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HER Number (PRN):01123
Name:Ruyton XI Towns Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Listed Building (II) 1307325: CASTLE, REMAINS OF
Scheduled Monument 1020851: Tower keep castle

Monument Type(s):

Summary

Scheduled Monument: An early 14th century medieval castle built on the site of an earlier medieval timber castle destroyed by the Welsh, and of importance less for its state of preservation than for its close association with the church and the 14th century 'new town' of Ruyton-XI-Towns.

Parish:Ruyton-XI-Towns, Oswestry, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ32SE
Grid Reference:SJ 3946 2215

Related records

00860Related to: Church of St. John the Baptist, Ruyton-XI-Towns (Monument)
03700Related to: Churchyard cross and sundial, St John the Baptist's Church (Monument)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA1415 - 1879-1880 Excavations of Ruyton Castle
  • ESA1416 - 1965 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1417 - 1971 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1418 - 1977 field observation by SCC SMR
  • ESA1419 - 1983 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA6018 - 2006 Evaluation at Land to the rear of Purton Villa, Ruyton-XI-Towns by Marches Archaeology
  • ESA6182 - 2007-08 WB at Ruyton XI Towns churchyard and castle, Shropshire, by Castlering Archaeology
  • ESA5983 - 2003 - 2004 Conservation Project for Ruyton XI Towns Castle

Description

Castle almost certainly built before 1148 in Stephen's reign. Destroyed by Welsh in 1212 and perhaps not rebuilt until Edmund, Earl of Arundel, bought it in 1302. Defensible in 1313 and in repair in 1357. Last mentioned 1364. Materials used for repair of the Church.(SA 860). Three walls of the square keep remain and bailey traceable in foundations of the churchyard wall. The foundations were excavated shortly before 1886 by the Vicar who uncovered the remains of walls 14ft to 16ft high <1a><1b><1c>
The fragmentary remains of the keep stand up to 4m high. The churchyard wall, which encircles the top of a low hill, probably indicates the extent of the bailey. OS FI 1971 <1>

Castle, remains of. Early C14 for Edmund, Earl of Arundel on site of castle destroyed c.1212. Sandstone rubble masonry with facing removed. Fragmentary remains of 3 walls of small square keep on slightly raised platform; footings of another wall projecting at right-angles to north from north-west corner. Walls stand to a maximum of 10m high a nd north and south sections have rectangular inward-sloping openings of indeterminate date. Scheduled Ancient Monument, County No. 71. B.o.E. p. 238; D.H.S. Cranage, The Churches of Shropshire, Part 9 (1908), pp.823, 8 24-5. <3>

The keep has masonry surviving on the N, W and S sides. The E side is still traceable, though covered by graves. The masonry is sandstone ashlar (mostly robbed) with core of pebbles. All much restored. The outer face of the N and W walls is chamfered where this has been exposed towards t he NW corner. The remainder of the lower portions of the wall are concealed by vegetation. North Wall: standing fragment has a downward splayed window blocked internally and partly concealed by a modern buttress. At the west end of the wall an abutting piece of masonry continues the line of the west wall N for c 2.25m, but this is clearly added to the chamfered base of the main part of the keep. West Wall: no surviving architectural features. The masonry has been cut back exposing the chamfering at the N end, but the rest is masked by rubble and earth. South Wall: Two downward sloping internal splay windows at different levels. The churchyard wall is located at the top of steep slopes on all sides except the east. Changes of direction on the north and south sides on a projected line from between the keep and the church may indicate the position of a dividing bailey wall, but it seems probable that the wall is on the line of the castle defence. Massive and eroded walling is visible below later (?C18-C19) masonry and on the N side of the keep. ? I Burrow FI 1977? <8>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Medium score as one of 15 Tower Keep castles. <16>

Built post 1086 - no record of its building. Probably by John le Strange, who may have also consolidated the manors of Ruyotn, Wykey and Felton into one c1155. Destroyed by the Welsh in 1202 , it is not mentioned in the fine of the manor levied in 1299 and may not yet have been rebuilt. However, it had been rebuilt by 1313. <17>

The castle was never of any great importance. <18>

Excavation of the castle occurred in 1879-1880, after it was sold to the church as an extension for the graveyard. <19>

CMHTS Comment: The original castle probably extended at least as far south as Gooseberry Lane. The present road cutting through the rock immediately to the south of the church is C18th in date. <20>

