Caversham Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameCaversham Castle
Alternative NamesKaversham; Kaveresham
Historic CountryOxfordshire
Modern AuthorityReading
1974 AuthorityBerkshire
Civil ParishReading

Approximate site of a medieval castle or fortified manor house documented in 1218. The house was purchased by Sir Francis Knollys in 1542 but was demolished by his son, William Knollys, who built a mansion on the site. Charles I was imprisoned in this house for a time but it was in turn demolished after the Civil War. Lord Cadogan rebuilt the house in 1718 but it was burned down in the late 18th century and replaced with a smaller house. This was extended in the 1780s and further altered after 1838 but itself burned down in 1850 and was replaced by the present house. (PastScape)

In medieval times, Caversham had an important Castle or fortified manor. It probably stood on the edge of the present park, on the site of the later Dean's Farm. This was down by the river on slightly elevated ground which never floods. This afforded excellent communications and was near the old ferry and mill. The house was the favourite home of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, the eighty year old regent of England during the minority of Henry III. He died there in 1218. The castle later passed to the Earls of Warwick, who also favoured it. Anne daughter & eventual sole heiress of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, & his wife Isabella (daughter & eventual sole heiress of Thomas Le Despencer, 11th Earl of Gloucester) was born at Caversham in September 1426. The Earl later made his will here on 8th August 1437. Although betrothed to him since she was eight, Richard Neville, son of the 8th Earl of Salisbury (from Bisham) is supposed to have proposed to the Lady Anne on Caversham Bridge. He was already brother-in-law to her brother, Henry, the 14th Earl. After they married, Richard inherited the title from her niece, and became known to history as the man whose support determined the King: Henry VI or Edward IV

He was Warwick the Kingmaker.

The castle was eventually succeeded by a number of great mansions, from the Tudor period onwards, under the name of Caversham Park. Since 1911, Caversham, including the area where the castle stood, has fallen within the region administered by Berkshire County Council and its successor, Reading Borough Council. (David Nash Ford)

Gatehouse Comments

PastScape place this at the site of the later Caversham Park House (SU725763) but David Ford Nash goes for a location at Dean's Farm (SU726742). Gatehouse would favour a site near to the parish church of St Peter's (SU708748) on the general principle of an usual close relationship between manor houses and parish churches, although, in this case, a location to the east, by the park is probable. There is no archaeological evidence, at the moment, to support any location. Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU708748
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Pevsner, N. and Sherwood, J., 1974, Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (London) p. 692

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.G. (ed), 1894, A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds Vol. 2 A. 3176 (Deed of 1494) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.G. (ed), 1906, A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds Vol. 5 A. 11056 (Deed of 1487 ) online copy
  • Roberts, C. (ed), 1835-5, Excerpta e rotulis finium in Turri Londinensi asservatis (1216-1272) (London: Record Commision) Vol. 1 p. 29-30 (Caversham as place were William witnesses documents) online copy
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 389, 390 online copy