Weoley Castle

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameWeoley Castle
Alternative NamesWelegh
Historic CountryWorcestershire
Modern AuthorityBirmingham
1974 AuthorityWest Midlands
Civil ParishBirmingham

Footings and foundations of a fortified manor house. Sandstone with 6 towers and a deep moat. These works date from 1264 when Roger de Somery was licensed to crenellate his manor house. A survey of 1422 gives a detailed plan. Fragments of early C13 wooden buildings have been discovered, indicating early use of both horizontal and vertical weatherboarding. (PastScape–ref. listing report)

Weoley Castle is a fortified, medieval manor-house situated four miles to the southwest of Birmingham city centre in the parish of Northfield within the historic county of Worcestershire. The surviving ruins consist of a stone curtain wall with square towers and the foundations of internal buildings, all surrounded by a wide moat. No trace of a documented outer bailey survives above ground.

In the early medieval period the manor formed a part of the estates of the de Paganel, and de Somery, Barons of Dudley. Excavation has proved that a large timber hall stood on the site in the 12th century with surrounding ditch, bank and palisade. Somewhat later a well- built, ashlar, stone hall was constructed in the north-eastern part of the enclosure with a wooden kitchen to the south. The kitchen is notable for the excellent preservation of its timbers due to waterlogging. It was a weather-boarded structure connected to the stone hall by a raised causeway with timber pentice. The kitchen is probably one of the best preserved, excavated, timber buildings of the period.

In 1264 Roger II de Somery obtained a Licence to Crenellate. This resulted in rebuilding at Dudley Castle under Roger III de Somery and John de Somery and it is probable that the construction of the stone defences at Weoley belongs to this period also. All the earlier buildings within the ditched enclosure were sealed by upcast from the excavation of a new, large moat and the castle defences completely rebuilt in stone

Excavations from before the Second World War and from 1955 to 1962 have effectively uncovered nearly all of the outlines of the stone buildings. The resulting plan can be usefully compared with a survey of the site, dating to 1424, listing the buildings and their function.

Weoley Castle passed from the Barony of Dudley on the death of John de Somery in 1322, when the estates were divided between his two sisters. His sister Joan (and her husband Thomas de Botetourt) retained Weoley as part of her moiety. In the early 15th century the castle passed from the Botetourts, to the Berkeley family, although a series of disputes and a superfluity of claimants meant that this was not a smooth transition. Alterations to the defences in the form of well-constructed turrets, circular and octagonal, and buttresses indicate the continued appreciation of the site as a high-status dwelling – which the finds collection confirms.

The life of the castle as an aristocratic residence came to an end in the early 16th century when the castle was sold to Richard Jervoise, a wealthy London merchant. It remained in the Jervoise family until the 19th century, although during the entire Jervoise tenure it had been sublet to various individuals. Excavations suggest that those buildings remaining were increasingly used as farm out-buildings during this period. (Linnane et al 2011)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 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 ReferenceSP021827
Latitude52.4427185058594
Longitude-1.96977996826172
Eastings402150
Northings282750
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print

Books

  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 445
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 279-80
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 90-1 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 52-3
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 321, 323-5
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 485-6 (Warwickshire)
  • Aberg, F.A. (ed), 1978, Medieval moated sites (CBA Research Report 17) p. 39 online copy
  • Montgomerie, 1924, in Page, Wm and Willis-Bund, J.W. (eds), VCH Worcestershire Vol. 4 p. 431, 433
  • Willis-Bund, J.W., 1913, 'Parishes: Northfield' VCH Worcestershire Vol. 3 p. 194-201 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 386 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 402 online copy

Journals

  • Symons, D., 1983-4, 'Weoley Castle and Northfield in 1424' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 93 p. 45–55
  • Brownsword, R., Pitt E. and Symons, D., 1983-4, 'The analysis of some metal objects from Weoley Castle' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 93 p. 33–43
  • Rigold, S.E., 1975, 'Structural aspects of medieval timber bridges' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 19 p. 65-7 online copy
  • Rigold, S.E., 1973 'Timber bridges at English castles and moated sites' Château Gaillard Vol. 6 p. 183-194
  • Smith J. T., 1965, 'The structure of the timber kitchen at Weoley Castle, Birmingham' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 82-93 download copy
  • (Oswald), 1964, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 260 download copy
  • Oswald, Adrian, 1962-3, 'Excavation of a 13th Century wooden building at Weoley Castle, Birmingham, 1960-61' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 6-7 p. 109-34 (Photographs and plans) download copy
  • Oswald, A.H., 1962, 'A wooden building of John's reign' Country Life Vol. 131 p. 405-6
  • (Oswald), 1962, Transactions of the Birmingham and West Midlands Archaeological Society Vol. 78 p. 61-85
  • (Oswald), 1961, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 328 download copy
  • (Oswald), 1958, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 2 p. 195-6 download copy
  • (Oswald), 1957, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 1 p. 157 download copy
  • Chatwin, 1947-8, Birmingham Archaeological Society Vol. 67 p. 24-5
  • Bark, 1932, Birmingham Archaeological Society Vol. 56 p. 119-20
  • Pearson, F.S., 1902, 'The Manor and Castle of Weoley' Transactions of the Birmingham and West Midlands Archaeological Society Vol. 28 p. 51-67 (history only) online copy
  • Pearson, F.S., 1896, 'The History of the Manor of Northfield and Weoley' Transactions of the Birmingham and West Midlands Archaeological Society Vol. 22 p. 36-48 online copy

Guide Books

  • Anon, 1974,_ Weoley Castle_ (Birmingham: Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery)
  • Burchard, 1965, (Birmingham)

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1910, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1258-66) Vol. 5 p. 307 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 457

Other

  • Barbican Research Associates, 2011, Weoley Castle Ruins online copy
  • Linnane, S.J., Morriss, R.K., Mould, Q. and Rátkai, S., 2011, An Archaeological Overview of Weoley Castle, Birmingham online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 70 online copy