Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005384
Date first listed: 24-Aug-1935
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 09:03:22.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 40350 51373
Ringwork and bailey with a shell keep castle 955m north west of The Field.
Reasons for Designation
Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. Between the Norman Conquest and the mid-13th century, mainly during the 12th century, a number of motte and bailey castles and ringworks were remodelled in stone. In the case of ringworks, this could involve the replacement of the timber palisade surmounting the defensive bank with a thick stone wall to form a "shell keep". With only 200 examples recorded in England, ringworks are rare nationally and shell keeps constructed on ringworks are particularly rare with only 8 examples known to have been converted in this way. As one of a limited number and very restricted range of Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. During the first English Civil War ‘adulterine castles’ were constructed privately without licence.
Despite subsequent re-use for historic agriculture the ringwork and bailey with a shell keep castle 955m north west of The Field survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social, political, economic and strategic significance over a prolonged period, domestic arrangements, abandonment and subsequent adaptive agricultural re-use and settlement and its overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 May 2015. The 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 ringwork and bailey with a shell keep castle situated on a level area at the foot of the prominent hill called Windmill Knap in the centre of the current settlement of Weobley. The ringwork survives as prominent earthworks including a crescent-shaped bank with ditch to the east and a double ditch with high medial bank to the south and to the north and west the extensive earthworks of a roughly oval enclosed bailey with outer ditch and defences. A plan of the castle drawn by Silas Taylor in 1655 shows it had a rectangular stone keep with round corner towers and approximately 3.6m thick walls set onto a mound in the south of the bailey. This plan suggests the stone keep had a 13th century origin but the castle itself is known from documentary sources to have been much older. It is first mentioned in the reign of King Stephen who captured it in 1140. In 1210 it was occupied by William de Braose lord of Brecon, Huntington and Gower and it is known to have belonged at different times to the Lacy, Verdon, Crophill and Devereaux families. Believed to have originally been an adulterine castle a geophysical survey in 2003 indicated the bailey fell out of use in the 13th century to be replaced by burgage plots until the 14th or 15th centuries which in turn were abandoned in the 16th or 17th centuries and covered instead with ridge and furrow. Partial excavations in 2004 revealed the stone flagstones and robbed out wall of a substantial building connected with the castle although no masonry is visible at the surface. It is known locally as ‘Weobley Castle’.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HE 122
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape 108304, Herefordshire SMR 1068
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