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HER Number (PRN):01127
Name:Myddle Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Listed Building (II) 1178373: MYDDLE CASTLE
Scheduled Monument 1020061: Myddle Castle

Monument Type(s):


Scheduled Monument and Listed Building: Myddle Castle, the centre of the medieval Marcher Lordship of Myddle, is the only castle of this nationally rare type (a strongly fortified moated manorial residence built round a square courtyard) in Shropshire, though it is part of a concentration along the Welsh border. Despite being somewhat altered, the castle still retains significant archaeological remains and is particularly well documented.

Parish:Myddle and Broughton, North Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ42SE
Grid Reference:SJ 4687 2355

Related records: None recorded

Associated Finds

  • FSA212 - SHERD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA18 - TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA19 - VESSEL (11th century to 15th century - 1066 AD to 1499 AD)
  • FSA20 - WASTE (11th century to 15th century - 1066 AD to 1499 AD)

Associated Events

  • ESA1429 - 1961 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1430 - 1966 excavation at Myddle Castle by Ellesmere School
  • ESA1431 - 1972 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1432 - 1977 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA1433 - 1981 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1434 - 1982 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA6461 - 2009 evaluation and condition survey of the retaining wall at Myddle Castle by Malcolm Reid
  • ESA6462 - 2010 building recording during repairs to the retaining wall at Myddle Castle by Malcolm Reid


Castle, now ruined. Circa 1307 for Lord Lestrange of Knockin. Dressed red sandstone with rubblestone core and red and grey sandstone ashlar dressings. All that remains is the former north-east corner with the remains of a corner stair turret and two sides of the inner retaining wall of the rectangular moat. There is a small rectangular window in the remains of the northern wall and the jamb of a probable large chamfered cross window with glazing-bar holes in the remains of the eastern wall, possibly the indication of a former first floor hall (cf. Acton Burnell). A moulded trefoil-headed doorway with panelled spandrels leads to the remains of the stair turret which still retains the first few steps of a stone newel stair. There are other chamfered reveals and set backs in the remains of the stair turret to the north. There is a stone inscribed Repaired by the Rt./Hon ble John Hume Egerton/VISCOUNT ALFORD/Oct r. 1849/Henry? Sheraton Steward. There is a block of dressed grey sandstone on the ground to the east of the remains with a carved shield. Moat retaining wall. Dressed red sandstone with some rubblestone. L-plan. Approximately 46 metres long and 1.5 metres high forming the inner retaining wall of the section of the rectangular moat to the east of the remains of Myddle Castle and half of that to the south. The section of wall to the south incorporates various fragments of dressed and carved stone probably from the castle buildings including a block of chamfered stone and what looks like part of a window or door head. Late C20 farm buildings and a yard with a concrete block wall have been built over the moat up against the eastern section of retaining wall. Lord Lestrange was given a licence to crenellate in 1307. The Castle probably ceased to be occupied c.1500 as it was described as veri ruinus by John Leland when he visited Myddle c.1540. Old photographs (Hey) show the tower standing higher than at present (January 1986) but a former ashlar circular or octagonal battlemented top stage and a part to the north collapsed in 1976. It has been suggested that some of this (particularly the top stage) was a romantic embellishment added during the repair work of 1849, County Ancient Monument No. 16. B.O.E., p.215; Richard Gough, Ed. D. Hey, The History of Myddle (1701), Penguin (1981), Pp.54-58; David G. Hey, An English Rural Community: Myddle Under the Tudors and Stuarts, Leicester University Press (1974), pp.25-26 and plate 6 <4>

Castle built by Lord Lestrange of Knockin. Licence to crenellate 1307. A slender circular stair turret remains. Already very ruinous in Leland's time <3b>
The remains of the castle are enclosed by an almost square water moat with an entrance on the west <3a>
Illustrated in 1824 <3d>
The park [at Myddle] was already in existence by 1333. The boundaries can still be clearly seen. The castle stood at its northerly edge, a lane and the Baschurch parish boundary demarcate it on the west, and the Hollins and Webscott farms adjoin it to the south. It was once well wooded, but was largely turned over to pasture by the middle of the 17th century. <3c><4a>

The site was excavated in June 1966 by Mr J Connell and pupils of Ellesmere Secondary Modern School. The aims were to draw an accurate plan of the existing walls and to discover any features then covered.
A section (A) was dug, which demonstrated that the wall from the upstanding tower continued to the S Wall.
A section (B) was dug to determine the depth of foundations at that point. A buttress or tower foundation was found 22ft 7ins from the NW corner of the castle. It was 8ft long and 4ft 7ins out from the main wall. Excavation ceased at a depth of 7ft because of flooding. Other work of a purely exploratory nature was carried out on the E side of the site. Various stretches of walling appear to have been traced. <5>

