see also <15>) by Richard Hartley for English Heritage/Ministry of Works. A brief note was identified on a file held by English Heritage, reproduced below: ->

-> The aim of the excavation was to establish the phases of occupation as a determinant in the uncovering of the burden over the whole area of the bailey. The latest occupation level was discovered at a depth of 18” below the existing surface and dated by associated sherds and two French-derived jetons [thought] to be late 15th- early16 Century. This phase of occupation has, thus far, revealed the sizeable footings in red sandstone (presumably from Nesscliffe) of a medieval hall [a note in the margin amends this to ‘the undercroft of a medieval hall’]. Features include doorway and buttress with a reasonable plinth running at intervals. Along with the footings of other associated buildings two culverts, one in particularly fine condition, have been turned up. Towards the W Curtain Wall, there is a system of timber post holes underlying a late medieval mortar floor: the exact system here remains to be fully worked out. In the centre of the bailey, the footings of an earlier 12th-13 century rectangular buildings were turned up. Both internal and external walls are dressed stone there is vestigal evidence of a plinth, plenty of associated pottery, and it stands on top of a motte which was traced down for 5.5 metres to the inside Curtain Wall. It seems likely that we have here a motte with early keep corresponding in date to the Curtain Wall. The stratigraphy of this area is particularly interesting and does in fact reveal a more or less consistent layer of charcoal, indicating a burning of the castle in the wars with Glendower. Finds, apart from the jetons and a mass of pottery which will add considerably to the catalogue of Shropshire associated pottery, include nails, spurs, lead piping, knives and a deal of animal bones. The excavation has been photographed and drawn throughout and will be published. The task now is to clear the rest of the overburden down to the latest building. <71>

<15> and <71> remain the only limited accounts of the 1970 excavations in the NW corner of the bailey that have been identified, despite extensive searching [information from Pete Brown]. <72>

Photographed from the air by Cambridge University c.1975/6 showing the site in drought conditions, following consolidation of the inner bailey after 1970. Presumably commissioned by English Heritage. Digital copies submitted to the HER by Pete Brown. <73>

A series of photographs, presumably taken for or by the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments of the inner bailey in 1967, together with a photograph of the outer gatehouse, They were taken prior to excavation and consolidation work. Digital copies scanned from file copies in London were submitted to the HER by Pete Brown. <74>

Geoarchaeological study, combining window coring and magnetometry and resistance survey was undertaken in the area to the west of the motte and to the north of the castle in 2002. The remains of platforms and ditches at Whittington Castle were investigated using geophysics and window cores. Features interpreted as ditches to the north of the site proved to be four or more metres deep and contained deposits suggesting gradual filling followed by drier, more rapid deposition. The ditches closer to the castle were less deep and had been cut, or at least cleaned out, to leave only a very shallow fill over natural deposits. The geophysical surveys did not show the northerly ditches and confirmed only the line of the outer banks. The structure of anthropogenic deposits within the areas closer to the castle were more effectively clarified by the geophysical results and there is evidence that the Castle Field, and perhaps the external platform, contain the buried remains of former garden structures. <75>

An interpretation plan was prepared for the Whittington Castle Preservation Trust in August 2005. Includes a brief background history and proposals for the installation of interpretive features at the site. <76>

A draft report was sent in 2015 to the HER from Peter Brown which provides a summary account of work carried out at Whittington Castle. This provides an historical account of the development of the site, based on a reanalysis of the documentary evidence [largely similar to <66>]. It also discusses the results of the unpublished excavations from 1970 [ESA 796] and 1976 [ESA 8024]. ->

-> Whittington Castle possibly occupies part of a later prehistoric ditched enclosure. The castle developed in the twelfth century as a Marcher fortress and was strengthened in the early-thirteenth century by the Fitz Warin family. Following its destruction by the Welsh in 1223, the castle was rebuilt with extensive water defences and a unique raised inner bailey, which encapsulated the earlier motte. In the early-fourteenth century the castle was converted into a grand home, with improved apartments and a designed landscape with a formal pleasure garden and a large viewing mount. Over the following centuries the castle slowly declined, but the remains are now being developed as an educational centre. ->

