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The buried remains of the medieval fortified house and the C16 privy garden at Thornbury Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.6139 / 51°36'50"N

Longitude: -2.5295 / 2°31'46"W

OS Eastings: 363432.898112

OS Northings: 190697.480596

OS Grid: ST634906

Mapcode National: GBR JT.9GG0

Mapcode Global: VH87X.3PMM

Entry Name: The buried remains of the medieval fortified house and the C16 privy garden at Thornbury Castle

Scheduled Date: 10 July 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1410041

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Thornbury

Built-Up Area: Thornbury

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Thornbury St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The buried remains of a medieval house and a C16 privy garden.

Source: Historic England


The site includes the remains of the medieval manor house, surviving as buried deposits within the area occupied by the C16 Thornbury Castle. The site occupies an area of high ground, sloping steeply to the west and more gently to the north, located immediately to the north of the Church of St Mary the Virgin. The scheduled area consists of the remains of the demolished east range which includes the earlier medieval remains of the previous manor house within and to the east of the inner court, and the archaeological remains of the C16 privy garden within the bounds of the walled garden.

The inner court (buildings listed at Grade I) comprises a set of three ranges flanking a courtyard entered via an inner gateway in the centre of the west range. The east end, which is now open, contains the buried the east range which had been part of the earlier fortified manor house and was later incorporated into the C16 house. Excavations have identified floor tiles, and a resistivity survey revealed the L-shaped range, extending to the east, which corresponds with the 1583 inventory of the castle. The plan has been postulated to include a buttery, porch, old hall, and chapel. The demolished east range is shown to have continued into the walled garden with the tiled remains of a room postulated to have been the lodging of the Duke of Bedford.

The walled garden (walls listed at Grade I) currently exists in two halves, with a lawned area, containing formal gravel paths to the west, and a C19 arrangement of yew hedging to the east. Originally a timber gallery would have run around the perimeter of the current lawned area on three sides, centrally dividing the east and west ends of the walled garden. The evidence of the position of the structure can still be seen in the corbels surviving within the existing garden walls, as well as a first-floor window and doorways, and the south wall of the castle's south range. The results of trial trenching carried out in 1992 revealed that it is likely that the remains of the original C16 garden survive largely intact circa 0.8 -1m below the present lawn.

The upstanding castle buildings, garden walls and all modern fences and unlisted walls, modern surfaces and garden furniture are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The buried remains of the medieval house and the C16 privy garden are included on the Schedule for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the buried remains of the medieval east range of the inner court and the C16 privy garden survive well, retaining considerable evidence for the development of the castle complex;
* Period: they represent a significant part of the historical development of Thornbury Castle, a site which evolved into one of the most important houses of the Tudor period;
* Potential: archaeological investigations have demonstrated that the remains will contribute to our understanding of the development of high-status medieval sites. The buried remains of the C16 garden within the walled garden to the south-east will provide a valuable insight into garden design at that time;
* Group value: the buried remains have strong group value as part of the Thornbury Castle site which includes the upstanding Grade I listed buildings of the Castle itself, the two Grade II listed lodges and the Grade II Registered Park and Garden.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Airs, M, The Tudor and Jacobean County House, (1995)
Bell, R, Bath Archaeological Trust: Thornbury Castle, Avon: An Archaeological Assessment, (1992)
Brooks, A, Verey, D, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire II - The Vale and the Forest of Dean, (2003), 747-749 & 752-755
La Trobe-Bateman, E, Avon Extensive Urban Survey Archaeological Assessment Report: Thornbury , (1996)
Mowl, T, Historic Gardens of Gloucestershire, (2005), 15-20
Rodwell, K, Thornbury Castle banqueting hall, (1995)
Rodwell, K, Thornbury Castle, structural analysis and archaeological investigations in the Outer Court: Report 4, (2002)
Bell, R, Bath Archaeological Trust: Thornbury Castle A Report On The Trial Excavations In The Privy Garden , (1992)
Phillpotts C, Park Farm, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire: Documentary Research Report, 2010,

Source: Historic England

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