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HER Number (PRN):01250
Name:Brockhurst Castle, 200m S of Brockhurst
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1010724: Brockhurst Castle

Monument Type(s):

  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • CASTLE (12th century to 13th century - 1154 AD to 1215 AD?)
  • CAUSEWAY (12th century to 13th century - 1154 AD to 1215 AD?)
  • TOWER KEEP (12th century to 13th century - 1154 AD to 1215 AD?)

Summary

Scheduled Monument: The earthwork remains of a strongly fortified medieval residence, based on a stone keep (a type of castle rare in Shropshire), Brockhurst Castle is of particular interest because it was abandoned early (so retains its original, early medieval, plan), and because previous partial excavation of the site has shown good archaeological survival.

Parish:Church Stretton, South Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SO49SW
Grid Reference:SO 4466 9257

Related records: None recorded

Associated Finds

  • FSA222 - VESSEL (12th century - 1100 AD? to 1199 AD?)

Associated Events

  • ESA1818 - 1959 excavation
  • ESA1819 - 1972 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1820 - 1977 field observation by SCC SMR
  • ESA1821 - April 1986 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1822 - Nov 1986 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA4785 - 1992-2000 Summary Condition Survey of SAMs in the Shropshire Hills Environmentally Sensitive Area by English Heritage

Description

The inner bailey is 53m x 40m, middle bailey 42m x 26m. The ditch separating them is 14m wide and 3m deep; the ditch enclosing them is 8-10m wide and 1-2m deep. The baileys are 6.5m to 8m above the surrounding ditch . The rampart around the middle bailey, now extant only on the NW and NE sides is 6-9m wide and up to 1.3m in height. There are traces of a curtain wall along the NE side of the inner bailey at the lip of the cross ditch. A causewayed entrance cuts through the N corner of the middle bailey, and a terrace way leads up the hillside to it. The scarp, E of the Castle, regarded by Barker [<2c>] as a possible outer bailey, is 60m long and 2m high. It appears rather to be a positive lynchet. The castle site is wooded and well-preserved. It stands above very steep natural slopes to the NW, SW & SE. The absence of any outer defences to the NE is surprising in view of the fact that the ridge top is level with the site for some distance in this direction. No trace of a bank or pond bay was noted at the foot of the terrace way nor were remains of any fishponds seen. OS FI 1972 <1>

Brockhurst Castle was probably built by Henry II c 1154 to guard the N/S route through Shropshire, and was destroyed at some time between 1215 and 1255, possibly in 1215 when its custody was in dispute. It lies at the S end of a ridge overlooking a valley floor where fishponds mentioned in 1255 were probably situated. Below the castle, to the W and S, the hillside has been scarped , marking the edge of the fishponds or a lake designed to supplement the S defences. The earthworks consist of two plateau-like baileys separated by a ditch some 40ft wide and 10ft deep. The southernmost or inner bailey is 2 to 3ft higher than the middle bailey, and greater in extent. Both are defended by a massive ditch with an outer bank, and the middle bailey is enclosed by a rampart. There appears to be an outer bailey on the east side of the castle, bounded by straight scarps on the SW and SE. At the foot of the terraced road which approaches the castle from the N is a bank that may have dammed water for defensive purposes or to drive a mill.
The site was excavated in 1959. A section was cut across the ditch between the middle and inner bailey at its NW end. Extended S into bailey, where a cooking pot stratified sequence was obtained. It was shown that the inner bailey was here defended by a massive stone wall , now robbed away. Four main periods were distinguished and related to the known history of the site.
Period 1 & 1a. Bailey ditch and a pit of unknown use underlying the bailey wall. Probably post hole of timber bridge at edge of excavation. Period 1a was the chief building period. Curtain wall and clay bank in front. Contained cooking pots. C1154?
Period 2. Abandonment?. Accumulation of material on back of bank behind rampart. C1154-1214?
Period 3. Timber buildings built on the bank behind the wall. C 1214?
Period 4. Destruction immediately following a re-cut of the ditch. c1215-1255? <2c>

