Aldford Blobb Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameAldford Blobb Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCheshire
Modern AuthorityCheshire
1974 AuthorityCheshire
Civil ParishAldford

Alford is not directly mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. It was part of the scattered holding of Bigot de Loges. A timber and earth Motte and bailey castle was built here as part of a line of defence along the Welsh borders in C11. The first owner to take the name of Aldford was Robert de Aldford, who built or refortified the castle in stone just in C12. In 1209 Sir John Ardene succeeded to estate and the manor remained in the Arderne family until 1464, when it passed to Stanleys by marriage until 1503. For the next two centuries it was rented and leased. The castle fell into decay and much of stone was robbed. By end of C18 it had passed to Grosvenor family in whose estate it remains. Both the Motte and bailey were planted with trees and, with the water-filled bailey ditch, they formed a parkland. (Cheshire HER)

Motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork with remains of shell keep. The motte has an average height of 5.2m and is flat topped. It is surrounded by a ditch with an average width of 10m at the lower level and from the exterior 2.4m. an outer bank 1.2m high extends around part of the east side. The bailey is enclosed by a ditch 2m deep and 18m wide. The castle may date to C12. Excavation in 1959 by two scholboys found a piscina. Geophysical Survey in 1996 of the motte and bailey to locate any anomalies, in particular evidence of building remains. The positive results are hard to interpret; there may be one large rectangular building with a possible tower at its NW corner, or a range of buildings. There is some evidence of a wall enclosing the motte. No clearly defined archaeological anomalies were detected within the bailey. A small exploratory excavation in 1999 directed by S.W Ward and A. Lowerre of Boston College, USA, was carried out with volunteers from Chester Archaeological Society and elsewhere. Work continued in 2000. 2002 was the third season

No Norman deposits were found, but medieval features included an occupation layer, cess pit, possible stone building spread, bone fragments and C13-C14 pottery.

Gatehouse Comments

There is a slight suggestion that Aldford was the site of a Saxon royal palace (Dodgson, 1972, p. 75)

- 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 ReferenceSJ418595
Latitude53.1300086975098
Longitude-2.87014007568359
Eastings341890
Northings359520
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
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Books

  • Grimsditch, Brian, Nevell, Michael and Nevell, Richard, 2012, Buckton Castle and the Castles of the North West England (University of Salford Archaeological Monograph 2) p. 104
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 9
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 13
  • Tindall, Adrian (ed), 1995, Cheshire Past. An annual review of Archaeology in Cheshire Issue 4 (Chester: Cheshire County Council)
  • Cullen, P.W. and Hordern, R., 1986, Castles of Cheshire (Crossbow Books) p. 10
  • Sale, B. and Turner, R.C., 1985, The Motte and Bailey Castle at Aldford
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 66
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 176
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 88
  • Dodgson, J.McN., 1972, The Place-Names of Cheshire, Part 4 (English Place-Name Society 47) p. 77-8
  • Ridgway, Maurice Hill, 1958, 'Medieval Castles' in Sylvester, D. and Nulty, G. (eds), The Historical Atlas of Cheshire (Cheshire Community Council) p. 24-5
  • 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. 2 p. 162-3 online copy
  • Ormerod, G., 1882 (2edn), History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 2 p. 757-8
  • Ormerod, G., 1819, History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 2 p. 411-14 (tenurial history) online copy; Vol. 3 p. 448 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/historyofcountyp03orme#page/448/mode/1up]

Journals

  • < >Swallow, Rachel, 2012/13, 'Landscape of Power: Aldford castle, Cheshire' Cheshire History Vol. 52 p. 5-28 < > (particularly full history) online copy
  • Ward, S., autumn 2000, 'Digging deep at Aldford Castle' The Past Uncovered: Quarterly Newsletter of Chester Archaeology
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
  • Wilson, D.M. and Hurst, J.G., 1960, 'Medieval Britain in 1959' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 4 p. 145 download copy
  • Thompson, F.H., 1960, 'Stone Piscina from Aldford' Journal of the Chester and North Wales Archaeological Society Vol. 47 p. 35-6
  • 1910, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 65 p. 193
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 201 online copy

Guide Books

Primary Sources

  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 133

Other

  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 22 online copy
  • Shaw, Mike and Clark, Jo, 2003, Cheshire Historic Towns Survey, Aldford, Archaeological Aseessment online copy
  • Ward, S. (ed), 2003, Aldford Castle Cheshire 2002. Excavation Interim Report Archaeological Service Evaluation & Assessment Report No 66, Chester City
  • Council. Unpublished report (CCC report R2472)
  • Ward, S. (ed), 2001, Aldford Castle Cheshire 2000. Excavation Interim Report Chester Archaeology Evaluation & Assessment Report No 61, Chester City Council. Unpublished report (CCC report R2348)
  • Geophysical Surveys of Bradford, 1996, Aldford Castle, Cheshire: Report on Geophysical Survey unpublished document (CCC report R2492)
  • Sale, B and Turner, R., 1985, The Motte and Bailey Castle at Aldford Unpublished report in CSMR