CMHTS Report. <21>

Scheduling revised in 2003. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the upstanding structural, earthwork and buried remains of a tower keep castle, located 7m to the west of the church of St John the Baptist, within the graveyard. The castle is a Listed Building Grade II. The church, which is a Listed Building Grade I, dates from the mid-12th century and originally served as the castle chapel. It was enlarged in the 14th and 15th centuries, and restored in the 19th century. The church is not included in the scheduling. The churchyard cross to the south of the church is the subject of a separate scheduling. ->

-> The tower keep castle occupies a commanding position near the western end of a steep-sided promontory south of the River Perry. From this location there are extensive views over the valley below and the surrounding undulating land. This promontory was used as the bailey of the castle. It overlooked the town of Ruyton to the west, which was established in 1308 by the Earl of Arundel, on the probable site of an earlier medieval settlement. The town lost its market in 1407 and thereafter ceased to function as an urban centre. ->

-> The initial castle at Ruyton was possibly a timber structure, and was built sometime between 1086 and 1148, probably by John le Strange. It was destroyed by Welsh forces in the early 13th century and may have still been derelict in 1302 when it came into the possession of the Earl of Arundel. A documentary source indicates that by 1313 the site had been refortified and the present castle constructed. The rebuilding work at this time probably included the stone wall around the perimeter of the bailey. Parts of this wall now define the churchyard. The wall, which was extensively rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries, is a Listed Building Grade II, and is not included in the scheduling. The castle was in repair in 1357, but is last mentioned in 1364. ->

-> The tithe map of 1838 shows two cottages occupying the ground immediately to the west of the tower keep. These cottages and the outbuildings lying next to the tower keep had been demolished by 1881 when the land became part of the churchyard. ->

-> The tower keep is roughly square, about 18m across, with walls averaging 4m thick. The southern, western and northern walls stand up to 4.5m high. The line of the eastern wall is visible as a low earthwork, 0.5m high. The walls are largely built of sandstone rubble with sandstone ashlar on the external faces. The bases of all three extant walls have chamfered exteriors. Within the south wall there are two small inward sloping vents or windows, and there is a similar opening through the north wall. Stone from the tower keep has been used in the construction and repair of buildings nearby, and the extant remains of the walls have been consolidated in modern times. ->

-> A section of a modern rubble-built wall abuts the external face of the northern wall of the tower keep. This modern wall, together with the memorial stones, the associated structural features and the wooden memorial seat, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. ->

-> Despite its use as a quarry .. The tower keep at Ruyton-XI-Towns, in association with the adjacent church and the former town, provides tangible evidence of the strategic importance that Ruyton held during the medieval period until the beginning of the 15th century. <22>

Excavation of land carried out on land to the rear of Purton Villa, Ruyton-XI-Towns by Marches Archaeology in 2006. One trench was excavated roughly two thirds of the way down the slope on the west side of the curtain wall of Ruyton Castle. Three features were investigated and all were found to be of 18th century date or later. The results of the excavation suggest that the property was first developed in the late 19th century at which time; the castle’s natural defensive slope was modified by excavation to provide a terraced garden. <23>

A programme of work was carried out as part of a project coorindated by Ruyton XI Towns Heritage Group to conserve and interpret the ruins of the castle. The programme included documentary research, a programme of rectified photography of the upstanding ruins and the preparation of a conservation statement for the castle. <24><25><26>

Between October 2007 and January 2008 an archaeological watching brief and restoration work were undertaken at St John the Baptist (PRN 00860); the churchyard of which contains the Scheduled remains of Ruyton XI Towns Castle. Evidence of a pre-1880s sandstone wall that retained the east side of the churchyard was recorded near the Lych Gate. Around the castle foundations of walls were uncovered extending at right angles from the ashlar plinth of the castle on the south, west and north sides. On the southwest corner of the Keep, the stonework remains of what appears to have been a stepped entrance to the existing level interior of the Keep were uncovered. The wall foundations extending at right angles on the north and west sides are those recorded on a 1878 plan as part of a building which adjoined the northwest corner. The foundations on the south side appear also to be part of a feature recorded in 1878. The ‘stepped’ feature on the southwest corner, however, is unrecorded as part of the medieval castle in 1878 and is therefore more likely to date to the 18 19 century occupation of the site by the cottages. Finds recovered during the watching brief dated entirely to the post-medieval to modem period. No finds or evidence of the medieval period were recovered from the site and no direct dating evidence could be provided for the new stonework uncovered on the site. The programme of restoration work had been planned to allow minimal disturbance to archaeological deposits on site. The stonework uncovered during excavations for the path around the castle ruins remains in situ and was covered with suitable protective material prior to the laying of stone for the footpath. The watching brief in the area of the castle has corroborated some of the evidence in respect of the extent of the medieval castle as recorded on the 1878 plan. <27>

Photographed during aerial photographic survey in 2009. <29>


<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 01123 (Card index). SSA20722.


