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Duke of Bedford's Castle, 140m south east of Castle Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Fulbrook, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.2405 / 52°14'25"N

Longitude: -1.6349 / 1°38'5"W

OS Eastings: 425029.787392

OS Northings: 260322.472828

OS Grid: SP250603

Mapcode National: GBR 5MN.FJ0

Mapcode Global: VHBXN.MY29

Entry Name: Duke of Bedford's Castle, 140m SE of Castle Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 June 1973

Last Amended: 13 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011373

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21553

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Fulbrook

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Sherbourne All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated on Castle Hill within the parish of Fulbrook and
includes the site known as the Duke of Bedford's Castle.
With the exception of brick, tile and pottery scatters on the ground surface
of Castle Hill, there is no surface evidence of the quadrangular castle known
to be here. However, the site has been identified from aerial photographs
which provide valuable information for the layout of the castle which survives
as buried remains.
The castle occupies an area of less than 0.25ha and does not appear to have
been defended by any form of earthwork. It has been built around a central
courtyard, or ward, which measures approximately 20m east-west and 15m
north-south. The plan of the castle, including its corridors and individual
rooms, can be identified from aerial photographs and these masonry structures
will survive as buried features below the plough soil.
An excavation in c.1790 located a vault or a cellar at the site which is
thought to have originally formed the base of a tower.
In the 1420s Fulbrook was held by John, Duke of Bedford, who is considered
responsible for the construction of the castle. It was located within a park
and was described by Leland as 'a praty castle made of stone and brike'. After
the Duke's death in 1435, the site passed to Henry VI. By 1478, however, the
castle was ruinous. Leland states that the castle ruins were considered an
eyesore by the Earls of Warwick and, as a result, it was further demolished by
Sir William Crompton, the keeper of Fulbrook Park, during the reign of Henry

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A quadrangular castle is a strongly fortified residence built of stone, or
sometimes brick, around a square or rectangular courtyard. The outer walls
formed a defensive line, frequently with towers sited on the corners and
occasionally in intermediate positions as well. Some of the very strongly
defended examples have additional external walls. Ditches, normally wet but
sometimes dry, were also found outside the walls. Two main types of
quadrangular castle have been identified. In the southern type, the angle and
intermediate mural towers were most often round in plan and projected markedly
from the enclosing wall. In the northern type, square angle towers, often of
massive proportions, were constructed, these projecting only slightly from the
main wall. Within the castle, accommodation was provided in the towers or in
buildings set against the walls which opened onto the central courtyard. An
important feature of quadrangular castles was that they were planned and built
to an integrated, often symmetrical, design. Once built, therefore, they did
not lend themselves easily to modification. The earliest and finest examples
of this class of castle are found in Wales, dating from 1277, but they also
began to appear in England at the same time. Most examples were built in the
14th century but the tradition extended into the 15th century. Later examples
demonstrate an increasing emphasis on domestic comfort to the detriment of
defence and, indeed, some late examples are virtually defenceless. They
provided residences for the king or leading families and occur in both rural
and urban situations. Quadrangular castles are widely dispersed throughout
England with a slight concentration in Kent and Sussex protecting a vulnerable
coastline and routes to London. Other concentrations are found in the north
near the Scottish border and also in the west on the Welsh border. They are
rare nationally with only 64 recorded examples of which 44 are of southern
type and 20 are of northern type. Considerable diversity of form is exhibited
with no two examples being exactly alike. With other types of castle, 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 of national importance.

Aerial photographs and partial excavation have indicated the survival of
structural and artefactual evidence for the type and period of occupation, and
for the economy of the castle's inhabitants. Only a small proportion of the
site has been excavated and, despite ploughing, substantial deposits will
survive undisturbed. The importance of the Duke of Bedford's Castle is
enhanced by the survival of detailed documentary records, which record it as
an early example of the use of brick.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire , (1949), 91-2
Toulmin-Smith, L, The Itinerary of John Leland, 1535-43, (1908), 47-8
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeologiacl Society' in Castles in Warwickshire, , Vol. 67, (1947), 30
Webster, G, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in The West Midlands In The Roman Period, , Vol. 86, (1974), 55

Source: Historic England

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