Luton Court House

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameLuton Court House
Alternative NamesFalkes de Breautes castle; Lutune
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityLuton
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishLuton

The probable site of a castle built in 1221 by Faulke de Breaute. Documents from the Assize at Dunstable in 1224 record that he was said to have dammed the river unlawfully, presumably for the moat around the castle, resulting in flooding to surrounding property. The castle seems to have covered most of the area between St Mary's Church to the north and Lea Road to the south, with the River Lea at its eastern end and St Ann's Road to the west. The castle was subsequently demolished and the Court House built in the southern corner of its former area. This was a moated house, probably reusing part of the castle moat, which was apparently still extant in 1611.

'Investigations within the University of Bedfordshire's Park Square Campus in Luton revealed features dating to the medieval and post-medieval periods, the most prominent being part of the moat of Fulk de Breauté's early 13th century castle. The partial footprint of a large timber-framed building, broadly dating to the 12th-13th centuries was revealed within the moated enclosure. Other medieval features included two refuse pits located outside the moated enclsoure. Though historically termed a 'castle', the moated site was also a manorial centre - a court house was documented on the site until the early 17th century. The moat was still at least partially open during the post-medieval period when its fills appear to have largely been quarried away and a well and pit, likely to be associated with the backyards of properties fronting onto Park Street, were in use. (Beds HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Salter writes this might be Someries though the description of flooding would make this impossible. Petre reports "archaeological investigation showed that a substantial motte and moat survived in part into the nineteenth century." If this motte was built in 1221 then this is a late example of motte building in England, although mottes were being built in Ireland at this sort of date. did the excavations exclude the possibility this was a castle of earlier date and that de Breaute was extending existing defences in 1221?

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL096210
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


  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 67
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 14
  • Godber, J., 1969, History of Bedfordshire (Bedford) p. 58
  • James Dyer, Frank Stygall and John Dony, 1964, The Story of Luton (Luton: White Crescent Press) p. 63-4
  • Austin, W., 1928, History of Luton Vol. 1 p. 101-2
  • Davis, F., 1855, History of Luton p. 7-8 map p. 144


  • Woodley, N.C. and Abrams, J., (forthcoming), 'Inside Fulk de Bréauté's Thiteenth-Century Castle' Bedfordshire Archaeology Vol. 27
  • Streatfeild-James, J. and Abrams, J., (forthcoming), 'A bridge to Castra Finitima', further excavations on the site of Fulk de Breaute's Castle' Bedfordshire Archaeology Vol. 27
  • Streatfield-James, Jake, 'Fulk de Breaute's 13th-century castle in Luton' Medieval Archaeology Newsletter Issue 53 p. 4
  • Abrams, J. and Shotcliff, D., 2010, 'The Remains of Robert de Waudari's Adulterine Castle, Castle Street, Luton' Bedfordshire Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 390, 401
  • Baker, D., 1982, 'Mottes, Moats and ringworks in Bedfordshire: Beauchamp Wadmore revisited' Château Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 35-54
  • Dyer, J.F., 1962-3, 'Bedfordshire Earthworks VIII, The Castles: Part One' Bedfordshire magazine Vol. 8 no. 63 p. 350

Primary Sources

  • Luard, H.R (ed), 1866, 'Annales Prioratus de Dunstaplia' in Annales Monastici (London: Longman Rolls Series 36) Vol. 3 p. 66 online copy


  • Keir, W. and Turner, I., 2012, 4 Lea Road, Luton: Archaeological Excavation, Recording, Analysis and Publicatio (Albion Archaeology) online copy
  • Turner, Ian and Wardill, R., 2009, Land at the University of Bedfordshire, Park Square, Luton: Archaeological Trial Trenching (Albion Archaeology) online copy
  • Riccoboni, P., 2008, Land at Vicarage Street, Luton, Bedfordshire (Site A). Portslade (Archaeology South East) online copy
  • Albion Archaeology, 2003 (edited January 2005), Extensive Urban Survey - Bedfordshire and Luton (Bedfordshire County Council and English Heritage) Download copy