Duke of Bedford's Castle, 140m SE of Castle Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011373

Date first listed: 22-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Duke of Bedford's Castle, 140m SE of Castle Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Fulbrook

National Grid Reference: SP 25031 60322


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. Some of the very strongly defended examples have additional external walls. Ditches, normally wet but sometimes dry, were also found outside the walls. Two main types of quadrangular castle have been identified. In the southern type, the angle and intermediate mural towers were most often round in plan and projected markedly from the enclosing wall. In the northern type, square angle towers, often of massive proportions, were constructed, these projecting only slightly from the main wall. 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. The earliest and finest examples of this class of castle are found in Wales, dating from 1277, but they also began to appear in England at the same time. Most examples were built in the 14th century but the tradition extended into the 15th century. Later examples demonstrate an increasing emphasis on domestic comfort to the detriment of defence and, indeed, some late examples are virtually defenceless. They provided residences for the king or leading families and occur in both rural and urban situations. Quadrangular castles are widely dispersed throughout England with a slight concentration in Kent and Sussex protecting a vulnerable coastline and routes to London. Other concentrations are found in the north near the Scottish border and also in the west on the Welsh border. They are rare nationally with only 64 recorded examples of which 44 are of southern type and 20 are of northern type. 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. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be of national importance.

Aerial photographs and partial excavation have indicated the survival of structural and artefactual evidence for the type and period of occupation, and for the economy of the castle's inhabitants. Only a small proportion of the site has been excavated and, despite ploughing, substantial deposits will survive undisturbed. The importance of the Duke of Bedford's Castle is enhanced by the survival of detailed documentary records, which record it as an early example of the use of brick.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is situated on Castle Hill within the parish of Fulbrook and includes the site known as the Duke of Bedford's Castle. With the exception of brick, tile and pottery scatters on the ground surface of Castle Hill, there is no surface evidence of the quadrangular castle known to be here. However, the site has been identified from aerial photographs which provide valuable information for the layout of the castle which survives as buried remains. The castle occupies an area of less than 0.25ha and does not appear to have been defended by any form of earthwork. It has been built around a central courtyard, or ward, which measures approximately 20m east-west and 15m north-south. The plan of the castle, including its corridors and individual rooms, can be identified from aerial photographs and these masonry structures will survive as buried features below the plough soil. An excavation in c.1790 located a vault or a cellar at the site which is thought to have originally formed the base of a tower. In the 1420s Fulbrook was held by John, Duke of Bedford, who is considered responsible for the construction of the castle. It was located within a park and was described by Leland as 'a praty castle made of stone and brike'. After the Duke's death in 1435, the site passed to Henry VI. By 1478, however, the castle was ruinous. Leland states that the castle ruins were considered an eyesore by the Earls of Warwick and, as a result, it was further demolished by Sir William Crompton, the keeper of Fulbrook Park, during the reign of Henry VIII.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 21553

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire , (1949), 91-2
Toulmin-Smith, L, The Itinerary of John Leland, 1535-43, (1908), 47-8
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeologiacl Society' in Castles in Warwickshire, , Vol. 67, (1947), 30
Webster, G, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in The West Midlands In The Roman Period, , Vol. 86, (1974), 55

End of official listing