A large part of the upstanding masonry fell down in December 1976 and now lies tumbled at the foot. The moat on W and S now virtually filled in. I Burrow FI 1977 <7>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1: High score as one of 133 Moated sites; one of less than 10 Small Quadrangular Castles <22>

Scheduling revised in 2000. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the earthwork, buried and standing structural remains of Myddle Castle, a quadrangular castle surrounded by a moat. The castle walls, including the stair turret, are Listed Grade II. ->

-> The castle is considered to be the centre of the manor of Myddle. By 1165 the manor was acquired by the Lords le Strange of Knockin. As a Marcher Lordship, the Lord of Myddle was granted a royal licence to crenellate his mansion in 1308. In the late 15th century the manor passed from the le Stranges to the Stanley family, the Earls of Derby, and in the final decade of the 16th century the Castle was sold to the Egerton family. Many of the lords, especially the later ones, were non-resident and the castle was occupied by a constable or castle-keeper. It functioned as the Court House and the head farm of the demesne -the land under the direct control of the lord of the manor. John Leland visited the castle in about 1540 and described it as 'veri ruinous'. An earthquake in 1688 is said to have led to a partial collapse of the structure. Myddle Castle was constructed on a gentle east to north east facing slope, in an area of undulating land. Little now survives of the moat as a visible feature, but the earliest large scale Ordnance Survey map (published in 1881) shows that all the arms contained water and were between 8m and 14m wide. The moat defines a rectangular island approximately 42m east- west and 48m north- south (maximum dimensions), with a later entrance causeway across the northern part of the western arm. Material excavated from the moat was used to raise the surface of the island up to 1.8m above the level of the surrounding land. ->

-> All the moat arms have been subsequently drained and infilled. The southern and western arms survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. The opposing arms have been affected by the insertion of a late 20th century farm building, walls and a yard surface, and hence are not included in the scheduling. ->

-> In his account of Myddle produced at the beginning of the 18th century, Richard Gough describes the castle as a series of 'rooms' set round a courtyard with a gatehouse at the north eastern corner of the site. He notes a possible kitchen range on the eastern side, a parlour on the southern side and a hall on the western side. The 1821 Ordnance Survey map (published in 1881) also provides some evidence of the castle's building plan. Two extant retaining walls are set at right angles along the southern and eastern sides of the island, together with the remains of a stair turret opposite the moat causeway. The extant walling is shown joining the foundations of other walls. This map indicates that the size of the castle building, excluding any ancillary structures, was about 32m east-west and 42m north-south. A small scale archaeological excavation undertaken in 1966 confirmed the extent of the castle structure and concluded that the principal living quarters lay on the western and northern sides of the island. These ranges, together with the stair turret, are shown in ruins in 18th and 19th century illustrations. The upper battlemented portion of the turret collapsed in 1976. ->

-> All the visible castle walls are built of dressed blocks and neatly coursed. Red and white sandstone has been used which probably came from the quarries at Grinshill, 5km to the east. The stair turret stands as the most prominent feature on the site and was restored in 1849 and 1982. The moulded trefoil- headed doorway with panelled spandrels provided direct access to the stone newel stair, the first few steps of which survive. To the south of the stair turret the remains of a large rectangular window opening at first floor level confirm the existence of a hall on this side of the castle. A large sandstone block inscribed with the le Strange crest has been placed next to the remains of the stair turret. ->

-> A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are: all fences, gates and modern walls, the surfaces of tracks which surround the site on its southern and western sides and the electricity pole, the ground beneath all these features is, however, included. <23>

An archaeological evaluation and condition survey was undertaken on the retaining wall, which now largely survives as a pronounced earthwork incorporating sandstone blocks around the raised moated island of Myddle Castle. The surviving retaining wall is clearly of two phases. The earlier masonry is characterised by coursed squared blocks of red sandstone, with a chamfered course towards the bottom of the exposed section. To the west the retaining wall has been rebuilt, possibly following a collapse. The masonry of this rebuilt section is of poorer quality than the earlier wall, and is formed of irregular sized blocks of red sandstone laid in irregular courses. Where these two phases of walling meet, the face of the later wall slightly protrudes (up to 0.08m) from the face of the earlier wall. 3.2 Against the retaining wall, and partially concealing the earlier and later faces, a buttress has been constructed. The buttress used to form a series of steps from the top of the wall to the bottom (Ron Phillips pers comm) and it is possible that it was originally built to provide access to the water-filled moat, as well as a strengthening device. The exposed remains of this feature suggest that it may also be a two-phased construction. To the west its facing survives, consisting of irregular coursed red sandstone blocks, with what appears to be a squared eastern end and possibly a step at the west. The width of the western part of the structure is about 0.6m. Little mortar appears to have been was used in this part of the construction, in comparison with the taller surviving eastern half. The lower portion of the eastern half was not clearly defined because of the amount of topsoil between the stones. However, it is apparent that this part of the structure projects slightly in comparison with the masonry to the west. The total exposed length of the buttress is approximately 2.9m.->

