Rufus Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameRufus Castle
Alternative NamesBow & Arrow; Rufus's; Portlaund
Historic CountryDorset
Modern AuthorityDorset
1974 AuthorityDorset
Civil ParishPortland

Rufus Castle, an irregular pentagonal tower with walls of roughly squared rubble and no roof, may be a rebuilding of the castle which was captured by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, in 1142. The present building is probably mainly of the late C15. The walls to the north and west stand to their full height and retain at the top a number of shaped corbels for a machicolated parapet, but part of the south-east wall, which is thinner, has broken away. To the south-west is a gateway with four-centred, arched head; to the north is a C19 gateway with a round-arched head approached by a bridge of the same date. In the south-east wall is a chamfered stone jamb of a doorway which has been closed up. In the north and west walls, at first-floor level, are five embrasures, splayed internally under segmental rear arches, with circular gunports. Outside the south gateway are the remains of stone footings and there are said to have been further buildings to the east, where the cliff has fallen away (RCHME).

The pentagonal tower of Bow and Arrow Castle overlooking Church Ope Cove has late Medieval gunholes, but rests uncomfortably on an earlier foundation (to the north) and stepped plinth (to the west) which may have been a C12 keep (Renn; Scheduling Report).

The gunports consist simply of a hole bored through a single ashlar slab, and are typically 15th century ( Fort 1980). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Aylmer de Lusignan obtained a licence to crenellate, in 1257, the insulam de Portand_' and Robert, Earl of Gloucester, was granted a similar licence just 14 months later. It is generally presumed that Rufus castle is the site of any work that may have resulted from these licences and any remains that may date from the period exist only at foundation level, or have been lost to cliff erosion.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceSY697711
Latitude50.53955078125
Longitude-2.42828989028931
Eastings369750
Northings71170
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Joe Dunckley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Joe Dunckley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Joe Dunckley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Joe Dunckley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Joe Dunckley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Wessex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 26
  • Pomeroy, Colin, 1998, Discover Dorset Castles and Forts (Dovecote Press) p. 32,34-36
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 167
  • Wilton, P., 1995, Castles of Dorset (Wimborne)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 66-7
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 125, 129
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 288
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 113
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Pevsner, N. and Newman, J., 1972, Buildings of England: Dorset (London) p. 342
  • RCHME, 1970, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 2: south-east (HMSO) p. 252-3 no. 7 (plan) online transcription
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 239 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

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 136
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 252 online copy

Journals

  • Hunt, A., 1983, 'Rufus or Bow and Arrow Castle, Portland' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 140 p. 74
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 219-20
  • 1980, Fort Vol. 8 p. 5
  • King, D.J.C., 1947, 'Bow and Arrow Castle, Portland' Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 69 p. 65-67
  • Pentin, H., 1916, 'Old Portland' Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 37 p. 230-233 online copy
  • Symonds, H., 1914, 'Sandsfoot and Portland Castles' Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 35 p. 27-40 online copy
  • Head, J.Merrick, 1891, 'Portland: Historical Notes, Descent of the Manor, etc.' Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 12 p. 121-124 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1910, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1258-66) Vol. 5 p. 11 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1247-58) Vol. 4 p. 607 online copy
  • Potter, K.R. (ed), 1955, The Historia Novella of William of Malmesbury (Nelson's Medieval Texts) p. 76 (eodemquea impetu insulam Portland, quam incastellauerant, subegit) (A revised edition by Edmund King (Oxford University Press, 1999) should also be consulted)

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South West Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 153 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 162 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 156 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 172 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 157 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 154 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 158 online copy