Montfichet Castle

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

There are no visible remains

NameMontfichet Castle
Alternative NamesMountfichet; Montfiquit; Munfichet: Old Bailey; Ludgate Hill
Historic CountryLondon and Middlesex
Modern AuthorityCity and County of the City of London
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishCity Of London

Montfichet tower possibly originated in the reign of William I, but is not documented until the 1130's. It was given to the Black Friars in 1275 and demolished soon afterwards. (PastScape ref. Weinreb and Hibbert)

A castle (probably a moated site with tower) built immediately N of Baynards Castle (041200) by William de Montfichet in or around the late C11. It fell into disuse in the C13 & was demolished after 1275 (the masonry being used to build blackfriars priory). Documentary research has shown that Montfichet's Tower was bounded by Ludgate Hill, the City Wall (roughly where Pilgrim St joins Ludgate), Creed Lane and Carter Lane, forming an oblong roughly 80m x 50M. Montfichet Tower was defended by ditches on three sides, probably with an internal rampart and wall. Inside stood a stone keep on a motte. (Greater London HER)

Stow reports the castle was destroyed by King John in 1213 after Richard Mountfichet had been exiled to France. On Richard's return he rebuilt the castle but it was totally destroyed in 1276 to make way for Black Friar's.

Gatehouse Comments

Watson (1992) reconstructs the site in a drawing as a four storey square masonry tower but there seems to be no evidence documentary or archaeological to suggest such a things. Watson's excavation seems to have found ditches but little else. However did survive into the C13 and some masonry buildings are possible although not necessarily fortifications.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ317809
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Renn, Derek., 2014, 'The other towers of London' in Hidden histories and records of antiquity; essays on Saxon and medieval London for John Clark, curator emeritus, Museum of London (London and Middlesex Archaeology Society Special Paper 17) p. 32-5
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  • Watson, B., 1992, 'The excavation of a Norman fortress on Ludgate Hill' London Archaeologist Vol. 6.14 p. 371-7 online copy
  • Watson, B., 1992, 'The Norman Fortress on Ludgate Hill in the City of London, England, Recent Excavations 1986-90' Château Gaillard Vol. 15 p. 335-45
  • Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T., 1986, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 30 p. 127 download 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)
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Primary Sources

  • William FitzStephen, c. 1180, 'A description of London' translated in Henry Thomas Riley (ed), 1860, Liber Custumarum (Rolls Series 12) Vol. 2 p. 2-15 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1906, Calendar of Charter Rolls Henry III-Edward 1 1257-1300 Vol. 2. (HMSO) p. 180 online copy
  • Howlett, R. (ed), 1886, Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I (Rolls series 82) Vol. 3 p. 338 online copy


  • 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