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Baginton Castle, associated settlement remains, ponds and mill sites

A Scheduled Monument in Baginton, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.3688 / 52°22'7"N

Longitude: -1.4991 / 1°29'56"W

OS Eastings: 434204.05476

OS Northings: 274646.154519

OS Grid: SP342746

Mapcode National: GBR 6ML.KSK

Mapcode Global: VHBX4.YQWF

Entry Name: Baginton Castle, associated settlement remains, ponds and mill sites

Scheduled Date: 16 October 1936

Last Amended: 22 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011193

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21540

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Baginton

Built-Up Area: Coventry

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Baginton St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated approximately 80m west of St John the Baptist's
Church in Baginton and is contained in two separate areas. It includes the
standing and buried remains of Baginton Castle and the earthwork remains of an
associated medieval settlement. It also includes parts of a water-management
system, the earthwork remains of a watermill and a 19th century gazebo.
Baginton Castle is situated in a commanding position on the natural escarpment
of a plateau running north west-south east above the flood plain of the River
Sowe. It is primarily a motte castle which was altered in the late 14th
century to form a tower keep castle, the standing remains of which are Listed
Grade II and are included in the scheduling. The sloping sides of the plateau
form the defences of the motte on its southern and western edges and the
eastern defences have been strengthened by the construction of a ditch. The
ditch now measures up to 30m wide. The northern and north western edges of the
motte have been damaged by quarrying activities and no evidence for the
northern defences of the castle is now visible. The quarry has been infilled
and is not included in the scheduling. The flat-topped motte now measures 40m
north-south and approximately 60m east-west. The eastern edge of the motte has
been altered with the construction of the tower keep. There is no surface
evidence of structures associated with the motte castle but these will survive
as buried features beneath the ground surface, even though the surface of the
motte was levelled in the 18th century and in the 19th century the southern
part was artificially raised and a gazebo was built at its southern edge. The
lower courses of the stone-built gazebo are visible above the ground surface.
The motte is considered to have been associated with an adjacent ward area to
the east. There is no surface evidence to suggest that the ward area was
defined by defensive earthworks although the steeply sloping sides of the
plateau form a natural southern boundary to this area. Quarrying activities
have destroyed the northern part of this area and the original northern extent
of the ward is not known.
In the late 14th century a tower keep, built of ashlar with a rubble core, was
added to the earthworks of Baginton Castle by Sir William Bagot, who purchased
the castle in 1381. The tower keep has been constructed within the ditch at
the eastern edge of the motte and the original line of the ditch has been
altered to run around it. A stone retaining bank is visible on the western
edge of the motte ditch. An excavation between 1933-48 uncovered the lower
storey of the tower keep. The keep has external dimensions of 16m east-west
and 24m north-south and its walls are 1.5m thick. It has been constructed on
levelled bedrock. There are the remains of a chimney and a stair turret in the
western wall of the keep and a garderobe at the south west corner; its shaft
has been built into the thickness of the keep wall. Finds associated with the
occupation of the tower keep were removed during the excavation, including
more than two thousand heraldic floor tiles, which are considered to have been
from the floor of a collapsed upper room, and a large quantity of ex situ
masonry. The tower keep was levelled and infilled during the 18th century when
the site was owned by the Bromley family.
An excavation in the quarry face to the east of the tower keep between 1960-62
revealed the remains of three substantial buildings which were dated to the
13th and 14th centuries. The structures were situated in the ward area to the
east of the tower keep and are considered to have been associated with the
occupation of the castle.
The excavation of the quarry face also located the floor of a Saxon sunken hut
or Grubenhaus. Pottery associated with the Grubenhaus dates the structure to
the sixth century and provides evidence of the early occupation on the site,
predating the foundation of Baginton Castle.
The remains of part of an associated medieval settlement are situated on a
terrace at the base of the plateau and are approximately 140m south east of
the tower keep. The settlement remains include part of a hollow way which runs
west-east and is partly bounded by platforms and three small closes. The
southern edge of the settlement remains are defined by a slight boundary bank.
It is unclear how far the medieval settlement extended eastwards beyond the
present field boundary.
Approximately 230m south east of the tower keep at Baginton Castle are the
earthwork remains of three dry ponds, their retaining banks and the site of a
watermill. These features are contained within the second area. The ponds were
formed by damming the small stream within its narrow, steep valley. The dam
for the eastern pond measures up to 50m in length and a sample section of the
floor of this pond to the east is included in the scheduling. This dam has
been partly rebuilt in recent times. Immediately to the north west of the dam
for the eastern pond are the lower courses of a brick structure which
represents the final phases of a watermill and is included in the scheduling.
There is no surface evidence of the wheel-pit which will survive as a buried
feature beneath the ground surface. The dam for the central pond measures 45m
in length and the dam for the western pond is 40m long and of crescentic plan.
There is a small claypit to the south of the retaining bank for the central
pond which is considered to have provided the earth for the construction of
the dams. This feature is included in the scheduling. The ponds are mapped on
the 1841 tithe map of the area. The siting of the ponds and the watermill,
close to Baginton Castle and its associated settlement clearly suggests that
these are the remains of the manorial mills of the manor of Baginton.
After the death of Sir William Bagot in 1407 Baginton Castle passed to his
daughter, who died without issue. In 1417 the castle was purchased by Richard
Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and it remained the property of the Beauchamps
until 1471 when it was presented to the Dean and Chapter of St Mary's
Collegiate Church in Warwick. In 1539 the President of the College refused
Thomas Cromwell's offer to purchase the estate as it was their only source of
timber and also included a stone quarry. By 1545 Baginton Castle was owned by
Francis Goodere. Leland visited the site between 1536-45 and described the
castle as desolate. In 1618 the estate was purchased from the Goodere family
by William Bromley and by 1630 Baginton Castle was in ruins.
The modern storage building at the north eastern corner of the site, the oval
earthworks, 40m south of the tower keep, which form part of the remains of a
World War II tank testing course to the south of Baginton Castle, and all
fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A tower keep castle is a strongly fortified residence in which the keep is the
principal defensive feature. The keep may be free-standing or surrounded by a
defensive enclosure; they are normally square in shape, although other shapes
are known. Internally they have several floors providing accommodation of
various types. If the keep has an attached enclosure this will normally be
defined by a defensive wall, frequently with an external ditch. Access into
the enclosure was provided by a bridge across the ditch, allowing entry via a
gatehouse. Additional buildings, including stabling for animals and workshops,
may be found within the enclosure. Tower keep castles were built throughout
the medieval period, from immediately after the Norman Conquest to the mid-
15th century, with a peak in the middle of the 12th century. A few were
constructed on the sites of earlier earthwork castle types but most were new
creations. They provided strongly fortified residences for the king or leading
families and occur in both urban or rural situations. Tower keep castles are
widely dispersed throughout England with a major concentration on the Welsh
border. They are rare nationally with only 104 recorded examples. Considerable
diversity of form is exhibited with no two examples being exactly alike. With
other castle types, they are major medieval monument types which, belonging to
the highest levels of society, frequently acted as major administrative
centres and formed the foci for developing settlement patterns. Castles
generally provide an emotive and evocative link to the past and can provide a
valuable educational resource, both with respect to medieval warfare and
defence, and to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining
significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally

