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Kingsbury Hall: a medieval enclosure castle and post-medieval house

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Kingsbury Hall: a medieval enclosure castle and post-medieval house

List entry Number: 1019978

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: North Warwickshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Kingsbury

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 16-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 33139

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

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 waterfilled 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.

The medieval enclosure castle at Kingsbury Hall survives well as a series of standing remains and buried deposits. The buried remains will preserve valuable evidence of the layout, construction and subsequent alterations to the complex. Established and maintained by one well-known family over a period of 400 years, it will contribute to an understanding of the development of a high status component of the medieval and post-medieval landscape.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval enclosure castle known as Kingsbury Hall, including a curtain wall and a house, occupying a bluff overlooking the River Tame. In 1086 land at Kingsbury was held by Countess Godiva and later was in the hands of the king. In 1208 it passed to John de Bracebridge, and the manor subsequently descended via the de Bracebridge family. In the mid-16th century the manor house was leased to Sir Ambrose Cave, passing to the Willoughby family in the late 16th century and subsequently to the Astons. In the 19th century it became part of Sir Robert Peel's estate. Alterations and additions were made during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and the house remained in occupation until the 20th century. The house was formerly part of a larger complex of buildings enclosed by the curtain wall. The curtain wall includes standing remains to the south and east thought to date from the 14th century. The walls are constructed of coursed sandstone, and measure about 1.5m in width, standing up to 5.5m high with a semi- octagonal tower located at the south east angle. The east curtain wall measures approximately 28m in length with an arched gateway, about 3m in width, located about halfway along the length of the wall, which is thought to have provided the principal access to the complex. Repairs to the fabric on the external face of the wall around the gateway suggest the former presence of a gatehouse. It is believed that the east wall extended further to the north and will survive as a buried feature. The tower at the south east angle measures about 4.5m in width with a quarter octagonal turret on the west side accommodating a garderobe. The south curtain wall measures approximately 21m in length and includes, at the west end, the remains of a second tower, also accommodating a garderobe. The south curtain wall is believed to have originally extended to the west, as far as the bluff overlooking the river, and will survive as a buried feature. The curtain wall and gateway are Listed Grade II. The three-storey house is built chiefly in sandstone and includes a block of three adjoining ranges, two aligned east-west and one north-south dating from the late 15th or early 16th century, with a post-medieval wing extending at right angles to the north. It is a Listed Building Grade II*. The roof is of tile and slate. The southern range, aligned east-west, measures approximately 23m by 8m. The west gable wall of this range was rebuilt in brick in the 18th century. The south wall includes rectangular windows with stone mouldings, some blocked with brick and some having later windows built into the original openings; near the east end of the wall is a chimney stack of stone and brick. On the east wall repairs have been made to the fabric which indicate the position of a former porch that provided access to the first floor; the two windows flanking the former porch are now blocked with brick or boards. At the second, or attic, floor there is a four-light stone mullioned window with a central transom. Adjoining the north side of this range is another, parallel range measuring approximately 12m by 8m. The western end of this range, which projects 3m beyond that of the south range, is stone-built with a curved gable head, thought to date from the late 16th or early 17th century. The gable wall includes a window on each floor; the window at ground floor level is blocked with boards and the upper storeys have stone mullioned windows. The north wall of this range includes a stone window with a later, 19th century window built into the original opening, and 19th century windows set in brick. Attached to the eastern end of this range is a third, smaller range, measuring 9m by 5.5m and aligned north-south. The north gable wall has a doorway and window on the ground floor, a 19th century window inserted into a partly blocked stone window on the first floor and a four-light stone mullioned window on the attic floor, together with a two-light stone window at eaves level where the two ranges join. A doorway in the east wall of this range leads to an internal curving oak stair providing the only access to the attic floor of all three ranges. The late 18th century or early 19th century wing, which adjoins the north west part of the house, measures approximately 8.5m by 6m and provides accommodation on two floors. It is built principally in brick with an east wall of regularly coursed stone blocks. The east wall includes a stone and brick chimney stack and there are windows in each of the external walls. Access to the wing is provided internally from the west end of the north range. Internally the ground floors of the three ranges are provided with domestic accommodation. On the first floor of the south range there is one large room, about 13m in length, thought to represent the original main hall, which was later subdivided, with a 16th century fireplace provided towards the east end. A further two chambers, both provided with fireplaces, are located at the west end of the south range. In the north range the first floor includes domestic accommodation, provided with fireplaces, and including a 17th century oak partition. The attic floor accommodation includes a single room, running the length of the southern range, with exposed beams, and a parallel, shorter room in the north range with a fireplace. The house was originally part of a larger complex, bounded by the curtain wall, with ancillary buildings believed to have been located within the enclosure to the south east of the house. A wall constructed of coursed blocks of sandstone runs from the south east corner of the house to the south curtain wall and is thought to have been part of this complex. The remains of former ancillary buildings will survive as buried features. All fences, storage tanks and modern brick outbuildings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Salzman, LF (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Volume IV, (1947), 100-105

National Grid Reference: SP 21404 96323

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing