Ancient Monuments

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Bredwardine Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Brobury with Monnington on Wye, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0935 / 52°5'36"N

Longitude: -2.9716 / 2°58'17"W

OS Eastings: 333531.94294

OS Northings: 244349.43951

OS Grid: SO335443

Mapcode National: GBR F7.B9HR

Mapcode Global: VH77W.FNW0

Entry Name: Bredwardine Castle

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1933

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1001777

English Heritage Legacy ID: HE 41

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Brobury with Monnington on Wye

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Bredwardine with Brobury

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


Motte and bailey castle, fishponds and a later fortified house 350m east of Town House Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 May 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a motte and bailey castle with fishponds and a later fortified house situated on a natural rise on the western bank of the River Wye. The castle bailey survives as a roughly rectangular scarped platform with an outer bank standing up to 1.5m high and to the south an oval ditched mound or motte topped with the foundations of a rectangular masonry ‘keep’ - the fortified house - which measures approximately 23.7m by 13.7m and from which a western bay and two lengths of curtain wall project. Further south are the earthworks for at least two rectangular and partially backfilled fish ponds.

The motte and bailey is known from documentary evidence to have been built by the Bredwardine family around the time of Domesday and to have been held by the Baskerville family in 1227. Later it was owned by Lord Penkeltyn, referred to as ‘Castleplace’ and already described as ‘abandoned’ by 1374. The masonry structure built onto the castle motte is widely seen as the fortified house of the Vaughan family known from documents in 1640 and was the subject of partial excavation in 1956. It is known locally as ‘Bredwardine Castle’. The site was subject to an earthwork survey in 2002.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are scheduled separately but others are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte-and-bailey castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They may be dug into the ground, embanked above ground level, or formed by placing a dam across a narrow valley. The ponds may be of the same size or of several different sizes with each pond being stocked with different species or ages of fish. The size of the pond was related to function, with large ponds thought to have had a storage capability whilst smaller, shallower ponds were used for fish cultivation and breeding. Fishponds were maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet channels carrying water from a river or stream, a series of sluices set into the bottom of the dam and along the channels and leats, and an overflow leat which controlled fluctuations in water flow and prevented flooding. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They were largely built by the wealthy sectors of society with monastic institutions and royal residences often having large and complex fishponds. The difficulties of obtaining fresh meat in the winter and the value placed on fish as a food source and for status may have been factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. The practice of constructing fishponds declined after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century although in some areas it continued into the 17th century. Most fishponds fell out of use during the post-medieval period. Most fishponds were located close to villages, manors or monasteries or within parks so that a watch could be kept on them to prevent poaching. Fishponds are important for their associations with other classes of medieval monument and in providing evidence of site economy.

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. They are associated with individuals or families of high status. The nature of the fortification varies, but their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries.

Despite some reduction in the heights of the earthworks the motte and bailey castle 350m east of Town House Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, function, social, economic, political and strategic significance, agricultural and fisheries practices, domestic arrangements, adaptive re-use, abandonment and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 106095, Herefordshire SMR 1564 and 7181

Source: Historic England

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