Ancient Monuments

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Myddle Castle immediately south of Castle Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Myddle, Broughton and Harmer Hill, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.8069 / 52°48'24"N

Longitude: -2.7895 / 2°47'22"W

OS Eastings: 346873.264821

OS Northings: 323550.156231

OS Grid: SJ468235

Mapcode National: GBR 7G.W6WL

Mapcode Global: WH8B7.3QX1

Entry Name: Myddle Castle immediately south of Castle Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 June 1973

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020061

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32318

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Myddle, Broughton and Harmer Hill

Built-Up Area: Myddle

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Myddle St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork, buried and standing structural remains of
Myddle Castle, a quadrangular castle surrounded by a moat. The castle walls,
including the stair turret, are Listed Grade II.
The castle is considered to be the centre of the manor of Myddle. By 1165 the
manor was acquired by the Lords le Strange of Knockin. As a Marcher Lordship,
the Lord of Myddle was granted a royal licence to crenellate his mansion in
1308. In the late 15th century the manor passed from the le Stranges to the
Stanley family, the Earls of Derby, and in the final decade of the 16th
century the Castle was sold to the Egerton family. Many of the lords,
especially the later ones, were non-resident and the castle was occupied by a
constable or castle-keeper. It functioned as the Court House and the head farm
of the demense - the land under the direct control of the lord of the manor.
John Leland visited the castle in about 1540 and described it as `veri
ruinous'. An earthquake in 1688 is said to have led to a partial collapse of
the structure. Myddle Castle was constructed on a gentle east to north east
facing slope, in an area of undulating land. Little now survives of the moat
as a visible feature, but the earliest large scale Ordnance Survey map
(published in 1881) shows that all the arms contained water and were between
8m and 14m wide. The moat defines a rectangular island approximately 42m east-
west and 48m north-south (maximum dimensions), with a later entrance causeway
across the northern part of the western arm. Material excavated from the moat
was used to raise the surface of the island up to 1.8m above the level of the
surrounding land.
All the moat arms have been subsequently drained and infilled. The southern
and western arms survive as buried features and are included in the
scheduling. The opposing arms have been affected by the insertion of a late
20th century farm building, walls and a yard surface, and hence are not
included in the scheduling.
In his account of Myddle produced at the beginning of the 18th century,
Richard Gough describes the castle as a series of `rooms' set round a
courtyard with a gatehouse at the north eastern corner of the site. He notes a
possible kitchen range on the eastern side, a parlour on the southern side and
a hall on the western side. The early Ordnance Survey map (published in 1881)
also provides some evidence of the castle's building plan. Two extant
retaining walls are set at right angles along the southern and eastern sides
of the island, together with the remains of a stair turret opposite the moat
causeway. The extant walling is shown joining the foundations of other walls.
This map indicates that the size of the castle building, excluding any
ancillary structures, was about 32m east-west and 42m north-south. A small
scale archaeological excavation undertaken in 1966 confirmed the extent of the
castle structure and concluded that the principal living quarters lay on the
western and northern sides of the island. These ranges, together with the
stair turret, are shown in ruins in 18th and 19th century illustrations. The
upper battlemented portion of the turret collapsed in 1976.
All the visible castle walls are built of dressed blocks and neatly coursed.
Red and white sandstone has been used which probably came from the quarries
at Grinshill, 5km to the east. The stair turret stands as the most prominent
feature on the site and was restored in 1849 and 1982. The moulded trefoil-
headed doorway with panelled spandrels provided direct access to the stone
newel stair, the first few steps of which survive. To the south of the stair
turret the remains of a large rectangular window opening at first floor level
confirm the existence of a hall on this side of the castle. A large sandstone
block inscribed with the le Strange crest has been placed next to the remains
of the stair turret.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are: all fences,
gates and modern walls, the surfaces of tracks which surround the site on its
southern and western sides and the electrity pole, the ground beneath all
these features is, however, included.

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

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.

Myddle Castle is the only quadrangular castle in Shropshire, and despite its
alteration with the construction of modern farm buildings it survives as a
significant example of this class of monument. The upstanding and buried
remains of the castle buildings, together with historical illustrations,
documented accounts of the castle and the records of the archaeological
investigation, provide important information contributing to the architectural
study of medieval manorial residences. The artefactual and organic remains
surviving on the moated island and within the surviving arms of the moat will
provide valuable evidence about the various and changing nature of the
activities carried out on the site. The archaeological excavation has helped
to demonstrate the nature and extent of the structural remains and associated
deposits. Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surface under the
raised interior and in the moat will also provide information about the
changes to the local environment and use of the land before and after the
castle was constructed. The importance of the site is further enhanced by the
documentary sources which provide ownership information.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gough, R, The History of Myddle, (1701), 54-58
Hey, D, An English Rural Community Myddle Under the Tudors and Stuarts, (1974), 24-26
Pearson, W, Antiquities of Salop, (1824), 83-85
A print from a book, (1780)
Connell, J, Excavations at Myddle Castle, 1966, Typescript in SMR, with site plan.
Title: Ordnance Survey County Series Map 1:2500 scale
Source Date: 1881

Source: Historic England

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