Ancient Monuments

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Gidleigh Castle (remains of)

A Scheduled Monument in Gidleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6804 / 50°40'49"N

Longitude: -3.8832 / 3°52'59"W

OS Eastings: 267048.698791

OS Northings: 88435.377943

OS Grid: SX670884

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.KJ77

Mapcode Global: FRA 27R8.WHJ

Entry Name: Gidleigh Castle (remains of)

Scheduled Date: 13 November 1963

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004603

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 135

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Gidleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Gidleigh Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Fortified house known as Gidleigh Castle.

Source: Historic England


This 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 fortified house and nearby building situated in the valley of a tributary to the North River Teign. Gidleigh Castle survives as a rectangular tower with an external stair turret and part of an ancillary structure to the north together with a further building to the north east. The tower survives as a two storied structure measuring 10.6m long by 8m wide internally with walls up to 2m thick. There is a barrel vaulted undercroft with an external entrance and an intramural staircase to the room above. To the south east is an external stair turret providing the principal access to the first floor, this room is interpreted as a hall. The hall has a fireplace, two windows and a connecting door to the now missing northern upper chamber or solar. The northern cell was 7.9m long by 5.5m wide internally and is preserved largely as a buried structure only partially visible above ground level. The rectangular building to the north east of the tower has been interpreted as an outer range of castle buildings or a longhouse. It measures up to 40m long, 7m wide and has walls up to 2m high and 0.6m wide. The building is divided by two cross walls into a three almost equally sized rooms. A stone culvert with a round arched cover extends from the north east measuring about 0.5m wide and deep. The external openings in the building face east. Immediately adjoining the north west of the building is a circular paved area approximately 6.4m in diameter. This is surrounded by a ring of seven evenly spaced 2m high granite posts which have iron pegs at the top. Between the posts is a 0.4m high kerb. This is probably a horse mill for crushing corn. Gidleigh Castle was erected in 1316 by Sir William Prowse and shows similar construction to Okehampton Castle. Repairs were carried out between 1925 and 1965.

The fortified house is Listed Grade I.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, and 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, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. Gidleigh Castle is an early example of the type and survives well with the tower reaching a significant height. It will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence both in the upstanding fabric and as buried features relating to its construction, use and landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 443533

Source: Historic England

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