Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork known as Hanley Castle 520m south of the Church of St. Mary

A Scheduled Monument in Hanley Castle, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.0709 / 52°4'15"N

Longitude: -2.2377 / 2°14'15"W

OS Eastings: 383803.132264

OS Northings: 241420.972407

OS Grid: SO838414

Mapcode National: GBR 1HN.52Y

Mapcode Global: VH93D.56CS

Entry Name: Ringwork known as Hanley Castle 520m south of the Church of St. Mary

Scheduled Date: 26 January 1970

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005280

English Heritage Legacy ID: WT 281

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Hanley Castle

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Hanley Castle with Hanley Swan

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the remains of a ringwork, a keep and a house situated at the confluence of Pool Brook and Mere Brook. The ringwork, known as Hanley Castle, survives as three sides of a large banked enclosure with a moated quarry ditch, a keep and the remains of a house. The bank and moat encloses a sub rectangular area approximately 155m by 100m. The bank is up to 6m high on the western side and between 1.5m and 3m on the south and eastern sides. The bank has been has been used to infil the moat ditch on the northern side. Excavation during the early 1980's found the ditch to be clay lined and up to 18m wide and between 2.7m and 3.6m deep. The keep survives as a circular concave depression about 5m in diameter situated in the north western corner of the enclosure. Foundation walls approximately 2.7m thick were excavated in its vicinity. The buried remains of Hanley Castle House are located at the north of the site.
Hanley Castle was built by King John between 1206 and 1212. Between 1322 and 1327 Edward II carried out extensive work on the castle. Tradition states that in 1324 Edward II put over one thousand diggers to work constructing the bank and ditch. A chapel was recorded here in 1327 and in 1349 the castle was extended. During the 17th century a large square structure including four towers surrounded by a moat with a keep in the north western corner was recorded here.

Sources: NMR:- SO 84 SW 3
Pastscape Monument No:- 116014
Hancox, E. & Russell, O. 2009., Recent Changes to Scheduled Monuments in Worcestershire. Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. Despite some disruption by later use and partial excavation, the ringwork known as Hanley Castle survives comparatively well. Hanley Castle has good historical documentation and the documented phase of royal remodelling in particular greatly enhances the importance of the site. The monument will contain important archaeological information relating to the use, construction and occupation of the ringwork.

Source: Historic England

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