HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
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):13651
Name:Remains of Lea Castle adjoining Lower Lea Farmhouse to N, Lea
Type of Record:Building
Protected Status:Listed Building (II) 1054509: REMAINS OF LEA CASTLE ADJOINING LOWER LEA FARMHOUSE TO NORTH
Scheduled Monument 1021064: Tower keep castle

Monument Type(s):

  • TOWER KEEP (about, 14th century - 1300 AD to 1399 AD)

Summary

Scheduled Monument and Grade II Listed Building, circa 14th century: Despite being a ruin, the castle at Lower Lea is still a good example of a medieval tower keep (a strongly fortified residence). It was garrisoned for the Crown in the Civil War, and destroyed on the orders of Parliament in 1645.

Parish:Lydham, South Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SO38NE
Grid Reference:SO 3510 8918

Related records: None recorded

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA6353 - 2009 Building recording at Lower Lea Farm, Lydham, Shropshire by CPAT
  • ESA8625 - 2014 Heritage at Risk Survey by Historic England
  • ESA8621 - 2015 Heritage at Risk Survey by Historic England
  • ESA8361 - 2016 Heritage at Risk Survey by Historic England
  • ESA8362 - 2017 Heritage at Risk Survey by Historic England
  • ESA9067 - 2019 Heritage at Risk Survey by Historic England

Description

Castle, remains of. Circa C14. Coursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. Probably part of rectangular tower approximately 5 x 14 metres with walls remaining to south, east and west. Blocked pointed archway to north; probable remains of corbelled stack to south. This was formerly a castle of the Bishops of Hereford. (qv) Lower Lea Farmhouse [PRN 17824] and Cartshed and granary adjoining remains of Lea Castle to north.[PRN 17825] A. M. No. 302; N. Pevsner, Buildings of England Shropshire, 1979, P. 164 <2>

Scheduling revised in 2003. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the standing structural and buried remains of a tower keep castle at Lower Lea, which forms part of the hamlet of Lea. The tower keep is believed to have been built in the late 13th or early 14th century for the Corbet family. The earliest known occupant, Robert Corbet, is mentioned in a document of about 1328-29. The Corbets were still in possession of the castle in 1645 when Parliament ordered a Royalist garrison to be removed and the castle destroyed. A farmhouse, [PRN 17824] of probable 17th or 18th century date, was built immediately next to the tower keep to the south. The farmhouse was enlarged in the mid-19th century and contains a wooden panel inscribed with a date of 1560, which has been reset into the modern extension. A 19th century cart shed and granary [PRN 17825] abut the remains of the tower keep to the north. The tower keep, farmhouse, cart shed and granary are all Listed Buildings Grade II. ->

-> The tower keep occupies a slightly elevated position in an area of undulating land and is overlooked by higher ground to the south east. The tower keep is rectangular in plan, with three of its walls extant and standing to a maximum height of 9m. The extant remains measure approximately 10m east-west by 13m north-south, with walls about 2.5m thick. The tithe map of 1844 shows the outline of the tower keep prior to the demolition of the northern part of the building and the construction of the granary and cartshed. It would appear from this map that the tower keep was originally about 16m long (north-south). The foundations of the northern part of the building, together with the contemporary remains of internal floor and external yard surfaces, will survive as buried features. The tower keep is a three-storeyed structure with a basement, a first floor hall, and private chambers above. It is constructed of coursed limestone rubble with dressed sandstone around the door and window openings. In the southern wall of the basement is a splayed opening, blocked with stone and incorporating a modern wooden lintel. Along the western wall the division between the basement and the first floor is marked by a scarcement (a ledge created by the additional thickness of the lower part of the wall to support floor joists) .At first floor level in the south western corner of the building are the remains of two blocked doorways. Access to the first floor from outside was through the doorway in the southern wall, visible as a pointed (four-centred) arch with a portcullis groove and drawbar holes. Next to this doorway in the southern wall is a splayed window opening, adjacent to an external stone balcony with a dressed sandstone plinth and supported by four dressed sandstone corbels. Access from the first and second floors would have been by means of an internal circular stairway, remains of which were noted in 1858 prior to the demolition of the northern part of the building. In 1844 excavations, undertaken in the course of building work close to the tower keep, found the remains of an arch about five feet (1.5m) wide and five feet high. ->