<01a> Anon, 1886, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, pviii (Volume). SSA3147.


<01b> Kenyon R L, 1901, Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, p233 (Article in serial). SSA4384.


<01c> Anon, 1957/ 1960, Ellesmere Annual Excursion 1957, p3 (Article in serial). SSA3632.


<01d> Pevsner Nikolaus, 1958, Buildings of England (Shropshire), p238 (Monograph). SSA110.


<01> Ordnance Survey, 1977, Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ32SE6 (Card index). SSA4385.


<02a> Hogg A H A & King D J C, 1967, Masonry Castles in Wales and the Marches, p82, p121 (Article in serial). SSA243.


<02> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1985, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 16608 (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA4393.


<03a> Cranage D H S, 1908, An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire Vol 9, p823-825 (Monograph). SSA3099.


<03> Department of the Environment (DoE), 1987-Oct-21, 20th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, p94 (List of Buildings). SSA2144.


<04> Anon, 1891, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society (Volume). SSA4383.


<05> Anon, 1896, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, p313 (Volume). SSA2523.


<06> Eyton R W, 1887, The Castles of Shropshire, p30 (Article in serial). SSA242.


<07> Anon, Ground Plan of Ruyton Castle (Plan). SSA4390.


<08> Burrow Ian, 1977, Visit Notes, 1977? (Site visit report). SSA4394.


<10> Burrow Ian, 1977, Ruyton XI Towns Castle Keep, Film 227, Frames 23 and 25 (2 Prints) (Photograph). SSA4387.


<11> Burrow Ian, 1977-Jan, Ruyton-XI-Towns Castle Keep from the East, Film 227/ 23 to 25 (3 Photos) (Photograph). SSA4386.


<12> Ward Penny A, 1983-Aug, Castle, Ruyton XI Towns (Photograph). SSA4389.


<13> English Heritage, Map of Scheduled area (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA4391.


<14> Anon, 1984, Castle Keep, Ruyton XI Towns (Photograph). SSA4392.


<15> Musson Chris R, 1992-May-03, CPAT 92/C/0557 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16797.


<16> Horton Wendy B, 1990/ 1991, MPP Evaluation File, Tower Keep Castles (TEXT). SSA20084.


<17> Kenyon R L, 1891, The Borough of Ruyton (Article in serial). SSA11649.


<18> Kenyon R L, 1901, Manor of Ruyton of the Eleven Towns, p69 (Article in serial). SSA11652.


<19> Brown Y, 1988, Ruyton XI Towns: Unusual Name, Unusual History, p13 (Monograph). SSA11647.


<20> Buteux Victoria, 1993/ 1996, CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Quatford to Shifnal, Ruyton 1123 (Record form). SSA19972.


<21> Buteux Victoria et al, 1996, Archaeological Assessment of Ruyton XI Towns, Shropshire (CMHTS) (Historic landscape survey report). SSA12081.


<22> English Heritage, 2003, Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 12/03/2003) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA20929.


<23> Tavener Nick, 2006, Land to the rear of Purton Villa, Ruyton-XI-Towns: An archaeological Evaluation (Excavation report). SSA22437.


<24> Baker Nigel J, 2003, Conservation Statement for Ruyton XI Towns Castle (Conservation Area documentation). SSA22381.


<25> Trotter L, 2004, The History of Ruyton XI Towns Castle (Deskbased survey report). SSA22389.


<26> Baker Nigel J, 2004, Rectified Photographic Record for Ruyton XI Towns Castle (Field survey report). SSA22390.


<27> Frost Pat, 2008, Ruyton XI Towns churchyard and castle, Shropshire: archaeological watching brief (Watching brief report). SSA23036.


<28> Newman J & Pevsner N, 2006, Buildings of England: Shropshire, P493 (Monograph). SSA23518.