-> The face of the earlier section of the retaining wall retains its upright posture except for the upper three surviving courses, which lean out at 10 degrees from the vertical. Excavation on top of the wall has demonstrated that significant cracks, up to 0.08m wide, have formed between the stones, which have filled with soil. In addition, several of the facing stones are cracked or have badly eroded faces. A small area of ivy exists at the eastern end of the wall, which in time could help to destabilize the wall further.->

-> The buttress also survives in a poor state. The higher section to the east has partially collapsed resulting in overhanging masonry. A major crack has developed between this section and the lower portion to the west, which extends to form a gap, up to 0.16m wide, between the buttress and the later part of the retaining wall, which has filled with soil. While the lower portion of the buttress is presently stable, the excavation undertaken to reveal its extent has demonstrated that some of the masonry is unconsolidated, and will be liable to decay and collapse if left in its present condition. <25>

During the consolidation and repair works on the retaining wall of Myddle Castle it was decided that all stone blocks forming the facing of the retaining wall that had shifted from their original positions and which displayed a pronounced outward lean should be removed. Six blocks were repositioned to conform, as far as possible, to a vertical profile. This work was undertaken after the careful removal of the turf and the earth (mainly topsoil) that had built up between these stones. Ivy growing between several of the stones was also removed. The block on the eastern end of the uppermost row had also shifted from its original position and had broken into three pieces. Instead of repairing this stone it was decided to replace it with another block of comparable size, which had previously fallen from the wall. The old mortar between the stone blocks was raked out and the joints between the stones were re-pointed with a 'moderately hydraulic' lime mixed with local sand. No inclusions were added to the lime (eg white inclusions to imitate lime fragments) so that the new mortar could be distinguished from the old. Larger gaps between the stones (where soil had been removed) were filled with mortar and small pieces of sandstone. In addition to the six re-positioned blocks noted above, a stone at the western end of the second row from the top was removed and then re-bedded to secure its position.->

-> It was noted in the previous report that the adjoining buttress was probably built in two stages and is likely to be the remains of a flight of steps. For the purpose of this report, the higher eastern section consisting of sandstone rubble and mortar is referred to as the 'buttress' and the coursed lower section to the west as the 'steps'. All loose and very unstable masonry was removed from the buttress, thus reducing its height and width. The buttress and the steps were re-pointed, and the gaps and cracks between them and the moat retaining wall were infilled with mortar and small pieces of sandstone. A capping stone was added to the buttress to help shed any water falling directly onto the remains. Following the re-pointing of the masonry the turf covering the wall was re-laid because of its importance as a soft capping. Stones which had fallen from the wall and which littered the present infilled surface of the moat arm were gathered up and placed in a pile close to the consolidated masonry. <26>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2009. <28>

Shropshire Archives hold a watercolour of Myddle Castle (Reference 6001/372/1/89), by Reverend Edward Williams, dated to 1789. A small-scale thumbnail can be found via their online catalogue: https://www.shropshirearchives.org.uk/collections/getrecord/CCA_X6001_19_372A_89 <29>

Series of additional references identified by the NRHE. <30>
In 1308, John le Strange had licence from Edward II 'to make a castle of his house at Mudle'. It was a rectangular structure, two storeys high, with a square court inside, and surrounded by a moat which can still be traced to the east of the castle. The moat enclosed about half an acre of ground, the entrance to which was by a gatehouse standing near the north-east corner. Leland, who saw the castle in 1538-39 described it then as 'veri ruinus' Auden mentions a park at Myddle, in the direction of Harmer Hill. <30a><30b>
See revised survey. <30c><30d>
The remains of this fortified manor house are very scant, the principal survival being a fragment of stair turret measuring 4.0m by 4.0m, and 4.0-5.0m in height but it is in a ruinous condition. The fragment of outer wall on the east side has been destroyed or concealed by the recent construction of a silage pit but on the south it still serves as a retaining wall 16.5m in length. Nothing remains of the moat except at the south-west corner where there are traces 20.0m in length, and 6.0m in width. The boundaries of the park are followed on the west by a lane with normal hedge banks, and a hedge continues the line on the south and east, but no pale could be recognised. The course is no longer apparent on the north and north-east. Published survey (1:2500) revised on MSD. <30e>
Listed by Cathcart King. <30f>


