Hemyock Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 13516 13287


Quadrangular castle called Hemyock Castle.

Reasons for Designation

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. Ditches, normally wet, were also found outside the walls. 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. Most examples were built in the 14th century but the tradition extended into the 15th century. They provided residences for the king or leading families and occur in both rural and urban situations 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. Hemyock Castle survives comparatively well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, use and landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a quadrangular castle known as Hemyock Castle situated on the southern valley side of the River Culm, close to its tributary the Lickham Bottom and beside St Margaret’s Brook. The castle survives as a rectangular area enclosed by curtain walls, circular angle towers, interval towers, and a gatehouse all surrounded by a moat. The towers and curtain walls survive as both partially standing structures and buried features. The gatehouse to the east is flanked by two circular towers up to 6m high with an arched gateway. To the north east and north west are the partially standing remains of two angle towers with an interval tower between and all are connected by the curtain wall. Attached to the north of the curtain wall is an oubliette. The interval tower on the south side is also partially standing and the footings for the interval tower on the western side project into the moat. The surrounding moat is partially water filled surviving elsewhere as a buried feature. The interior of the castle is also included.

During the 12th century the Hidon family built a fortified manor. In 1380 Richard II granted Sir William and Lady Asthorpe a licence to crenellate. Sir William was a courtier and Sheriff of Devon in the 1380’s. He was later incarcerated in the Fleet prison for embezzlement and corrupt practices during his time in office but was pardoned by Richard II. By the 17th century the castle belonged to Sir John Popham, who as Lord Chief Justice sentenced Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Raleigh and Guy Fawkes to death. During the Civil War the castle was garrisoned by the Pophams for Parliament and used to imprison Royalists. There was a siege in 1644 and it was captured by the Royalists. It was then recaptured and held for Parliament until the Restoration, when King Charles II ordered it to be slighted. In the 1790’s it was owned by General John Graves Simcoe who abolished slavery in Upper Canada when he was Lt. Governor.

Hemyock Castle Gatehouse and Curtain Walls are listed at Grade II* and Hemyock Castle House is listed at Grade II.


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

Legacy System number:
DV 328
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 188945


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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