-> Excavations undertaken in 1970 directed by Richard Hartley remain largely unpublished [see above] . Unfortunately no further records of the excavation are currently available and the finds cannot be traced at any English Heritage storage facility. ->

-> In the summer of 1976 a small area was excavated within the outer bailey of the castle, funded by the (then) Department of Environment, through grant aid to Oswestry Borough Council who then managed the site. The purpose of the excavation was to remove three dead elm stumps, and to examine the surrounding area to sterility, prior to replanting. This area lay along the west bank of the ditch that divides the outer bailey from north to south through its centre; approximately half of the bank was examined, extending almost down to the southern limit. This area was constrained by the needs of tree planting operations, limiting it to a thin strip along the crest of the bank as well as the western slope of the ditch. In addition to a limited area and extensive root damage, the work took place during the 1976 drought, creating extremely difficult excavation conditions at a site on boulder clay. ->

-> The evidence from the 1976 excavations confirmed that the outer bailey was occupied from at least the tenth century. The wide ditch across the bailey was cut at some time after 1300, evidently to carry water. Over a long period of time, a thick deposit of silt accumulated at the bottom of the ditch, producing fourteenth- and fifteenth-century pottery. The ditch stood disused and the sides then degraded, with bankwash evident in the section. Additional soil deposits collected, before the ditch was filled up with heavy building rubble during the nineteenth century. A narrow ditch was cut through the centre of the ditch in the twentieth century, apparently to reinstate the water flow, but this was later filled in with heavy rubble. <77>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2017. <78>

Wallpainting in first-floor chamber dating pre-1500. Known only from records. In room over gatehouse there was a figure of a knight on horseback, probably Sir Fulke Warine with inscription (quoted) recorded in 1932 as being visible 40 years previously.<79>

Assorted references derived from NRHE record (<80>).
A fishpond survives within one section of the bailey. The keep fell into decay at an early date as a mulberry tree was growing on the site in 1820. The eastern tower fell into the moat about 1760, and the curtain wall and three of the remaining towers were gradually removed for repair work after that date. "Very little remains except the two towers of the gatehouse and some portions of ancient buildings converted into a dwelling". Inside the ruin is the courtyard, part of which is now a garden. <80a><80b>
A fishpond survives within one section of the bailey. The keep fell into decay at an early date as a mulberry tree was growing on the site in 1820. The eastern tower fell into the moat about 1760, and the curtain wall and three of the remaining towers were gradually removed for repair work after that date. "Very little remains except the two towers of the gatehouse and some portions of ancient buildings converted into a dwelling". Inside the ruin is the courtyard, part of which is now a garden.
Whittington Castle lies within a bend of a tributary of the River Perry, in low-lying ground at 290 feet above O.D. The early motte stands to a height of 4.7m. and measures at the base, 38.0m. north-south, by 34.0m. transversely. The summit measures 21.0m. by 11.0m. A ditch on the west side, which is cut into slightly rising ground, is 12.0m. wide and averages 1.5m. in depth. A causeway crosses it to the motte. The bailey was to the west. Apart from a ditch bounding the east side, which is 9.0m. in width, 1.3m. in depth and 60.0m. in length, and a line of scarps 50.0m. long on the north side, overlooking former marshland, the original extent cannot now be ascertained, due to the cutting of later earthwork defences. 50.0m. to the east of the motte stands the stone-built castle. The curtain walls, 2.5m. thick, stands to a height of 5.5m., and enclose a pentogonal-shaped bailey measuring 40.0m. east-west, by 30.0m. transversely.
Round towers, 11.0m. in diameter, stood at the corners, two flanking the entrance through the short north-west side. Internally, the curtain wall stands 1.3m. above the surface of the bailey, which is some 4.0m. above outside ground level. The tower flanking the east side of the entrance rises to its full original height some 5.0m. above the bailey, but the north-east tower is reduced to curtain wall level. The other towers have been reduced to outside ground level. At the centre of the bailey are the foundations of the keep. The stone-built walls are 2.7m. thick, and measure externally 15.5m. north-south, by 11.0m. transversely. They have been restored to a height of 0.5m. On the east side of the bailey are wall foundations of a large building or hall, measuring 16.0m. by 8.0m., with a line of buttress foundations along the outside of the long, western side wall.
Within the south-west angle of the bailey is the foundation walling of a circular building, 3.7m. in diameter, and in the north-west corner is a stone-lined well, 0.9m. in internal diameter, which is filled with rubbish to within 1.0m. of the bailey surface. Opposite the entrance, at 20.0m. distance, is an earthen mound measuring 26.0m. east-west, by 16.0m. transversely and standing 3.6m. in height. This mound probably supported wooden bridges, south to the castle, and east to the gatehouse.
The gatehouse comprises two half-round towers fronting stone buildings, which flank a covered, arched entrance. A curtain wall standing 4.0m. high, runs north for 10.0m to a corner tower, and then west for 15.0m. to terminate at a second tower, thus giving cover to the castle entrance. The latter tower is reduced to 1.5m. height.
From the gatehouse, a stone-built causeway, 1.5m. wide, extends 18.0m.eastwards, over the remains of a moat. The moat, now an ornamental pond which extends from the southern end of the east side of the castle to a point 80.0m. north of the gatehouse, formerly encircled the castle, the earthen mound on the north, and probably the earlier motte on the west, and linked up with the marsh to the north, and the stream flowing away to the south-east. The exposed west and south sides were defended, on the


