Burton Upon Trent Castle

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Other/Unknown)

There are no visible remains

NameBurton Upon Trent Castle
Alternative NamesBurt
Historic CountryStaffordshire
Modern AuthorityStaffordshire
1974 AuthorityStaffordshire
Civil ParishBurton Upon Trent

Henry de Ferrers, says Domesday Book, has half a hide in Burton, in which his castle sits. There is not now the slightest trace of any castle at Burton-on-Trent, which is the Burton in question. There is no mention in history of a castle at Burton; nor do the rather detailed charters in the Monasticon relating to Burton make any allusion to a castle. Moreover the abbot of Burton held the whole town, by the gift of Wulfric Sprot, long before the Conquest; and in Henry I's time he had the full feudal court which one would expect to find in the hands of the castellan, if there were one. Erdswick thought that the Domesday scribe had made a slip, and entered Henry de Ferrers's castle of Tutbury, which is only five miles off, for Burton. Tutbury Castle, however, is mentioned in its own place. (Armitage, 1904)

Eyton says that at Domesday, Burton was a district as well as a town, and included what is now the parish of Tutbury. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Camden records Burton as having had a castle of the Ferrars (Ferrariorum castro) but is probably just working from Domesday. Recorded royal visits to Burton seem to have used the Abbey. It is usually suggested that the mention of castle of Burt is probably an error for Burg of Tutbury (King footnotes this suggestion but records Burton as a vanished castle). However, Burton was an important crossing of the Trent and most other crossing points of this strategical important river did have castles. The place-name Burton means 'a settlement at a fortified place' and dates from the C8, no remains of any Saxon defences have been found. It is suggested these defences were of the monastic site but is that actual so and what state were these possible Saxon fortifications in in C11? Could they have been utilised for a short-lived castle? Any 'castle' based on one of the islands in the Trent at this point would be naturally defensible and archaeological remains are likely to have been destroyed, or at least well hidden, by alluvial erosion and deposits. However, the tenurial history, as given by Armitage and the VCH, is clearly not suggestive of a castle here and it does seem the Domesday Book reference is to the castellry of Tutbury Castle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSK255233
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  • Tringham, N.J., 2003, in Tringham, N.J. (ed), VCH Staffordshire Vol. 9 p. 3, 6
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, Castles and Moated Mansions of Staffordshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 452
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Eyton, R.W., 1881, Domesday Studies: Staffordshire (London) p. 49-50 online copy



  • Harfield, C.G., 1991, 'A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book' English Historical Review Vol. 106 p. 371-392 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Palliser, D.M., 1972, 'Staffordshire Castles: A Provisional List' Staffordshire Archaeology Vol. 1 p. 5-8
  • Cantor, Leonard, 1966, 'The Medieval Castles of Staffordshire' North Staffordshire Journal of Field Studies Vol. 6 p. 38-46
  • Armitage, E., 1904 April, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 217 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book Vol. 1 248b ( In Burton habet (Henricus) dimidiam hidam, in qua sedet eiusdem castellum ) online copy