Dursley Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle

There are no visible remains

NameDursley Castle
Alternative NamesDurslea; Drisilege Castel; Doursley
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthorityGloucestershire
1974 AuthorityGloucestershire
Civil ParishDursley

A castle is said to have been built at Dursley (ST 7598) by Roger de Berkeley after his loss of Berkeley in AD 1153, although it is recorded that Henry, Duke of Anjou, spent a night at the castle of "Durslea" in 1149. The building may have been merely a fortified manor-house, though the mention in a 13th century document of a "Castrum" at Dursley may indicate the existence of a regular fortress. Its ruins were said to be still visible in 1779 in a garden adjoining Castle Fields, less than 1/4 mile from the town (possibly in the locality of Castle Farm, ST755982), and a garden adjoining the Lower Castle Field, or alternatively a spot in Upper Castle Field, have been suggested as possible sites, though the latter yielded no discoveries when subject to slight excavation prior to 1886. The castle was said by Leland to have had a good moat, but to have fallen into decay and its materials used to build the manor-house at Dodington. Renn proposes the earthworks at Drakestone (ST 79 NW 2) as a possible site of the castle. (PastScape)

Said to have been built by Roger de Berkeley (1153), but Henry, Duke of Anjou spent a night at the castle of Durslea in 1149 (Gesta Stephani, pp. 143-4 {Potter (ed), 1955 edition}). (Renn 1973)

cepisset Henricum in municipio quod Durslea dicitur pernoctasse et inde in crastino Bristoam ciuitatem tendere proposuisse (Potter 1955)

Doursley ... This towne had a castle in it sumtyme longinge to the Berkeleys, syns to the Wiks, sens fell to decay, and is cleane taken downe. It had a metly good dyche about it, and was for the moste parte made of towfe stone full of pores and holes lyke a pumice. (Leland)

Gatehouse Comments

The municipio of 1149 may have been an embanked camp, perhaps one built initially for the siege of Bristol of 1138, which may have then been turned into the stone castle recorded by Leland. A site at Drakestone (ST737980) has been identified with the site mentioned in 1149 although that site is now rejected as a natural feature. The stone castle was probably quite small and may better be described as a fortified manor house, although such distinctions are usually subjective.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST755982
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Gloucestershire and Bristol (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 20
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 184
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 180
  • 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. 374 online copy
  • Blunt, J.H., 1877, Dursley and its Neighbourhood (London: Simpkin, Marshall and co.) p. 4-8 online copy
  • Rudder, S., 1779, A new history of Gloucestershire p. 424-5 online copy (large file)


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 184, 191
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 130 online copy; Vol. 5 p. 96 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl05lelauoft#page/96/mode/1up]


  • Walker, D., 1991, 'Gloucestershire Castles' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 109 p. 5-23 online copy
  • Rawes, B., 1977, 'A Check List of Castles and other Fortified Sites of Medieval Date in Gloucestershire' Glevensis Vol. 11 p. 39-41 online copy
  • Sir Henry Barkly, 1886-87, 'Dursley, Notes on its Lords, the Castle, Church and Borough' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 11 p. 189-9, 223 online copy
  • 9-3-1867, Gloucester Chronical

Primary Sources

  • Potter, K.R. (ed), 1976 (2edn), Gesta Stephani (Oxford University Press) p. 218
  • Potter, K.R. (ed), 1955, Gesta Stephani (Oxford University Press) p. 143-4


  • Matthew Tilley, Tim Grubb, 2008, Extensive Urban Survey - Gloucestershire Download copy