Allesley Ringwork

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameAllesley Ringwork
Alternative NamesAusley
Historic CountryWarwickshire
Modern AuthorityCoventry
1974 AuthorityWest Midlands
Civil ParishAllesley

'At Allesley there is a ring earthwork, which is pointed out as a castle and may be another of the same kind as Castle Hills, Fillongley.' Dugdale says: 'Upon the brow of an hill, in the Park here at Allesley, do appear some ruins of buildings, which as the inhabitants say, were of a Castle; but in record I cannot find, that it was ever so termed.' Presumably it is to this earthwork he refers, though to day there is no trace of a building. The earthworks consist of a circular platform about 150 ft. across surrounded by a dry ditch 5 or 6 ft. deep, the excavated soil from which was thrown up on the outside forming a bank about 4 ft. high for about two thirds of its circumference. The whole site is thickly covered with large trees and it is difficult to observe the detail of the earthwork (Chatwin). A circular castle mound surrounded by the remains of a moat with an outer rampart to the south. Generally as described above. The surface of the mound is rather uneven but there is no definite trace of an encircling rampart. Of the ruins, referred to by Dugdale, no remains now exist although many small fragments of sandstone are scattered on the surface of the mound. The mound has been dug into on the north, and a brick retaining wall constructed. The moat is now dry. General condition poor and much overgrown. (PastScape)

The castle mound…is a substantial circular earthwork motte measuring 50m in diameter and surrounded by a 15m wide ditch. There is no documentary evidence as to who built it and when and no archaeological work has ever been carried out at the site. It is likely that it pre-dates the establishment of the deer park (MCT2191) and one theory is that it was an illegally built fortification, constructed without permission of the king, dating from the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda in the 1140s

This would have meant that it was perhaps short-lived and therefore explain why it does not appear in documents…Local historians have keenly debated whether or not the Castle Mound was a genuine castle but most agree that the Manor House and home farm of the Lords of the Manor was sited within what later became the park. A survey of the Manor of Allesley conducted in 1387 records what appears to be a manorial complex consisting of several buildings including a chapel which has fallen into disrepair…it is thought that these buildings were situated on or in the vicinity of the Castle Mound as the description of buildings being 'with in' or 'beyond the bounds' suggests the presence of a moat. The survey also records a stone dovecote which may be the predecessor of the one that survives today close to Allesley Hall. The presence of a dovecote confirms that it would have been a residence of someone of significant status, as the keeping of doves was restricted to aristocracy in the medieval period…The Manor House in the park described as ruinous in 1387 is thought to have been rebuilt in the early post-medieval period, as there are several documentary references to it from the 16th and 17th centuries. However, by 1650 the Manor House appears to have fallen on hard times again…By 1663 Allesley Park along with the Lordship of the Manor had been bought by Thomas Flynt who built a new house, which probably stood where the present Allesley Hall now stands. (Coventry HER ref. Chistopher, 2009)

Gatehouse Comments

The site is not on the brow of the hill but slightly below the brow on the false visual crest as viewed from Allesley Church and Hall; is is overlooked from the south. The suggestion of an Anarchy date is speculative and should be taken with caution.

- 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 ReferenceSP299800
Latitude52.4176902770996
Longitude-1.56172001361847
Eastings429910
Northings280050
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. 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.

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 21
  • Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 480
  • Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1951, VCH Warwickshire Vol. 6 p. 3 online transcription

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Chatwin, P.B., 1947-8, 'Castles in Warwickshire' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 67 p. 23

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk West Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 60 online copy (re-entry)
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 74 online copy
  • Patrick, Christopher, 2009, Allesley Park Management Plan