Baynard's Castle, 78m south-west of St Benet Metropolitan Welsh Church


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Greater London Authority
City and County of the City of London (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 31924 80874

Reasons for Designation

An enclosure castle is a defended residence or stronghold, built mainly of stone, in which the principal or sole defence comprises the walls and towers bounding the site. Some form of keep may have stood within the enclosure but this was not significant in defensive terms and served mainly to provide accommodation. Larger sites might have more than one line of walling and there are normally mural towers and gatehouses. Outside the walls a ditch, either water filled or dry, crossed by bridges may be found. The first enclosure castles were constructed at the time of the Norman Conquest. However, they developed considerably in form during the 12th century when defensive experience gained during the Crusades was applied to their design. The majority of examples were constructed in the 13th century although a few were built as late as the 14th century. Some represent reconstructions of earlier medieval earthwork castles of the motte and bailey type, although others were new creations. They provided strongly defended residences for the king or leading families and occur in both urban and rural situations. Enclosure castles are widely dispersed throughout England, with a slight concentration in Kent and Sussex supporting a vulnerable coast, and a strong concentration along the Welsh border where some of the best examples were built under Edward I. They are rare nationally with only 126 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 with respect to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally important. Despite later development, Baynard's Castle 78m south-west of St Benet Metropolitan Welsh Church survives comparatively well. Much of the original layout and foundations are preserved below modern buildings. The site is of major historic interest as a 16th century royal residence and the location of several important events in English history. Below-ground archaeological and environmental information will survive on the site relating to the history and use of the castle and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a medieval enclosure castle surviving as buried archaeological remains below an area of modern development. It is situated on the north side of the River Thames, east of Blackfriars Station in the City of London. The enclosure castle dates from the 13th century but was altered, part-rebuilt and enlarged several times. It is orientated NNE to SSW and is trapezoidal in plan with a longer wall on its southern side and shorter wall to the north. It is about 65m long and varies between about 38m and 55m wide. The remains uncovered by excavation indicate that it was built with four wings around a central courtyard. The foundations of the north wing include the remains of the walls, gatehouse and gate tower. On its southernmost side, which originally fronted the river, is part of the 16th century foundations of a series of five small projecting towers between two large multi-angular end towers. There is a cobbled landward entrance in the north wall. A riverside entrance in one of the small south towers is attested in documentary sources. The surviving internal features identified during excavation include tiled flooring and the remains of a fireplace in the south wing. The castle was extended about 35m WNW in the 16th century with three additional wings of brick construction and stone facing. Baynards Castle was originally founded in the 11th century by William the Conquerer and given to Ralph Baignard. It was demolished in about 1213 and the site was acquired by the Dominicans in 1276. A new castle was built to the east of Blackfriars shortly afterwards. It was damaged by fire in 1428 and rebuilt on reclaimed land by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. It later passed into ownership of Henry VI who granted it to Richard Duke of York. In about 1500, Henry VII transformed it into a royal residence and stayed at the castle on several occasions. It was considerably extended in the 16th century and Henry VIII passed it to several of his wives. After Henry's death it was owned by the Earl of Pembroke and his family. In 1660, Charles II and the 1st Earl of Sandwich took supper at the castle just a few years before it burnt down in the Great Fire of London. The last remaining tower was demolished in 1720. The foundations of the castle were exposed during partial excavation in the early 1970s and 1980s and have been back-filled and preserved by packing below modern buildings including Baynard House, City of London School and its courtyard and playground. Archaeological watching briefs in 1984 and 1994, recorded the foundations and layout of the castle.

Sources: Greater London SMR 041200/00/00, 041200/03/00, 041200/02/00, 041208/00/00, 041202/01/00, 041204/00/00, 041207/00/00, 041200/04/00, 041200/05/00, 041201/00/00, 041202/00/00. NMR TQ38SW497. PastScape 405021. London OS Maps (1:2500): 1878, 1896 and 1916. Gilpin, R, 'When the hole in the ground has been filled in, what kind of an afterlife is there? An investigation into theoretical and practical aspects of post-excavation archiving, with particular reference to the Baynard's Castle archive at the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre'. Unpublished MA dissertation, (2005), University of London


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
LO 135
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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