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Record Details

MonUID:MST2
HER Number:00002
Type of record:Monument
Name:Tamworth Castle Motte and Bailey

Summary

The Scheduled and Listed remains of a late-11th century motte and bailey castle, rebuilt in the 12th century with later alterations, now used as a museum.

Grid Reference:SK 2065 0390
Map Sheet:SK20SW
Parish:Tamworth, Tamworth Borough
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Type(s):

Associated Events:

  • EST1120 - An archaeological evaluation at Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire.
  • EST1121 - An archaeological watching brief at Tamworth Castle Coach House, Tamworth, Staffordshire.
  • EST1122 - An archaeological watching brief at the Motte and the Coach House, Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire.
  • EST1123 - An archaeological exacavation and building recording at Tamworrth Castle, Staffordshire.
  • EST1125 - An archaeological watching brief at Tamworth Castle Bailey, Tamworth, Staffordshire.
  • EST1126 - An archaeological watching brief in Tamworth Castle Grounds, Tamworth, Staffordshire.
  • EST1127 - An archaeological watching brief at Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire.
  • EST1128 - An archaeological watching brief in the shell keep of Tamworth Castle, Tamworth, Staffordshire.
  • EST210 - Un-named event/activity
  • EST295 - Un-named event/activity
  • EST400 - Un-named event/activity
  • EST456 - Un-named event/activity
  • EST75 - Un-named event/activity
  • EST861 - An archaeological watching brief on the terrace of Tamworth Castle motte, Tamworth, Staffordshire.
  • EST862 - An archaeological watching brief at Tamworth Castle, Staffordhsire.

Protected Status:

  • Listed Building (I) 1197020: Tamworth Castle
  • Scheduled Monument 1002962: Tamworth Castle

Full description

Holy Well / Spring: a natural spring once issued from the south-east edge of the bailey of Tamworth Castle. This was probably the original site of the holy well of St. Ruffiany (PRN 01211). Motte and Bailey: The castle consisted of a bailey and extant motte which stands of the north-west side of enclosure. Early Norman motte and herringbone masonry, with curtain wall on its north-east side. The wall implies at late 11th century stone shell keep on a motte. <1>

East wall of Norman bridge with arch revealed, 5 metres wide, giving access over moat. The bridge is a large structure, single arched and of good masonry with well preserved ashlar facing. The bailey area is largely barren. <2>

The motte and bailey stands in the south-west corner of the burh and overlooks the confluence of the River Tame and the River Anker. A circular motte, 16 metres high, 80 metres wide at the base and 46 metres wide at the top. Substantial ditch separated motte from bailey to the east. The bailey is 100 metres wide east-west, 60 metres wide on west and 31 metres wide o east. Occupies the edge of a river terrace so there may have been no ditch on the south, but there is a substantial ditch to the north and east. The east edge of the bailey has been built over. <3>

The first defensive circuit was probably a timber-framed rampart with vertical revetment, within a small ditch. These were replaced by a large ditch, and on the north and east by a stone curtain wall (circa Henry II). <4>

The motte and bailey were probably laid out by Robert le Despencer circa 1080, before passing to Robert Marmion when Le Despencer died heirless. <not sourced>

An archaeological watching brief in April 1998 found nothing of significance (although only a circa 300mm trench. <15>

An archaeological watching brief on the south side of the motte in 1999 revealed no significant archaeology. <16>

Watching brief in March 2003, during the erection of a metal finger-post within the Scheduled area at the base of the motte, found redeposited backfill material. (JM, 28/4/03) <17>

Watching brief conducted in March 2003, during the excavation of a test pit across the stone and brick terrace revetment wall on the north-west side of the shell keep, to investigate the cause of subsidence, found Norman and post-medieval deposits. (JM, 28/4/03) <18>

