Over; The Vineyard

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are earthwork remains

NameOver; The Vineyard
Alternative Names
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthorityGloucestershire
1974 AuthorityGloucestershire
Civil ParishHighnam

The house later known as The Vineyard was built by one of the abbots of Gloucester and was enlarged and moated by Abbot Froucester (1381- 1412). After the Dissolution it became the bishop's residence (Fosbrooke).

It was plundered by the Parliamentarians at Christmas 1641 and subsequently used by them as an outpost of Gloucester, guarding the western approach and bridge. It was abandoned in August 1643. By 1647-8 the residence was in a ruined condition and was being robbed for its stone (Washburn).

The three sided moat (Steep slopes on the N. preclude a fourth side) is well preserved. It encloses an area of pasture where irregularities of the surface and low banks indicate building footings. The causeway on the E was constructed about 1938. Immediately outside the W arm of the moat is a breastwork which appears to be of the Civil War period.

The obvious area for the vineyard (the existence of which is attested in medieval records) is that centred at SO 81501978 and now occupied by the Isolation Hospital (F1 ANK 07-NOV-67).

This is the best surviving earthwork relating to the siege of Gloucester of 1643. Its plan is similar to the Queen's sconce at Newark. The former bishop's residence was refortified in March 1643 to keep watch on the Royalist force at Highnam, 1.5 miles to the West. A new shallow ditch incorporating artillery emplacements (bastions) on the west-facing corners was added to the Mediaeval moat. Colonel Forbes abandoned the position and burnt the house on August 10th, and the Royalist Welsh army subsequently captured the site (Atkin and Laughin).

SO 8139 1978 A Medieval and Post-Medieval moated site, visible as earthworks, was mapped from aerial photographs taken in 1955, 1966 and 1968. The house, later known as The Vineyard, was built by one of the abbots of Gloucester and was enlarged and moated by Abbot Froucester (1381-1412). After the Dissolution it became the bishop's residence

The house was plundered for its stone when it was used by Parliamentary forces (1641-1643). Only three sides of the remaining moat ditch were mapped due to coverage by trees and shrubs. The west side of the moat is about 78 metres long and 12 metres wide, the north side 80 metres long and 9 metres wide and the southern side 67 metres long and 7 metres wide, though the latter was truncated by the boundary of the site of the former hospital. The internal area defined by the moat is about 60 metres north to south and 71 metres east to west. The interior of the moated site appears as a number of irregularly shaped earthwork ditches and banks of no discernible plan, probably the result of stone robbing from the former house. Immediately to the west, north and southern side of the medieval moat is an earthwork breastwork which may be a Civil War period defence. The external ditch has a breastwork earthwork bank behind it with two angular bastions projecting perpendicular from these earthen banks, to provide covering fire, at the north-west (SO 8131 1980) and south-west (SO 8135 1971) corners. (PastScape)

The hamlet of Over grew up in the east end of the parish by the Severn crossing at Over Bridge. There was evidently a number of houses there by the mid 13th century, and a large moated mansion called the Vineyard had been built north of the main road there by the late 14th century. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

The location of this moated house, beside the strategically important Over Bridge, resulted in it being turned into a C17 Civil war fort. However, in the medieval period, it must have had the same strategic importance but, by being in church hands, it may have been neutralised as a potential military site.

- 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 ReferenceSO814197
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Atkin, Malcolm, and Laughlin, Wayne, 1992, Gloucester and the Civil War : a city under siege (Sutton Publishing Ltd) p. 63-5
  • Elrington, C.R., and Herbert, N.M. (eds), 1972, VCH Gloucestershire Vol. 10 p. 11-17 online transcription
  • Washburn, J., 1825, Bibliotheca gloucestrensis: a collection of scarce and curious tracts relating to the county and city of Gloucester illustrative of and published during the Civil War; with an historical introduction, notes and an appendix
  • Fosbrooke, T.D., 1819, Original History of the City of Gloucester almost Wholly Compiled from New Materials … including also the Original Papers of Ralph Bigland (London) p. 200-3


  • Rawes, B., 1978, 'A Preliminary Check List of Moated Sites in Gloucestershire' Glevensis Vol. 12 p. 36 online copy