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01003.
[01]SSA3618 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1977. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ33SW7. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ33SW7.
[02]SSA16921 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1980. CPAT 80/51/0005.
[03]SSA16922 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1980-Jul-23. CPAT 80/C/0189 to 0190 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[04]SSA16923 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1979-Aug-03. CPAT 79/CT/0028.
[05]SSA16924 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1984-Apr-28. CPAT 84/17/008 and 0011 (2 photos).
[06]SSA16925 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1979-May-14. CPAT 79/CF/0003 to 0005 (3 photos).
[07]SSA16926 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1980-Jul-23. CPAT 80/09/0015.
[08]SSA16927 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Aug-03. CPAT 83/14/0024A to 0026A and 0029A to 0030A (5 photos).
[09]SSA16928 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Aug-03. CPAT 83/C/0334. Colour. 35mm.
[10]SSA16929 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Mar-06. CPAT 83/S/0014 to 0015 (2 photos).
[11]SSA534 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1888. The Monasteries of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol XI (=Vol 11). p29-42.
[12]SSA2117 - Volume: Anon. 1882. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol V (=Vol 5). p241-250.
[13]SSA3610 - Monograph: Sykes H. 1902. The Story of Whittington Castle. p12-13.
[14]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p401.
[15]SSA3609 - Article in serial: Hartley R A. 1971. Article in Medieval Archaeology. Medieval Archaeol. Vol 15. p148. p.148.
[16]SSA244 - Monograph: Renn D F. 1968. Norman Castles of Britain. p345.
[17]SSA110 - Monograph: Pevsner Nikolaus. 1958. Buildings of England (Shropshire). Buildings of England. p317.
[18b]SSA11070 - Map: Ordnance Survey. 1900. OS County Series 19.03, 1900. OS County Series. 19.03. 1:2500.
[18a]SSA3617 - Map: Ordnance Survey. 1874. OS County Series 12.11, 1874. OS County Series. 12.11. 1:2500.
[19]SSA3627 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1977-Jan-28. Visit Notes, 28/01/1977.
[20]SSA242 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1887. The Castles of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol X (=Vol 10). p17-18.
[21]SSA3625 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1983. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 14576.
[22]SSA3626 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1976-Feb-25. Visit Notes, 25/02/1976.
[23]SSA3620 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1977-Jan. Whittington Castle. Black and white. 35mm.
[24]SSA3192 - List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1987-Sep-02. 19th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 1582-0. List volume. p79.
[25]SSA3621 - Scheduled Monument notification: Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. 1964. Map of Scheduled area, 1964.
[26]SSA3615 - Correspondence: Various. 1970. Correspondence, 1970.
[27]SSA3616 - Correspondence: Various. 1991. Correspondence, 1991.
[28]SSA3624 - Photograph: Watson Michael D. 1985. Whittington Castle. Colour.
[29]SSA3623 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1976. Whittington Castle. Colour.
[30]SSA3622 - Photograph: Anon. Whittington Castle. Colour.