Sources and further reading

---SST3018 - Evaluation Report: Jon Cane (Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit). 1989. Trial Excavations at Tamworth Castle.
---SST3332 - Excavation Report: Laurence Jones (Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit). 1995. Tamworth Castle: An Archaeological Excavation and Building Recording.
---SST3933 - Watching Brief Report: Bob Meeson (Historic Buildings Consultant). 1997. Tamworth Castle Bailey: Archaeological Watching Brief 1997.
---SST3934 - Watching Brief Report: Bob Meeson (Historic Buildings Consultant). 2001. Tamworth Castle Archaeological Watching Brief in the Shell Keep: March 2001.
---SST4082 - Drawn: ?. 1987. South Gable Before Restoration, Medieval Hall, Tamworth Castle, 1987. Permatrace. 1:25.
<1>SST3723 - Designation Record: Department for Culture Media and Sport / English Heritage. Ongoing-2016. Scheduled Monument Designation Documents, Scheduled Monument Consents and Section 17 Management Agreements. AM7.
<2>SST3723 - Designation Record: Department for Culture Media and Sport / English Heritage. Ongoing-2016. Scheduled Monument Designation Documents, Scheduled Monument Consents and Section 17 Management Agreements. A.M. 7 (R.A. Hartley, 1973).
<3>SST3044 - Verbal communication: R.A. Meeson (Staffordshire County Council). 1980 - 2000. Comments on sites in Staffordshire by R.A. Meeson.
<4>SST2609 - Serial: South Staffordshire Archaeological & Historical Society. 1980. South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions 1978-1979 (Volume XX). 'Tenth Tamworth Excavation Report, 1977' by R.A. Meeson (pages 15-28).
<5>SST16 - Index: Unknown. Unknown. MS 28024:FOLIO 126B. MS 28024:FOLIO 126B.
<6>SST3723 - Designation Record: Department for Culture Media and Sport / English Heritage. Ongoing-2016. Scheduled Monument Designation Documents, Scheduled Monument Consents and Section 17 Management Agreements. A.M. 12 (C.A. Snowdon, 1980).
<7>SST3723 - Designation Record: Department for Culture Media and Sport / English Heritage. Ongoing-2016. Scheduled Monument Designation Documents, Scheduled Monument Consents and Section 17 Management Agreements. A.M. 107 (C.A. Snowdon, 1984).
<8>SST3636 - Published Book: The Victoria History of the Counties of England. 1908. (VCH volume 1) A History of the County of Stafford, Volume I. Page 356.
<9>SST2321 - Serial: South Staffordshire Archaeological & Historical Society. 1972. South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions 1971-1972 (Volume XIII). 'The Medieval Burgesses of Tamworth; Their Liberties, Courts and Markets' by Jim Gould (pages 18-20).
<10>SST2325 - Serial: Council for British Archaeology West Midlands (Philip Rahtz - Editor). 1972. West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet Number 15 (1972). 'Tamworth Castle, Staffs' by T.E. McNeill, pages 26-28.
<11>SST2365 - Descriptive text: MCNEILL TE. 1973. MED ARCH 17. VOL 17:P163.
<12>SST1963 - Photographic: Staffordshire County Council. 1960s onward. Staffordshire County Council Photographic Collection. various. 76-79:75 (1975).
<13>SST3336 - Watching Brief Report: Stve Litherland (Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit). 1995. Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire: A Report on Watching Briefs of Drainage Works on the Motte and Coach House.
<14>SST3335 - Watching Brief Report: R. A. Meeson (Staffordshire County Council). 1995. Tamworth Castle Coach House: Watching Brief, 1995. 11P.
<15>SST3450 - Watching Brief Report: W. S. Walker (Earthworks Archaeological Services). 1998. Tamworth Castle Grounds, Tamworth, Staffordshire: An Archaeological Watching Brief. 16M.
<16>SST3504 - Watching Brief Report: Bob Meeson (Historic Buildings Consultant). 1999. Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire: Archaeological Watching Brief in August 1999. 22A.
<17>SST3768 - Watching Brief Report: Bob Meeson. 2003. Tamworth Castle: archaeological watching brief in March 2003, Report No 03/09.
<18>SST3767 - Watching Brief Report: Bob Meeson (Historic Buildings Consultant). 2003. Tamworth Castle: Archaeological Watching Brief 31 March 2003.

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