The castle at Baginton survives well and is largely unencumbered by modern
development. The associated medieval settlement remains also survive well and
will contain evidence of building plots and field and property boundaries,
allowing an interpretation of layout, function and date of the settlement.
Partial excavation within Baginton Castle, itself, has revealed artefacts and
structural remains dating from the 14th century onwards and evidence of
further medieval buildings and associated artefacts will survive in the
unexcavated parts. Excavation along the northern and eastern boundary of the
monument has indicated the presence of structures beneath the ground surface
in the north eastern part of the site which will retain evidence for the
economy and occupation of the site both prior to and following the
construction of Baginton Castle. Only a small proportion of the whole of the
monument has been excavated and deposits survive undisturbed.
The ponds and watermill sites to the south east of Baginton Castle also
survive in a good condition and are considered to be important because of
their association with Baginton Castle and its associated settlement. They
will retain valuable information regarding the internal economy of both castle
and settlement through an extended period of time.
Baginton Castle is an unusual example of a motte castle that has been
converted to a tower keep. Both this, and its association with the
setttlement remains, the ponds and the watermill site make it important for
the study of Norman Britain and for the development of the feudal system
through the Middle Ages.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Hartshill, (1947), 22
Edwards, J H, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Baginton Castle Excavations, , Vol. 69, (1951), 44-9
Edwards, J H, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Baginton Castle Excavations, , Vol. 69, (1951), 46
Edwards, J H, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Baginton Castle Excavations, , Vol. 69, (1951), 44
Edwards, J H, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Baginton Castle Excavations, , Vol. 69, (1951), 47
Wilkins, G G, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in A Section of a Gravel Pit at Baginton, , Vol. 87, (1975), 112-25
Title: Tithe Map
Source Date: 1841

Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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