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01127.
[01]SSA4418 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1977. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ42SE1. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ42SE1.
[02]SSA17098 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). 1954-Jul-09. CUCAP OT37 to OT38 (2 Photos). Black and white.
[03b]SSA110 - Monograph: Pevsner Nikolaus. 1958. Buildings of England (Shropshire). Buildings of England. p215.
[03a]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p403-404.
[03e]SSA242 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1887. The Castles of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol X (=Vol 10). p30.
[03c]SSA3217 - Monograph: Gough R. 1700. History of Myddle. p.29.
[03d]SSA4413 - Monograph: Pearson W. 1824. Views of the Antiquities of Salop. p83-85, illus.
[03]SSA4426 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1983. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 11986.
[03f]SSA675 - Monograph: Stackhouse-Acton F (Mrs). 1865-1869. Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire.
[04a]SSA3108 - Monograph: Hey David G. 1974. An English Rural Community : Myddle under the Tudors and Stuarts. p25-26 and Plate 6.
[04]SSA4414 - List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1986-Oct-29. 35th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 1328-0. List volume. p72.
[05]SSA4417 - Excavation report: Connell J. 1966 ?. Excavations at Myddle Castle June 1966.
[06]SSA4416 - Manuscript: Anon. Myddle Castle Excavations 1966 - Finds in Oswestry Library.
[07]SSA4427 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1977-Feb-02. Visit Notes, 02/02/1977.
[08]SSA4420 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1977-Jan. Myddle Castle after Collapse in Dec 1976. Black and white. 35mm.
[09]SSA4412 - Article in serial: Woodward S A. 1912. Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 4, Vol II (=Vol 35). px-xi.
[10]SSA4421 - Scheduled Monument notification: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1973. Map of Scheduled area, 1973.
[11]SSA4423 - Photograph: Anon. 1986. Myddle Castle. Colour.
[12]SSA4422 - Photograph: Anon. 1977. Myddle Castle. Colour.
[13]SSA4425 - Photograph: Ryan Carole. 1983. Myddle Castle. Colour.
[14]SSA4424 - Photograph: Anon. 1986. Myddle Castle. Colour.
[15]SSA4411 - Correspondence: Various. 1981/ 1983. Correspondence, 1981-1983.
[16]SSA4410 - Correspondence: Various. 1980. Correspondence, 1980.
[17]SSA4409 - Correspondence: Various. 1977/ 1978. Correspondence, 1977-1978.
[18]SSA4415 - Correspondence: English Heritage. 1986. Correspondence, 1986. Shropshire County Council.
[19]SSA4419 - Photograph: Anon. Photos. Black and white.
[20]SSA12862 - Photograph: Anon. 1982-Sep. Myddle Castle. Black and white. 35mm.
[21]SSA12861 - Photograph: Anon. 1982-Feb. Myddle Castle. Black and white. 35mm.
[22]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[23]SSA21286 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2000. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 07/07/2000). 32318.
[24]SSA21681 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2000-Mar-05. CPAT 00/MB/2041 to 2042 (2 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[25]SSA23612 - Archaeological fieldwork report: Reid Malcolm L. 2009. Myddle Castle, Shropshire. Scheduled Monument 32318: an evaluation and condition survey of part of the retaining wall of the moated island and adjoining buttress.
[26]SSA23613 - Field survey report: Reid Malcolm L. 2010. Myddle Castle, Shropshire. Scheduled Monument 32318: further recording associated with the consolidation and repair of part of the retaining wall of the moated island and the remains of an adjoining buttress/flight of stairs.
[27]SSA23518 - Monograph: Newman J & Pevsner N. 2006. Buildings of England: Shropshire. Buildings of England. P434.
[28]SSA25792 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2009-Apr-5. SA0908_239 to SA0908_243 (5 photos) Flight: 09_SA_08. Colour. Digital.
[29]SSA2272 - Painting: Williams E Rev. 1785-1823. Watercolours of Shropshire churches, chapels etc.. Watercolour. https://www.shropshirearchives.org.uk/collections/getrecord/CCA_X6001_19_372A_89.
[30f]SSA29017 - Monograph: Cathcart King D J. 1983. Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands. Vol 2.
[30c]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 JHW 29-NOV-61.
[30e]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F2 DJC 10-OCT-79.
[30]SSA31555 - COLLECTION: Historic England. 2020 onwards. NRHE: National Record of the Historic Environment. HOB UID 68554.
[30d]SSA31561 - Vertical aerial photograph: Historic England / RAF. c.1946-1955. NRHE: RAF Aerial Photographs held by Historic England Archive. Black and white. RAF 106G/UK/1517 4049-50 17.5.46.
[30b]SSA31622 - Article in serial: Burson W. Article in Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. 17. p.212-213.
[30a]SSA31623 - Article in serial: Auden H M. Article in Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. 26. p.296.
Date Last Edited:Feb 19 2021 8:14PM