Caus Town Defenses

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are earthwork remains

NameCaus Town Defenses
Alternative NamesCause; Caurs; Chaus; Caws
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishWestbury

Deserted medieval borough which was established primarily to serve Caus Castle. Caus was probably in existence by 1200 when the grant of a weekly market was obtained. The borough was encircled with a wall and two gates before 1300 and adjoined Caus Castle to the north and west. After the Black Death Caus went into decay and the last mention of a tenanted house there was in 1614. The free Chapel of St Nicholas opposite the Castle gate was in use until the destruction of the castle in 1645. The Chapel of St Margaret was founded in 1272 and is last documented in 1447. The interior street between East Gate and Wallop Gate was in use as part of a field road in 1816. The 9 acre site was surveyed in 1971. (PastScape)

The borough of Caus lay within a rampart to the north and west of the castle. It was probably in existence by 1200 when the grant of a weekly market was obtained (VCH 1968, 310). The borough prospered in the 13th and early 14th centuries, as it was situated on a principal trade route to Wales, and at the centre of the rich agricultural valley of the river Rea. A fair was granted in 1248 and on Thomas Corbet's death in 1274 there were 28 burgages. In the record of taxation for 1292 there are the names of the chief taxors, the lord, his bailiff and the twelve jurors of the "town and castle of Caus" (Beresford 1988). By 1300 there were 34 burgages, and by 1349 there were 58 (VCH 1968, 310). At some time before 1300 the borough had been provided with a defensive wall. (Buteux 1996)

Gatehouse Comments

Iron Age hill fort forms long outer enclosure of now deserted Norman borough probably created by Roger Corbet in 1198 and it is recorded that by 1349 there were 58 burgesses living there. See Caus Castle for full bibliography.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ338079
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Latitude 52° 39' 48.69" Longitude -2° 58' 53.29"

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 47
  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 51-2
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 28, 64, 80, 217, 265
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 32
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 210 (mention)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 200, 237
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 436
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Gaydon, A.T. (ed), 1968, VCH Shropshire Vol. 8 p. 295-332
  • Beresford, Maurice, 1967, New towns of the Middle Ages: town plantation in England, Wales and Gascony (London: Lutterworth Press) p. 480-1


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Bond J., 2001, 'Earthen Castles, Outer Enclosures and the Earthworks at Ascott d'Oilly Castle, Oxfordshire' Oxoniensia Vol. 46 p. 65-6 (Appendix: Norman earthwork castles with failed towns in outer enclosures) online copy
  • Whitfield, J.R.W. (ed), 1951-53, 'Account of the lordship of Caus 1540' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society Vol. 54 p. 45-68, 327-37

Primary Sources

  • E36/150 (Survey of 1521) (calendared in Brewer, J.S. (ed), 1867, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII Vol. 3 p. 509 No. 1286 online copy)


  • English Heritage, 2001, Scheduling Papers (Revision, 18/09/2001)
  • Buteux, V., 1996, Archaeological Assessment of Caus, Shropshire: The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey (Shropshire SMR) online copy
  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1986, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 21511