Fulbrook Castle

Has been described as a Possible Masonry Castle, and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameFulbrook Castle
Alternative NamesFulbroke; Duke of Bedfords Castle
Historic CountryWarwickshire
Modern AuthorityWarwickshire
1974 AuthorityWarwickshire
Civil ParishFulbrook

C15 castle of John, Duke of Bedford. There are no remains above ground, but excavations some years ago are said to have produced brick-lined foundations, and recent ploughing has produced large quantities of brick and fragments of glazed tile and pottery. Sir William Compton demolished the castle in the time of Henry VIII. The castle is said to have been ruinous by 1478, though a lodge is said to have survived into C16. The cropmark site was examined. A very clear parch mark in which individual rooms and corridors placed around a central courtyard could be traced. Webster has suggested that this is a courtyard villa, but field investigation in 1985 produced evidence for a dense scatter of Medieval tile and brick mixed with small quantities of stone. The castle was situated on a hilltop with commanding views in all directions. There is no indication of any form of surrounding earthwork. The building was about 35m square. One wonders to what extent the castle was defensive; its plan is similar to phase 1 of Compton Wynyates Only a small proportion of the site has been excavated and, despite deep ploughing, substantial deposits will survive undisturbed. The sites importance is enhanced by documents which describe it as an early example of the use of brick. (Warwickshire HER)

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.

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. (Scheduling Report)

The field now known as Castle Hill is on the south side of the brook, just above Lower Fulbrook Farm. This is the site of the 'praty castle made of stone and brike' (Leland) built by John, Duke of Bedford, and probably the residence of the park-keeper in the 15th century. There are no remains above ground, but excavations some years ago are said to have revealed brick-lined foundations (Ex inf. Mr. P. B. Chatwin) and recent ploughing has turned up large quantities of bricks of early type and occasional fragments of glazed tiles and pottery. The whole site appears to have occupied less than an acre. These buildings were all said to be ruinous by 1478, (Dugdale) though the lodge was apparently still standing in Leland's time. (Leland) The castle, which according to Leland aroused the jealousy of the Earls of Warwick, was finally demolished by Sir William Compton, then park-keeper, who received permission from Henry VIII to use some of the materials in his new house at Compton Wynyates. (Leland). (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

Scheduled as a 'quadrangular castle' but most similar to Compton Wynyates. More probably a modestly fortified, but grandly decorated, manor house within a park.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP250602
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 351, 403, 404, 472
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 306
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 263 (slight)
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 46
  • Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 29
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 485
  • 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. 941-2
  • Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1945, VCH Warwickshire Vol. 3 p. 92 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 349-50 online copy


  • Dugdale, Wm., 1656, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (Thomas Warren) p. 508 online copy
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 467
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 47-8 online copy ; Vol. 5 p. 115 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl05lelauoft#page/115/mode/1up]


  • Hingley R., 1985, West Midlands Archaeology Vol. 28 p. 57-8
  • Chatwin, P.B., 1947, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 67 p. 30