Morley Castle, Swanton Morley

Has been described as a Rejected Masonry Castle, and also as a Rejected Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameMorley Castle, Swanton Morley
Alternative NamesThe Island
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishSwanton Morley

Of the castle of the Ryes or Beaufoes (Domesday mention) there are no remains save a moated space adjoining Castle Farm, with a few traces of foundations. Very few traces of the castle walls are left, not a single fragment rising a foot above the ground. The foundations of two walls at right angles with each other may be seen among trees in the south-west corner; and further to the east is a mass of concrete 3 to 4ft long. Traces of foundations may also be seen on the south-east (probably means south-west) edge of the moat which is now used as a farm road: and there is a good deal of masonry in the sides of the moat in the plantation (Garthew). The remains of a defensive moat in poor condition. The river formed the north and west arms while the south and east arms were man-made. The whole site has been subject to modern landscaping and tipping. The area centred at TG 02771770 has been terraced and raised slightly above its surroundings and is probably the site of the castle. Remains of building foundations can be seen at TG 02741767, but it is impossible to trace any regular formation. Retaining banks exist alongside the river on the north of the site and in the south-west corner. The entrance to the site is from the south and is almost certainly in its original position. A plaque attached to a sign-board on Swanton Morley village green states that "William de Morley" was Lord of the Manor in the C15th, hence Morley Castle (Field Investigators Comments–F1 JB 28-FEB-73). (PastScape)

Site is within meander of River Wensum to the west and north, approx. 1.5m above flood plain. The south and east boundaries have a shallow (1m) moat, partly grassed in south-west. The remainder wooded with a modern drain incised into the south-east portion. Central area is grassland with irregular undulations and a vegetable plot. No evidence of masonry or moat revetting. (B. Cushion in Norfolk HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Not in village centre, 900m from church. What reason is there for calling this moated site a castle?

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTG0271177
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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 59
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 164 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 310
  • Carthew, G.A., 1879, Hundred of Launditch Vol. 3 p. 417
  • Blomefield, F., 1809, 'Launditch Hundred: Swanton-Morley' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 10 p. 53-9 (tenurial history) online transcription