<29> Shropshire Council, 2009-Apr-5, SA0908_250 to SA0908_251 (2 photos) Flight: 09_SA_08 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25796.

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01123.
[01d]SSA110 - Monograph: Pevsner Nikolaus. 1958. Buildings of England (Shropshire). Buildings of England. p238.
[01a]SSA3147 - Volume: Anon. 1886. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol IX (=Vol 9). pviii.
[01c]SSA3632 - Article in serial: Anon. 1957/ 1960. Ellesmere Annual Excursion 1957. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 56. p3. p3.
[01b]SSA4384 - Article in serial: Kenyon R L. 1901. Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 3, Vol I (=Vol 24). p233.
[01]SSA4385 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1977. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ32SE6. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ32SE6.
[02a]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. p82, p121.
[02]SSA4393 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1985. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 16608.
[03]SSA2144 - List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1987-Oct-21. 20th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 1574-0. List volume. p94.
[03a]SSA3099 - Monograph: Cranage D H S. 1908. An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire Vol 9. Vol 9. p823-825.
[04]SSA4383 - Volume: Anon. 1891. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 2, Vol III (=Vol 14).
[05]SSA2523 - Volume: Anon. 1896. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 2, Vol VIII (=Vol 19). p313.
[06]SSA242 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1887. The Castles of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol X (=Vol 10). p30.
[07]SSA4390 - Plan: Anon. Ground Plan of Ruyton Castle.
[08]SSA4394 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1977. Visit Notes, 1977?.
[10]SSA4387 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1977. Ruyton XI Towns Castle Keep, Film 227, Frames 23 and 25 (2 Prints). Black and white.
[11]SSA4386 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1977-Jan. Ruyton-XI-Towns Castle Keep from the East, Film 227/ 23 to 25 (3 Photos). Black and white. 35mm.
[12]SSA4389 - Photograph: Ward Penny A. 1983-Aug. Castle, Ruyton XI Towns. Black and white. 35mm.
[13]SSA4391 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. Map of Scheduled area.
[14]SSA4392 - Photograph: Anon. 1984. Castle Keep, Ruyton XI Towns. Colour.
[15]SSA16797 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/C/0557. Colour. 35mm.
[16]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File. Tower Keep Castles.
[17]SSA11649 - Article in serial: Kenyon R L. 1891. The Borough of Ruyton. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 2, Vol III (=Vol 14). p237-252.
[18]SSA11652 - Article in serial: Kenyon R L. 1901. Manor of Ruyton of the Eleven Towns. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 3, Vol I (=Vol 24). p33-106. p69.
[19]SSA11647 - Monograph: Brown Y. 1988. Ruyton XI Towns: Unusual Name, Unusual History. p13.
[20]SSA19972 - Record form: Buteux Victoria. 1993/ 1996. CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Quatford to Shifnal. Central Marches Historic Towns Survey record form. Vol 9. Ruyton 1123.
[21]SSA12081 - Historic landscape survey report: Buteux Victoria et al. 1996. Archaeological Assessment of Ruyton XI Towns, Shropshire (CMHTS). Hereford & Worcester CAS Rep. Rep 342.
[22]SSA20929 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2003. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 12/03/2003). 34929.
[23]SSA22437 - Excavation report: Tavener Nick. 2006. Land to the rear of Purton Villa, Ruyton-XI-Towns: An archaeological Evaluation. Marches Archaeology Series. 412.
[24]SSA22381 - Conservation Area documentation: Baker Nigel J. 2003. Conservation Statement for Ruyton XI Towns Castle.
[25]SSA22389 - Deskbased survey report: Trotter L. 2004. The History of Ruyton XI Towns Castle.
[26]SSA22390 - Field survey report: Baker Nigel J. 2004. Rectified Photographic Record for Ruyton XI Towns Castle.
[27]SSA23036 - Watching brief report: Frost Pat. 2008. Ruyton XI Towns churchyard and castle, Shropshire: archaeological watching brief. Castlering Archaeol Rep. 285.
[28]SSA23518 - Monograph: Newman J & Pevsner N. 2006. Buildings of England: Shropshire. Buildings of England. P493.
[29]SSA25796 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2009-Apr-5. SA0908_250 to SA0908_251 (2 photos) Flight: 09_SA_08. Colour. Digital.
Date Last Edited:Mar 19 2018 3:03PM