Ilton Castle, Malborough

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameIlton Castle, Malborough
Alternative NamesHilton; Yedilton
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishMalborough

The earthwork remains of a deserted medieval settlement, a quadrangular castle, an associated garden and two fishponds. The western part of the settlement contains the earthworks of at least 13 small rectangular buildings. The eastern part lies on the north side of the valley and includes at least 3 small buildings and a hollow way. Cultivation terraces lie along the north and south sides of the site and several 18th century watermeadow leats cut across the earthworks, with a pond attached to one of them. The castle was documented in 1335 and stood on a terrace towards the east end of the site. A description of 1780, made when the walls were demolished, states that it was sub-rectangular with square corner towers. The earthwork terraces of an extensive formal garden lie to the east, west and north of the castle. 2 large fishponds once lay south of the castle site. One survives as an earthwork but the other is now buried beneath a modern farmstead. These ponds were used as an ornamental lake. (PastScape–ref. Scheduled Monument Notification)

A medieval quadrangular castle was licenced to John de Cheverston in 1335 and stood on a terrace towards the east end of the monument. The terrace measures 30 metres east to west by 25 metres north to south. A description made when the castle walls were demolished in 1780, states that it was sub-rectangular with square towers at the corners. Slight earthworks show the positions of the towers and parchmaks confirm its location. (Devon and Dartmoor HER ref. Schedule Document)

Gatehouse Comments

The local farmer reported very little stone turned up on ploughing when the site was investigated in 1987 (PastScape–Field Investigators Comments-F1 MJF 27-JAN-87) suggesting the castle has been very effectively demolished and the stone totally quarried away. This may also suggest the castle was not particularly thick walled. By 1335 square towers are, supposedly, a feature of northern enclosure castles, with southern castles having round towers but this site shows the dangers of such assumption based on a relatively few surviving castles.

- 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 ReferenceSX725404
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


  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 695
  • Waterhouse, R., 2003, 'Garden Archaeology in South Devon' in Robert Wilson-North (ed) The Lie of the Land (The Mint Press and Devon Gardens Trust) p. 66-82
  • Higham, Robert A., 1999, 'Castles, Fortified Houses and Fortified Towns in the Middle Ages' in Kain, R. and Ravenhill, W., Historical Atlas of South-West England (University of Exeter Press) p. 136-43
  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 87 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 120
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 411 online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1822, Magna Britannia Vol. 6 Devon p. 329 online transcription


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 115
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 222 online copy


  • Waterhouse, R.E., 2000, 'Keynedon Barton, Sherford, Kingsbridge' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol 58 p. 195
  • Higham, R.A., 1988, 'Devon Castles: an annotated list' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol. 46 p. 142-9

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1334-38) Vol. 3 p. 167 online copy


  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 40 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 107 online copy
  • EH Scheduling amendment, 06-MAR-2002