[31]SSA19682 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/MB/0350 to 0353 (4 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[32]SSA19683 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/C/0529 to 0531 (3 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[33]SSA16937 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/C/0579 to 0584 (6 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[34]SSA19684 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/MC02/0006 to 0008 and 0010 (4 photos). Colour. Medium.
[35]SSA3619 - Photograph: Anon. Photos. Colour.
[36]SSA12846 - Photograph: Tyler Alan W. 1981-Mar/Apr. Whittington Castle. Black and white. 35mm.
[37]SSA3614 - Correspondence: Leigh Judith. 1993. Correspondence, 1993.
[38]SSA3611 - Correspondence: Clarke C. 1993. Correspondence, 25/10/1993.
[39]SSA3613 - Correspondence: Clarke C. 1994. Correspondence, 18/08/1994.
[40]SSA19687 - Oblique aerial photograph: Barret Gill. 1993. Barret Gill, Oblique View, 1993: 93/N/33-34 (Colour slide). Colour.
[41]SSA3612 - Correspondence: Clarke C. 1994. Correspondence, 16/08/1994.
[42]SSA10822 - Manuscript: Juby B. 1996. A List of Owners/Residents from Saxon Times to the Present Day.
[43]SSA12847 - Photograph: Anon. 1983-Aug. Whittington Castle. Colour. 35mm.
[44]SSA19680 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1986-Jul-12. CPAT 86/MB/0677 to 0679 (3 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[45]SSA19681 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1987-Jun-26. CPAT 87/MB/0727 to 0728 (2 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[46]SSA19685 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1993. CPAT 93/C/0545 to 0546 (2 photos).
[47]SSA19686 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1993. CPAT 93/MB/0073 to 0078 (6 photos).
[48]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File. Motte and Bailey Castles.
[49]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File. Tower Keep Castles.
[50]SSA20105 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2000. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 09/11/2000]. 21680.
[51]SSA20810 - Deskbased survey report: Miller J. 2001. Whittington Castle Preservation Trust: Feasibility Study Report.
[52]SSA20904 - Watching brief report: Hannaford Hugh R. 1999. A watching brief at Whittington, Shropshire. SCCAS Rep. 162.
[53]SSA21710 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2002-Jul-21. CPAT 02/MB/2006. Black and White. Medium.
[54]SSA22430 - Excavation report: Baker Nigel J. 2006. An Excavation in the Outer gatehouse of Whittington Castle, Shropshire.
[55]SSA22374 - Watching brief report: Baker Nigel J. 2005. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Whittington Castle, Shropshire.
[56]SSA22236 - Management report: Purcell Miller Tritton. 2004. Conservation Plan for Whittington Castle: Issue One.
[57]SSA23413 - Deskbased survey report: Miller J. 1999. Whittington Castle: a scoping study for new uses, conservation and enhancement.
[58]SSA23491 - Guidebook: Whittington Castle Preservation Trust. 2003. Whittington Castle guidebook.
[59]SSA23852 - Watching brief report: Frost Pat. 2006. Whittington Castle, Shropshire: watching brief 26th, 27th and 30th Jan 2006. Castlering Archaeol Rep.
[60]SSA24051 - Watching brief report: Frost Pat. 2007. Whittington Castle, Whittington, Shropshire SJ 326 312: archaeological watching brief during restoration works. Castlering Archaeol Rep. 266.
[61]SSA24561 - Field survey report: Frost Pat. 2013. Penrhos Arms, Whittington, Shropshire: heritage impact assessment. Castlering Archaeol Rep. 422.
