Stafford Town Defences

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameStafford Town Defences
Alternative NamesStaffordie; East Gate; Green Gate; North Gate; Goal Gate; West Gate
Historic CountryStaffordshire
Modern AuthorityStaffordshire
1974 AuthorityStaffordshire
Civil ParishStafford

Scant remains of C13 stone wall, which, with ditch, marshes, river and earthbanks, made Stafford medieval town defences. Grant of timber made in 1215 and first murage granted in 1224. Built to replace those of the Anglo Saxon burh (which may have enclosed a smaller area) Refortified during the Civil War, raised in 1643, the walls were in ruins by the 1670s. PastScape also reports sites of four town gates of which traces remain of one, though not in situ. Note especially medieval north gate (SJ92082353) which by C17 it was in use as a prison and was known as Gaol Gate and was ruinous by 1678 and which is sometimes confused with the Domesday King's Castle /p>

East Gate. Part of gate, the sole remaining fragment of the medieval town walls. Probably early C15, most of gate demolished c1800, moved for road widening, 1939, and rebuilt against wall of a cottage which was demolished in 1964. Dressed squared stone. Wall approx. 5 metres tall and 3 metres wide, with some dressed jambs to right end; part of brick cottage wall remains to rear. (Listed Building Report)

Stafford has today no visible indications of defences, but there was a grant of timber in 1216, followed by a long series of murage grants. A large-scale map in the William Salt Library, Stafford, undated but c. 1620, shows a complete circuit of defences; the conventions suggest that about half of it was stone wall, the remainder timber palisading. (Barley)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ923234
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 136
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 40, 88, 170, 235, 237, 266
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, Castles and Moated Mansions of Staffordshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 47
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 453
  • Carver, Martin, 1981, Underneath Stafford town: an archaeological assessment
  • Greenslade, M.W. and Johnson, D.A. (eds), 1979, VCH Staffordshire Vol. 6 p. 199
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Pevsner, N., 1974, Buildings of England: Staffordshire (London, Penguin) p. 245
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 209
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 34-5 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 225
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 531 online copy


  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy)
  • Celia Fiennes, 1888, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press) Vision of Britain online transcription


  • Cuttler, R., Hunt, J. and Ratkai, S., 2009, 'Saxon burh and royal castle: re-thinking early urban space in Stafford' Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions Vol. 43 p. 39-85
  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Beckett, J.H., 1928-9, North Staffordshire Field Club transactions p. 63, 148
  • Garbett, H.L.E., 1923-4, North Staffordshire Field Club transactions Vol. 58 p. 56-8
  • Davies, J.T., 1919, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions Vol. 45 p. 133-51
  • Armitage, E., 1904, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 430-4 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book online copy
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum in turri Londinensi (1204-24) (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 199b
  • Close Roll for 1215 (Pipe Roll Society 31 ns) p. 136 nos 45-7 (grant of timber for defences)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1216-1225) p. 459; (1225-1232) p. 37; (1232-47) p. 26; (1247-1258) p. 103; (1266-1272) p. 17; (1281-1291) p. 409; (1301-1307) p. 331; (1317-1321) p. 136; (1334-1338) p. 402; (1338-1340) p. 213 (murage grants)
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >


  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 46 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 55 online copy