Caverswall Castle

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCaverswall Castle
Alternative NamesCaverswell; Carswell; Cavereswelle; Careswell
Historic CountryStaffordshire
Modern AuthorityStaffordshire
1974 AuthorityStaffordshire
Civil ParishCaverswall

There was a manor at Caverswall mentioned in Domesday, and Walter de Caverswall was bailiff during the reign of Henry I (1100-1135 AD) (Johnston).

Licence to crenellate was given in 1275. The castle is a roughly oblong enclosure with four polygonal angle towers which, with the walls, do not stand to full height. The towers were terminated by balustrading, c1615, when Matthew Cradock built a house into the castle. A fine building, high and even, three-storeyed and fully symmetrical. The top balustrade was replaced in the 19th century by crenellation (Pevesner).

It is not possible to say how much of the present dry moat belongs to the original castle. The moat was entirely sunk from the natural surface of the land and its sections have in recent years been moulded for the formation of the pleasure grounds (VCH, 1908). (PastScape)

Castle, later country house. C13 foundation to superstructure of circa 1615, enlarged, altered and refitted circa 1890. The work of 1615 has been attributed to Robert and John Smythson. Red sandstone ashlar; flat roofs largely invisible behind crenellated parapets with multishafted C19 side stacks; the gatehouse and angle towers have tiled roofs and balustraded parapets. Built in a castellar, supra-vernacular style with a foretaste of Bolsover and echoes of Longleat (and strangely reminiscent of Castle Drogo by Lutyens). The house is set to the north side of a square retaining enclosure surrounded by an excavated moat which opens out to lower ground level on the west, forming a prospect which was never used. The lower parts of the walls (approx. 9m high) appear to be the only remnant of the medieval castle. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Some sources, probably reflecting Lewis's typographical histories, date the building to Edward II (rather than Edward I). This is erroneous and was probably a simple typographical error, much repeated. The castle was up for sale in 2015. On online search may find estate agent details of the castle, including floorplans.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ950428
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 278, 476-7
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 338n28
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, Castles and Moated Mansions of Staffordshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 16-7
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 226
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 37
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 449-50
  • Pevsner, N., 1974, Buildings of England: Staffordshire (London, Penguin) p. 95
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Lynam, Charles, 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm. (ed), VCH Staffordshire Vol. 1 p. 352-3 (plan) online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 390-1 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 233, 403 online copy
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 p. 39-40 online copy


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 443
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 129 online copy ; Vol. 5 p. 19 [online copy >]


  • Charles Hollwey, 2015-16, 'From Chilham via Caernarfon to Thornbury: The rise of the polygonal tower' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 29 p. 263-85
  • 2005-6, 'Caverswall Castle, Staffordshire' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol 19 p. 122-3
  • Cantor, Leonard, 1966, 'The Medieval Castles of Staffordshire' North Staffordshire Journal of Field Studies Vol. 6 p. 38-46
  • Johnstone, J.D., 1950, Transactions of North Staffordshire Field Club Vol. 84 p. 121
  • Blizzard, 1937-8, Transactions of North Staffordshire Field Club Vol. 72 p. 49-61
  • Tipping, 1911, Country Life Vol. 29 p. 886-95
  • Masefield, 1888, Transactions of North Staffordshire Field Club p. 59-61 (slight history)

Primary Sources

  • C143/2/43 (Chancery: Inquisitions Ad Quod Damnum, Henry III to Richard III c1216-c1485) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1272-81) Vol. 1 p. 109 online copy