Site visit report giving condition assessment <4>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Medium score as one of 15 Tower Keep castles <7>

Scheduling revised in 1994. Scheduling description:->
->The monument includes the remains of Brockhurst Castle and an associated causeway. The castle is believed to be the remains of a tower keep castle, built around 1154 by Henry II to guard the main north to south route through Shropshire where it passes through the Church Stretton valley. It is situated in a naturally defensive position on the southern tip of a small north-south ridge, overlooking the once marshy floor of Stretton Dale to the south and west. By 1215 the custody of the castle was in dispute and as a result it seems to have been slighted and deserted shortly after this date.->

-> Although the castle is believed to have been a tower keep fortification originally, all that remains visible today are the earthwork elements of the castle. These comprise two plateau-like wards or baileys separated by a ditch. Surrounding both baileys is a formidable defensive ditch averaging 8m wide and 2.6m deep. This is augmented around the south west, west and north west sides by a substantial outer bank, up to 10m wide and 3.5m high on its outer face, 1.4m high on its inner face. The outer ditch has been cut around the end of the natural spur, on average 6m below the levelled summit, creating the two plateau-like wards of the castle, the spoil from the ditch being thrown outwards to form the counterscarp bank. The northern bailey is the smaller of the two with internal dimensions of 44m north west to south east by 28m north east to south west. The levelled interior stands 5m above the base of the outer ditch and is bounded around its north and west sides by a well defined inner bank 0.7m high running along the edge of the main scarp. This is interrupted at the northern corner of the bailey by a simple entrance gap 2m wide, the outer ditch is similarly interrupted at this point by an original causeway which is approached by a trackway which climbs the hill from the north west. Terraced 0.2m into the south east corner of the bailey is a rectangular platform 7m square, this may represent the foundations of an original building. In the northern quarter of the bailey, cut into the face of the inner bank, are the remains of a trench 4m long by 2m wide, it may date from an archaeological exploration of the monument undertaken in 1959. The second bailey lies to the immediate south west, separated from the northern bailey by a substantial ditch 14m wide and 3m deep cut across the line of the natural spur. Excavation in 1959 demonstrated that the southern bailey was defended along this north western edge by a massive stone wall, the stone from which had been largely robbed away. Today a small section of the wall protrudes through the turf towards the top of the bailey scarp. A posthole near its base suggested that the ditch had originally been crossed at this point by a wooden bridge, linking the two baileys. A low causeway crossing the ditch here is therefore thought to be more recent. The levelled interior of the second bailey measures 53m south west to north east by 40m north west to south east. Today it shows no visible evidence of any structures; however, the 1959 excavation revealed it to have once had a stone curtain wall identified as dating from c.1154 with internal wooden buildings dated to c.1214 <8>

Brockhurst (or Brocards) Castle was the centre of Norman settlement in the Stretton Gap, though it was one of many such castle sites in the Gap, including a smaller motte at All Stretton. It formed the centre of the manor of Stretton-en-le-Dale, which passed in and out of the hands of the Crown during the medieval period. By 1245 the king's tenant (Henry de Hastings) was heavily in debt to the king. The manor was repossessed and in 1255 the Sheriff of Shropshire was forced to order four men to drain the castle ponds and sell the fish to help meet the bill. The ponds were subsequently restocked. A more detailed history of the manor is given in this report <9>

Photographed during aerial survey, 2008-2010. <12>-<15>

Visited during a condition survey by the English Heritage Field Monument Warden, in 2000. Condition recorded as fair. <16>


<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 01250 (Card index). SSA20722.


<01> Ordnance Survey, 1972, Ordnance Survey Record Card SO49SW24 (Card index). SSA5145.


<02a> Cobbold E S, 1904, Church Stretton, p83-88 with plan (Monograph). SSA783.


<02b> Victoria County History, 1908, Victoria County History 1, p393 plan (Volume). SSA178.


<02c> Barker Philip A, 1961/ 1964, Pottery Sequence from Brockhurst Castle (Article in serial). SSA5144.


<02> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1986-Jun-05, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 30654 (05/06/1986) (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA5149.