-> A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the farmhouse [PRN 17824] , cartshed, granary [PRN 17825] and all agricultural buildings, a shed, an oil storage tank and the concrete and brick base on which it stands, yard surfaces, modern walls, fence and gate posts; however, the ground beneath all these features is included. <3>

A programme of desk-based assessment and rapid historic building survey and assessment was undertaken in 2009 of buildings at Lower Lea Farm, Lydham, which included the remains of Lea Castle. The nature of the castle is far from clear. That the surviving tower formed the focus is reasonably clear, but if there were any ancillary structures they have not survived. Historians in the 19th century referred to a moat and the Tithe map of 1844, together with the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25" map of 1883 depict an L-shaped pond to the NW of the tower which could well be the residual traces of the moat earthwork. However, there is also a shallow linear depression around 5m in width to the south of the tower keep, and there is also a linear scarp running east to west to the south of the farmhouse. Other earthworks include a levelled and partly raised rectangular platform measuring around 45m by 30m on the western side of the farm, which could belong to a garden associated with the castle and later house. ->

-> The tower keep occupies a slightly elevated position. The plan is rectangular with three if the walls surviving and standing to a maximum height of 9m, the extant remains measuring approximately 9.5m east to west by 13m north to south, with walls about 2m thick. The northern end of the east wall has been incorporated into a mid 19th-century cartshed which is itself in a somewhat precarious state with significant recent collapse. The tower keep was originally a three-storeyed structure with a basement, a first floor hall, and private chambers above. It is constructed of coursed limestone rubble with dressed sandstone around the door and window openings. In the southern wall of the basement there is a splayed opening incorporating a modern wooden lintel, which is likely to be the upper part of a fireplace. Along the western wall the division between the basement and the first floor is marked by a scarcement (a ledge created by the additional thickness of the lower part of the wall to support floor joists).->

-> At first floor level in the south-western corner of the building are the remains of two blocked doorways. Access to the first floor from outside was through the doorway in the southern wall, visible in the attic of a first-floor bathroom in the adjoining farmhouse as a pointed (fourcentred) arch with a portcullis groove and drawbar holes. The arch is now supported by modern lintels and there are signs of recent collapse. Next to this doorway in the southern wall is a splayed window opening, adjacent to what may be a projecting chimney founded on a dressed sandstone plinth and supported by four dressed sandstone corbels. Access from the first and second floors would have been by means of an internal circular stairway, the remains of which were noted in 1858 prior to the demolition of the northern part of the building. ->

-> In 1844 excavations, undertaken in the course of building work close to the tower keep, found the remains of an arch about five feet (1.5m) wide and five feet high. The foundations of the northern part of the building, together with the contemporary remains of internal floor and external yard surfaces, are likely to survive as buried features. ->

-> The interior of the tower keep is now buried with a substantial quantity of rubble and the walls are largely obscured by vegetation. It is very likely that beneath the rubble the floor of the basement and architectural features on the lower walling still survive. <7>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2008. <8>

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 13651.
[01]SSA11037 - List of Buildings: Ministry of Housing and Local Government. 1967-Oct. Revised Provisional List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Clun Rural District). Provisional List. p34.
[02]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. p88.
[03]SSA21233 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2003. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 08/09/2003). 34934.
[04]SSA110 - Monograph: Pevsner Nikolaus. 1958. Buildings of England (Shropshire). Buildings of England. p164.
[05]SSA243 - Article in serial: Hogg A H A & King D J C. 1967. Masonry Castles in Wales and the Marches. Archaeologia Cambrensis. Vol 116. pp.71-132. P109/116.
[06]SSA23518 - Monograph: Newman J & Pevsner N. 2006. Buildings of England: Shropshire. Buildings of England. p.391.
[07]SSA23431 - Field survey report: Jones N J. 2009. Lower Lea Farm, Lydham, Shropshire: archaeological assessment. CPAT Rep. 1008. pp.6-8.
[08]SSA25413 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2008-Nov-25. SA0812_080 to SA0812_083 (4 photos) Flight: 08_SA-12. Colour. Digital.
[09]SSA22230 - Online database: National Monuments Record (NMR). Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=106995.
[09a]SSA29017 - Monograph: Cathcart King D J. 1982. Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands. p.426.
Date Last Edited:Oct 24 2019 4:27PM