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Alberbury Castle: tower keep castle 70m south west of the Church of St Michael and All Angels

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: Alberbury Castle: tower keep castle 70m south west of the Church of St Michael and All Angels

List entry Number: 1020662

Location

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

County:

District: Shropshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Alberbury with Cardeston

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 16-May-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Jul-2002

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34923

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

A tower keep castle is a strongly fortified residence in which the keep is the principal defensive feature. The keep may be free-standing or surrounded by a defensive enclosure; they are normally square in shape, although other shapes are known. Internally they have several floors providing accommodation of various types. If the keep has an attached enclosure this will normally be defined by a defensive wall, frequently with an external ditch. Access into the enclosure was provided by a bridge across the ditch, allowing entry via a gatehouse. Additional buildings, including stabling for animals and workshops, may be found within the enclosure. Tower keep castles were built throughout the medieval period, from immediately after the Norman Conquest to the mid- 15th century, with a peak in the middle of the 12th century. A few were constructed on the sites of earlier earthwork castle types but most were new creations. They provided strongly fortified residences for the king or leading families and occur in both urban or rural situations. Tower keep castles are widely dispersed throughout England with a major concentration on the Welsh border. They are rare nationally with only 104 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 to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally important.

Alberbury Castle is a good example of this class of monument. The structural details that are evident from the standing remains provide valuable evidence about the changing nature of military architecture and the domestic requirements of the nobility in the Welsh Marches during the 13th and 14th centuries. The proximity of Alberbury Castle to Wattlesborough Castle allows comparisions and distinctions to be made about the roles tower keep castles played in this region. At Alberbury, structural features and associated deposits within the interior of the tower keep and around the exterior are expected to survive well, buried under fallen masonry. These deposits are likely to contain artefacts and organic remains which will provide significant information about the activities and lifestyles of those who inhabited the castle. In addition, documentary sources provide information about the castle's owners in the 13th and 14th centuries. During the post-medieval period the remains of the castle assumed a new importance as a feature within the recently created designed landscape of Loton Park. The castle remains a prominent feature within the landscape.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the standing structural and buried remains of Alberbury Castle. It is situated very close to the present border between England and Wales, on a gentle rise above the flood plain of the River Severn, and is overlooked by higher ground to the south. The castle is located 70m south west of the Church of St Michael and All Angels, which dates from the 12th century. The standing cross in the churchyard is the subject of a separate scheduling. The castle also lies 1.78km to the north of Wattlesborough Castle, a tower keep castle, dating from the 12th or 13th century, which is also the subject of a separate scheduling. Alberbury Castle was probably built by Fulk Fitz Warin (III) in the early 13th century, when it appears to have been the centre of the manor of Alberbury. Descendants of Fulk Fitz Warin (III) are known to have retained the lordship of the manor until the mid-14th century. Fulk Glas (II), who was apparently resident at Alberbury in 1327 and 1332, is known to have been lord of the manor until 1347. In the late 14th century the descent of the manor becomes obscure, and it is also unclear how long the castle continued to be occupied. A map of 1579 clearly shows the castle as an unenclosed, rectangular roofed structure. Documentary sources indicate that in the early 17th century there was a large house nearby at Loton. This house appears to have been replaced by Loton Park Hall, located 350m to the north west, built in the late 17th century. It would seem likely that by this time the castle had little function other than possibly as a lodge adjacent to the main drive to the Hall. A drawing of the castle indicates that by the late 18th century the structure was roofless and in ruins. The tower keep is constructed of irregularly coursed Alberbury breccia, a locally derived stone. Dressed sandstone was used around the window openings and as corbels (upper floor supports). The building is rectangular in plan and measures approximately 13.5m by 17m. The walls, which are about 2.3m wide at ground level, stand to a maximum height of about 9m. The structural evidence suggests that the building was originally two storeys high. The hall, used for ceremonial and public occasions, and the private chambers were situated on the first floor. The ground floor was probably used mainly for storage. There is no evidence on either floor of internal masonry cross walls or sub-divisions. The configuration of the window openings, their irregular heights and sizes, suggest changes in the arrangement of rooms as the need for defence became secondary to comfort and convenience as a dwelling. These structural alterations probably relate to the more peaceful conditions in the region following the conquest of Wales by Edward I in the late 13th century. The castle is a Listed Building Grade II*. Probably between the mid-17th and the mid-18th century a substantial stone wall was built to enclose the remains of the tower keep and the ground towards the church. This enclosure, previously viewed as part of the castle's defences, is now considered to have been constructed as a way of enhancing the visual impact of the castle as a feature within Loton Park Hall estate. The enclosure wall is a Listed Building Grade II* (with the castle), and the estate wall adjoining the tower keep to the south is a Listed Building Grade II. The enclosure wall and estate wall, the iron ladder fixed to the wall within the interior of the tower keep, the fence posts, and the shed and store to the south, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.



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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire : Volume VIII, (1968), 195-96
The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire : Volume VIII, (1968), 199
Wheatley, J G J, Jefferson, D, Alberbury Castle, Shropshire, (1998)
Wheatley, J G J, Jefferson, D, Alberbury Castle, Shropshire, (1998)
'Transactions of Shropshire Archaeological Society - 3rd Series' in Alberbury Castle, (1908)
'Transactions of Shropshire Archaeological Society - 3rd Series' in Alberbury Castle, (1908)
'Transactions of Shropshire Archaeological Society - 3rd Series' in Village of Alberbury in 1780, , Vol. 3, (1908)
Other
SRO Acc No 3393/5, Hardinge, R, The Black Abbey Grounde, (1579)

National Grid Reference: SJ 35801 14401

Map

Map
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1020662 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 09:33:42.

End of official listing