[62]SSA26723 - Excavation report: Frost Pat. 2014. Penrhos Arms, Whittington, Shropshire: archaeological evaluation. Castlering Archaeol Rep. 441.
[63]SSA26908 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2007-Sep-4. SA0707_249 (1 photo) Flight: 07_SA_07. Colour. Digital.
[64]SSA24820 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2007-Sep-4. SA0707_114 to SA0707_119 (6 photos) Flight: 07_SA_07. Colour. Digital.
[65]SSA27695 - Online database: Worthington M. 2011. Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory List of Dated Buildings (Shropshire).
[65a]SSA29391 - Online database: Miles D W H and Bridge M. 2017. Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory (Shropshire). pp.75, 76.
[66]SSA28053 - Article in serial: Brown, P, King, P and Remfry, P.. 2004. Whittington Castle: the marcher fortress of the Fitz Warin family. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. 79. 106-127.
[67]SSA28050 - Deskbased survey report: Frost Pat. 2014. Land southeast of Whittington Primary School, Station Road, Whittington, Shropshire: heritage assessment. Castlering Archaeol Rep. 472.
[68]SSA28109 - Field survey report: Morriss Richard K. c.2003. Whittington Castle, Whittington, Shropshire [buildings survey]. Mercian Heritage Series.
[69]SSA28110 - Field survey report: Anon. c.2003. Assessment of the development of the standing buildings and archaeology at Whittington Castle.
[70]SSA28111 - Leaflet: Gibson A. c.1939. Whittington castle: its history, legends and romance; "a tale of other days.".
[71]SSA28207 - Annotation: Hartley R?. 1970. 'Report on the excavation carried out in the inner ward of Whittington Castle, 1970'.
[72]SSA28208 - Correspondence: Brown P. 2015. Correspondance regarding 1970 excavation at Whittington Castle (ESA 967). Carey G.
[73]SSA28209 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). 1975?. Oblique aerial photographs of Whittington Castle. CUCAP BTV63; BTV65 to BTV66 (3 Photos). Black and white. Digital.
[74]SSA28210 - Photograph: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1967. Photographs of the inner bailey, Whittington Castle, prior to excavation and consolidation work. Black and white. JPEG.
[75]SSA22237 - Geophysical survey report: Terra Nova. 2002. A geoarchaeological study of Whittington Castle. Terra Nova Rep.
[76]SSA28684 - Non-archaeological specialist report: Randall A, Parr C and Brennan D. 2005. Whittington Castle: interpretation plan.
[77]SSA29119 - Archaeological fieldwork report: Brown P. 2015. Whittington Castle, Shropshire [draft phase 5 report]. Peter Brown Associates Rep.
[78]SSA29575 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2017-Jul-20. SA1702-157 to SA1702-169 (13 photos) Flight: 17_SA_02. Colour. Digital.
[79]SSA29284 - Monograph: Davies Kathryn. 2008. Artisan art: vernacular wall paintings in the Welsh Marches, 1550-1650. pp. 176, 177 Gazetteer no 148.
[80c]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 BHP 23-JAN-67; F2 ASP 05-OCT-79.
[80]SSA31555 - COLLECTION: Historic England. 2020 onwards. NRHE: National Record of the Historic Environment. HOB UID 66896.
[80b]SSA31573 - Article in serial: Cambrian Archaeological Association. 1923. 77th Annual Meeting at Oswestry (several notes on Earthworks, etc., visited). Archaeologia Cambrensis. 78 (7th series vol.3). 342-462. pp.409-412; photos.
[80a]SSA675 - Monograph: Stackhouse-Acton F (Mrs). 1865-1869. Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire. p.18.
Date Last Edited:Jun 23 2023 10:55AM