Shotwick Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameShotwick Castle
Alternative NamesShotewyke
Historic CountryCheshire
Modern AuthorityCheshire
1974 AuthorityCheshire
Civil ParishShotwick Park

Motte and bailey castle on the crest of a steep escarpment above the east bank of the former course of the River Dee. Its defensive position is enhanced by two steep sided watercourses flanking it on the north and south sides. The motte itself is a small mound, hexagonal in plan and 40m by 20m at the top. From limited excavation in C19 there appears to be the foundations of a stone keep surviving to a depth of 2.3m under the turf. The motte ditch surrounds the motte and is about 25m wide and 3m deep. This would have been flooded at high tide. To south east is a small bailey 38m wide at the top. Built by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, during C11. Under various owners formed part of the defence of the borders with the Welsh until 1281 when peace was finally made with the rulers of Wales. In 1327 the manor was emparked as a royal game park for the recreation of Edward III. The last major repairs are documented in 1371. (PastScape)

Shotwick was one of the castles of the earldom of Chester that came into the King's hands in 1237. Although it commanded a ford over the River Dee, it was never of more than minor importance, and when the Black Prince visited in 1353, at which time it was not even garrisoned, it was described as a manor rather than a castle. Last major repairs documented in 1371. (HKW)

Gatehouse Comments

An archaeological field investigation was carried out in Dec 1995-Jan 1996 and identified a medieval formal garden on the castle site. Isolated from medieval settlement. This does seem to be a border defence post, built for military and administrative reasons in the C11 but maintained as a convenient 'grace and favour' manor near the port of Chester, complete with ornamental ponds, gardens and a deer park. Did this manor lose it's usefulness, as a stop on the way to Ireland (important in a time of sail when one had to wait for the right weather), when Chester stopped being a port?

- 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 ReferenceSJ349704
Latitude53.2268486022949
Longitude-2.9760799407959
Eastings334960
Northings370450
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle 06072017 143656.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-10 06072017 152659.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-2 06072017 143702.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-3 06072017 143732.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-4 06072017 143813.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-5 06072017 143840.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-6 06072017 143900.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-7 06072017 143911.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-8 06072017 152514.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 13' 37.6" Longitude -2° 58' 32.56"

Shotwick Castle-9 06072017 152524.Jpg

View full Sized Image

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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. 21
  • Everson, P.L., 1998, ''Delighfully surrounded with woods and ponds' field evidence for medieval gardens in England' in P. Patterson (ed), There by Design (London: RCHME) p. 35-6
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 17 (slight)
  • Cullen, P.W. and Hordern, R., 1986, Castles of Cheshire (Crossbow Books) p. 9-10
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 68
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 297
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 310-11
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 833-4
  • 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)
  • Barber, 1910, in Barber and Ditchfield, Memories of Old Cheshire (London) p. 51-2
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 180-1 online copy
  • Sulley, P., 1889, The Hundred of Wirral p. 114-16
  • Ormerod, G., 1882 (2edn), History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 2 p. 571
  • Ormerod, G., 1819, History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 2 p. 314-15 (tenurial history) online copy

Antiquarian

  • 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. 56
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906 The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 3 p. 101 online copy; Vol. 5 p. 24 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl05lelauoft#page/24/mode/1up]

Journals

  • Swallow, Rachel, 2016, 'Cheshire Castles of the Irish Sea Cultural Zone' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 173.2 p. 288-341
  • Taylor, C., 2000, 'Medieval Ornamental Landscapes' Landscapes Vol. 1 p. 38-55 (reprinted in Liddiard, Robert (ed), 2016, Late Medieval Castles (Boydell Press) p. 375-392)
  • RCHME, 1998-99, 'Shotwick Castle, Cheshire' Castle Studies Group Newsletter No. 12 p. 30 online copy
  • May 1997, 'News–Ornamental water garden found at Cheshire castle' British Archaeology No. 24
  • Carrington, Peter, 1993, 'Shotwick Castle: anatomy of a reconstruction painting' Chester City Council Archaeological Service News No. 4 p. 2-3 online copy
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1970, 'Castles in Wales and the Marches (Additions and corrections to lists published in 1963 and 1967)' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 119 p. 119-124
  • 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
  • Hewitt, H.J., 1929, 'Medieval Cheshire: an economic and social history of Cheshire in the reigns of the three Edwards' Chetham Society New Series Vol. 88 p. 96
  • Stewart-Brown, R., 1912, 'The royal manor and park of Shotwick' Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Vol. 64 p. 82-142 (illus, plan)

Primary Sources

  • 1916, Calendar of Liberate Rolls Henry III (1226-1240) Vol. 1 p. 451