<03> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1987-Feb-24, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 32138 (24/02/1987) (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA5148.


<04> Burrow Ian, 1977-Nov-03, Visit Notes, 03/11/1977 (Site visit report). SSA5150.


<05> Eyton R W, 1887, The Castles of Shropshire, p31-32 (Article in serial). SSA242.


<06> English Heritage, 1990, Map of Scheduled area, 1990 (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA5146.


<07> Horton Wendy B, 1990/ 1991, MPP Evaluation File (TEXT). SSA20084.


<08> English Heritage, 1994, Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 14/12/1994) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA5147.


<09> Woodside R & Milln Jeremy, 1995, The National Trust Archaeological Survey: The Long Mynd, Shropshire, p20 (Field survey report). SSA20947.


<10> Musson Chris R, 2000-Mar-05, CPAT 00/MB/2010 to 2012 (3 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA21432.


<11> Musson Chris R, 2000-Mar-05, CPAT 00/MB/2051 to 2053 (3 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA21689.


<12> Shropshire Council, 2009-Mar-5, SA0903_54 to SA0903_56 (3 photos) Flight: 09_SA_03 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25853.


<13> Shropshire Council, 2008-Jan-6, SA0801_060 to SA0801_062 (3 photos) Flight: 08_SA_01 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25291.


<14> Shropshire Council, 2010-Jan-30, SA1002_106 to SA1002_109 (4 photos) Flight: 10_SA_02 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25001.


<15> Shropshire Council, 2010-Jan-30, SA1002_112 to SA1002_115 (4 photos) Flight: 10_SA_02 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA27040.


<16> Leigh Judith, 2001, Scheduled Ancient Monuments in the Shropshire Hills ESA: Brief Condition Survey (Field survey report). SSA20802.

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01250.
[01]SSA5145 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1972. Ordnance Survey Record Card SO49SW24 . Ordnance Survey record cards. SO49SW24 .
[02b]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p393 plan.
[02c]SSA5144 - Article in serial: Barker Philip A. 1961/ 1964. Pottery Sequence from Brockhurst Castle. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 57. p63-80.
[02]SSA5149 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986-Jun-05. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 30654 (05/06/1986).
[02a]SSA783 - Monograph: Cobbold E S. 1904. Church Stretton. Vol 3. p83-88 with plan.
[03]SSA5148 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1987-Feb-24. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 32138 (24/02/1987).
[04]SSA5150 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1977-Nov-03. Visit Notes, 03/11/1977.
[05]SSA242 - Article in serial: Eyton R W. 1887. The Castles of Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol X (=Vol 10). p31-32.
[06]SSA5146 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 1990. Map of Scheduled area, 1990.
[07]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[08]SSA5147 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 1994. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 14/12/1994). 19159.
[09]SSA20947 - Field survey report: Woodside R & Milln Jeremy. 1995. The National Trust Archaeological Survey: The Long Mynd, Shropshire. National Trust Archaeological Survey. p20.
[10]SSA21432 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2000-Mar-05. CPAT 00/MB/2010 to 2012 (3 photos). Black and white. Medium.
[11]SSA21689 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2000-Mar-05. CPAT 00/MB/2051 to 2053 (3 photos). Black and white. Medium.
[12]SSA25853 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2009-Mar-5. SA0903_54 to SA0903_56 (3 photos) Flight: 09_SA_03. Colour. Digital.
[13]SSA25291 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2008-Jan-6. SA0801_060 to SA0801_062 (3 photos) Flight: 08_SA_01. Colour. Digital.
[14]SSA25001 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2010-Jan-30. SA1002_106 to SA1002_109 (4 photos) Flight: 10_SA_02. Colour. Digital.
[15]SSA27040 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2010-Jan-30. SA1002_112 to SA1002_115 (4 photos) Flight: 10_SA_02. Colour. Digital.
[16]SSA20802 - Field survey report: Leigh Judith. 2001. Scheduled Ancient Monuments in the Shropshire Hills ESA: Brief Condition Survey.
Date Last Edited:Jan 29 2019 11:09AM