Buckingham Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameBuckingham Castle
Alternative NamesChurch of St Peter and St Paul; Bukingeham
Historic CountryBuckinghamshire
Modern AuthorityBuckinghamshire
1974 AuthorityBuckinghamshire
Civil ParishBuckingham

The parish church is built in on what is thought to be a motte. A castle at this site was first mentioned in documentary sources in 1154-64 and was possibly demolished 1208-1215, although a Constable of Buckingham is documented in 1280. Levelled in 1777 for the churchyard which now occupies it. In 1877 excavations at the back of the Wesleyan chapel exposed foundations probably associated with the castle. (PastScape)

On the hill where stands to-day the parish church there formerly stood a Norman castle, the seat of the Giffards, which was erected shortly after the Conquest. (E. S. Armitage, Early Norman Castles, 40.) Comparatively little mention of it has been found, but an early tradition connects the castle with the story of Hereward, who is said to have been taken by the craft of Ivo Taillebois and lodged here for a time. (a 'De Gestis Herwardi' in Gaimar, Chron. (Caxton Soc.), App. 106.) In 1279 under the heading of the castle William de Braose is said to hold 3 carucates of land in demesne with a free fishery. (Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 343) Giles de Braose, his son, died seised in 1305 of a 'capital messuage called the Castle of Buckingham, worth nothing.' (Chan. Inq. p.m. 33 Edw. I, no. 73.) In 1307 and again in 1312 the name of Buckingham appears in lists of castles to be defended and victualled. (Cal. Close, 1307–13, pp. 50, 402.) In 1453 the site of the castle (where the courts of the manor were still held) was leased to Thomas Smythe, (Mins. Accts. bdle. 759, no. 27.) and the accounts of the manor for 1473 include the cost of various tiles, tile pins, nails, &c., required for the repair of the cook's chamber, the stables, and 'le Garet' within the castle. (Mins. Accts. bdle. 759, no. 27.) Camden speaks of the castle 'seated in the middle of the town upon a great mount, of the very ruins of which scarce anything now remains.' (Camden) Thomas Baskerville, who flourished under Charles II, also makes mention of the ruins. (Hist. MSS. Com. Rep

xiii, App. ii, 289.) On the erection in 1777–81 of the present parish church on Castle Hill all trace of the castle was finally lost (In 1877, during excavation operations abutting on the Castle Hill, traces of ancient masonry were found which were conjectured at the time to belong to the castle (Harrison, 44).) except the oval keep mound, which still stands, though fragments of foundations are from time to time discovered when digging on the site. (VCH)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP694337
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 34
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 10 (slight)
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Elizabeth Williamson with Geoffrey K Brandwood, 1994, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (Harmondsworth) p. 73
  • Drage, C., 1987, 'Urban castles' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 117-32 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 27
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 196
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 121
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1925, VCH Buckinghamshire Vol. 3 p. 476 online transcription
  • RCHME, 1913, An inventory of the historical monuments in Buckinghamshire Vol. 2 (north) p. 16, 72 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 112-3 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Harrison, J.T., 1909, Leisure hour notes on historical Buckingham p. 41-4 (reprinted 1972 by Paul Minet: Chicheley)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 145 online copy
  • Browne Willis, 1755, History and Antiquites of Buckingham p. 49-51



  • Mumford, J., 2003, South Midlands Archaeology: CBA Group 9 Newsletter Vol. 33 p. 33-5 online copy
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 200 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1913, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I Vol. 4 p. 214 no. 317 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1892, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1307-1313) Vol. 1 p. 50, 402 view online copy (requires subscription but searchable)
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 433 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 108
  • Guizot, M. (ed), 1825, Histoire des ducs de Normandie p. 181 online copy (Reference in PastScape but seems to be wrong)


  • Fradley, Michael, 2011, The Old in the New: Urban Castle Imposition in Anglo-Norman England, AD1050-1150 (University of Exeter PhD Thesis) available via EThOS