Gidleigh Castle (remains of)
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1004603
Date first listed: 13-Nov-1963
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 67047 88433
Fortified house known as Gidleigh Castle.
Reasons for Designation
Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, and service and storage areas. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. Gidleigh Castle is an early example of the type and survives well with the tower reaching a significant height. It will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence both in the upstanding fabric and as buried features relating to its construction, use and landscape context.
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 fortified house and nearby building situated in the valley of a tributary to the North River Teign. Gidleigh Castle survives as a rectangular tower with an external stair turret and part of an ancillary structure to the north together with a further building to the north east. The tower survives as a two storied structure measuring 10.6m long by 8m wide internally with walls up to 2m thick. There is a barrel vaulted undercroft with an external entrance and an intramural staircase to the room above. To the south east is an external stair turret providing the principal access to the first floor, this room is interpreted as a hall. The hall has a fireplace, two windows and a connecting door to the now missing northern upper chamber or solar. The northern cell was 7.9m long by 5.5m wide internally and is preserved largely as a buried structure only partially visible above ground level. The rectangular building to the north east of the tower has been interpreted as an outer range of castle buildings or a longhouse. It measures up to 40m long, 7m wide and has walls up to 2m high and 0.6m wide. The building is divided by two cross walls into a three almost equally sized rooms. A stone culvert with a round arched cover extends from the north east measuring about 0.5m wide and deep. The external openings in the building face east. Immediately adjoining the north west of the building is a circular paved area approximately 6.4m in diameter. This is surrounded by a ring of seven evenly spaced 2m high granite posts which have iron pegs at the top. Between the posts is a 0.4m high kerb. This is probably a horse mill for crushing corn. Gidleigh Castle was erected in 1316 by Sir William Prowse and shows similar construction to Okehampton Castle. Repairs were carried out between 1925 and 1965.
The fortified house is Listed Grade I.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 135
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 443533
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