Cadbury Heath

Has been described as a Questionable Palace (Royal)

There are uncertain remains

NameCadbury Heath
Alternative Namescastri de Cadebir
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthoritySouth Gloucestershire
1974 AuthorityAvon
Civil ParishOldland

In July 1209, 40 marks were paid out of King Johns household to Peter Descudamore and Godfrey of St Martin "towards the works of the Castle of Cadbury". No other reference to the Castle is known, but as Peter and Godfrey appear to have been connected with the south west counties it was presumably either Cadbury in Devonshire or one of the two (four) places of the name in Somerset (HKW). An alternative suggestion that the castle was located at Cadbury Heath, Oldland is noted in Neale (1971). (South Gloucestershire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

The site is general consider to be South Cadbury, Somerset. D.J.C. King, who dismissed this as 'a very unlikely site for a castle' locates this in grid square ST6672 an area now a suburb of Bristol. King had a military view of castles and it may be that John was building a hunting lodge and this is not an unlikely location for such a building, as it would offer recreation near to Bristol whilst on visit there or while awaiting the right weather conditions before embarking to Ireland. (John visited Ireland in 1210, although embarking from Haverford. He did spend long periods in Bristol though). Cadbury Heath was part of the royal forest of Kingswood. Barrs Court, at ST65937203, is a large moated site, associated with a deer park, fishponds and 'The forest of Kyngeswodd' (Ellacombe 1881). Was this a rebuilding of an existing site? One previously held by the king?

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST660720
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 559
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 583
  • Ellacombe, H.T., 1881, History of the Parish of Bitton p. 94 online copy


  • Neale, F., 1971, 'Site of Cadbury Castle' Bristol Archaeological Research Group Bulletin

Primary Sources

  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1844, Rotuli de Liberate ac de Misis et Praestitis, regnante Johanne (Record Commission) p. 120-1 online copy