Codnor Castle

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCodnor Castle
Alternative NamesCodenor; Cotenoure; Courtenoure
Historic CountryDerbyshire
Modern AuthorityDerbyshire
1974 AuthorityDerbyshire
Civil ParishAldercar And Langley Mill

Some remains of C13 stone castle built on earlier motte. Listed as a fortified manor, C13/C14 with later additions, now ruinous. The moat has been mostly destroyed by ironstone workings. Ashlar and coursed squared sandstone. Eighteen foot high remains of former rectangular three storey tower to north with connecting wall to later outer court to south. Tower has remains of large external stack to north wall and small square openings to west wall. Outer court has walls on three sides with central ashlar polygonal tower with cross slit windows on two sides and small cusped ogee window to left side. West wall has a four-centred arched fireplace to centre with quoined doorcase to left side. Other wall without openings. Built by the Grey family of Codnor and taken over by the Zouch family in 1496. (PastScape)

The remains of Codnor Castle lie on the edge of the upland forming the Erewash valley boundary about three miles east of Ripley. "In the sixteenth century this stronghold consisted of two large oblong - if not rectangular - courts, separated by a wall strengthened by four circular towers, nearly equidistant, the gateway between the courts being placed in the centre." The principal building, of three storeys, seems to have been in the northern or innermost court. Part of the boundary wall on the east front remains and the southern extremity shows "twenty courses of squared freestone of broad and narrow work (circa 1200) capped by later shale masonry (circa 1330), and is clearly coeval with the circular towers." The wall between the courts, with the circular towers, was once the south wall of the original fortress. A window above the basement dates to about 1350 or a little earlier. Of the south courtyard, a later addition, only the west wall remains. The eastern side is occupied by a farmhouse. The principal gateway must have been in the south wall, now destroyed

As many as six farmsteads are said to have been built out of materials obtained from this castle. From an observation made by Glover, it seems that in about 1740 the outer walls of the castle were then tolerably perfect. This information may have been derived from a view of the structure engraved by Buck in 1727. In the mid 19th century the ground within the northern or inner court was completely turned over in search of ironstone. Traces of gardens are still visible (in 1892) in the field to the north-west and a double row of trees formerly grey on the eastern bank of the moat. The park connected with the castle has long been under cultivation; it is said to have contained about 3000 acres. The estates at Codnor were acquired by Henry de Grey before 1208 on marriage to the heiress. He undoubtedly erected the circular towers. John, Lord Grey, probably repaired, enlarged and strengthened the castle, including the c. 1350 window. The Greys continued in possession of Codnor until 1496 when it passed to the Zouch family, who remained in possession until 1634. (Derbyshire HER ref. Kerry)

In June 2007 an archaeological evaluation was undertaken by Channel 4's Time Team. This involved the excavation of six trenches, three in the lower court to examine the approaches to the gatehouse and three in the upper court to explore the rear of the extant gatehouse and to trace the curtain wall of the upper court. The trenches in the lower court encountered a large moat, approximately 6m wide and 3m deep, with substantial masonry abutments that would have supported a drawbridge. Pottery recovered from the fills of the moat indicates that this probably fell out of use and was backfilled in C16 or early C17. The finds from the lower fills suggest that the moat was probably open from the early C13. The lower fills also produced a notable find, a gold noble of Henry V (1413-1422), struck at the London mint. Although much of the archaeology in the upper court had been heavily disturbed by post-medieval and modem coal extraction and garden features, excavations here revealed part of the back wall of the gatehouse, which appears to have been built in the early C13, and parts of the northern and eastern curtain wall, including the footings of a tower or turret on the western wall. Occupation deposits were found within the turret, although these appear to relate to a fairly late phase in the use of the castle. Analysis of the finds suggests that the masonry castle was probably established in the early C13 and continued in use until C16 or early C17. (Derbyshire HER ref. Wessex Archaeology)

Gatehouse Comments

Built of a rather beautiful golden yellow freestone.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceSK433499
Latitude53.0448417663574
Longitude-1.35483002662659
Eastings443360
Northings349980
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Andrew Herrett All Rights Reserved
Photo by Andrew Herrett All Rights Reserved
Photo by Andrew Herrett All Rights Reserved
Photo by Andrew Herrett All Rights Reserved
Photo by Andrew Herrett All Rights Reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 449
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 18
  • Craven, Maxwell and Stanley, Michael, 2002, The Lost Houses of Derbyshire (Landmark Publishing) p. 26
  • Craven, Maxwell and Stanley, Michael, 2001, The Derbyshire Country House (Landmark Publishing) Vol. 2 p. 262
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 368
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 49
  • Smith, Michael E., 1992, Castles and Manor Houses in and around Derbyshire (Derby)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 109
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus revised by Elizabeth Williamson, 1978, Buildings of England: Derbyshire (Harmondsworth) p. 154
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Cox, J.C., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Derbyshire Vol. 1 p. 380-1 (plan) online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 464-6 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 220 online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1817, Magna Britannia Vol. 5 Derbyshire p. ccxxxvi online transcription
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 56

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. 101
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 31 online copy

Journals

  • Birbeck, Vaughan, 2009, 'Investigations at Codnor Castle, Derbyshire' Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 129 p. 187-94
  • (TimeTeam), 2008/9 'Time Team at Codnor Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 22 p. 152-4 (synopsis of TV programme)
  • Speight, Sarah, 2008, 'Castles as Past Culture: Living with Castles in the Post-Medieval World' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 23 p. 385-94 (slight)
  • Anon, 2007, 'Codnor Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 20 p. 147 (preservation society news report)
  • Stevenson, W., 1920, 'The south court of Codnor Castle' Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 42 p. 46-59
  • Corfield, F.C., 1893, 'Archaeological gleanings in the neighbourhood of Codnor Castle' Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 15 p. 105 plate vi online copy
  • Kerry, C., 1892 'Codnor Castle, and its ancient owners' Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 14 p. 16-33 online copy

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. 166

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 2 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 2 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 2 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 20 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 20 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 17 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 27 online copy
  • Alexander, M. and Millward, J., 2008, Codnor Castle, Derbyshire: earthwork analysis: survey report (English Heritage Research Department report series 82/2008) online copy
  • Wessex Archaeology, 2008, Codnor Castle Derbyshire Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results online copy
  • Time Team (Mike Aston et al), 2008, Jan 6 (1st broadcast), 'Gold in the moat' Time Team TV Programme (Time Team, a Videotext/Picture House production for Channel 4) view online
  • Walker, S.T. and Partners, 1993, Codnor Castle Derbyshire: Architect's Report (Derby)