Woodsford Castle

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWoodsford Castle
Alternative NamesWyrdesford
Historic CountryDorset
Modern AuthorityDorset
1974 AuthorityDorset
Civil ParishWoodsford

Surviving range of fortified manor house. C14 - licence to crenellate granted to William de Whitefield 1336. Roughly coursed rough ashlar walls. Thatched roofs, part hipped, part with coped gables. Originally first floor hall plan, over vaulted undercroft. Attic floor inserted in hall, floor levels altered, and roof rebuilt in C17. Possibly once formed a 3 or 4-sided courtyard house. At left end of main range a projecting C17 wing, of 3 storeys. In main range a chamfered string course at original first floor level. On ground floor, near left end, a ledged door in 4-centred arched opening, approached up a flight of stone steps, gives access to hall. Nearer right end, 2 similar doors at ground level, give access to service rooms in undercroft. Stone corbels above these, possibly for former pentice. Left of hall door, 2 slit windows. Right of it one slit window and a C17 four-light stone mullioned window. One slit window right of the lower doors. 2 C17 stone mullioned windows cut into the original string course. Right of these, above string course, 2 C14 mullioned and transomed. windows - one 2-light and one 1-light, with trefoiled lights. On present 3rd floor (above hall) 3 C17 mullioned windows with lead lights. At right end of main range a D-shaped stair turret, giving access to rooms at right end of building. External steps up to ledged door. Right of the main range a lower, 2-storeyed range, - probably servants' rooms. At right end of this, remains of former turret, with 4-centred arched opening. In this range a ledged door in 4-centred arched opening with slightly projecting surround. 2 slit windows on ground floor. On first floor, 2 mullioned and transomed windows, one 2-light and one 1-light, with trefoiled lights. In left (north) end wall, and in rear wall, a C14 window, 2-light mullioned and transomed window, upper lights ogee headed, lower lights shouldered arched. Various inserted C17 windows

Along rear wall, stone corbels at eaves level, probably for former parapet. Remains of turrets on this wall. Internally, ground floor vaulted throughout. Remains of large kitchen fireplace opening, with stone arch. Hall, at north end, has inserted ceiling, cutting off heads of original windows. Stone fireplace, with joggled lintel on moulded corbels. Off the hall at north east corner, a garderobe chamber, with chute, and wall basin. Spiral stairs to roof at north end of hall. 4-centred archway into stair hall - this, and adjoining bathroom the original chapel, with ogee arched piscina. Stone stairs in stair hall probably in original position. Solar, or Queen's room beyond chapel has squint into chapel. Rooms at south end unoccupied for a long period; largely unaltered except for changes of floor level. Several original door openings. A medieval house of considerable interest. (Listed Building Report)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceSY758903
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Howard Noyce All Rights Reserved
Copyright Howard Noyce 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.

Calculate Print


  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 684-90
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Wessex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 31
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 307, 309, 326
  • Pomeroy, Colin, 1998, Discover Dorset Castles and Forts (Dovecote Press) p. 46-8
  • Wilton, P., 1995, Castles of Dorset (Wimborne)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 69
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 129
  • Pevsner, N. and Newman J., 1972, Buildings of England: Dorset (London) p. 494
  • RCHME, 1970, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 2: south-east (HMSO) p. 397-400 no. 2 (plan) plates 199-200 online transcription
  • Oswald, 1959 (2edn), Country Houses of Dorset (London) p. 50-3
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1906, VCH Dorset Vol. 2 p. 450
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 255 online copy
  • Hutchins, J., 1861-73 (3edn), History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (Blandford) Vol. 1 p. 449-53
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 411 online copy


  • Gerard, Thomas, 1732 (written c. 1620) Coker’s Survey of Dorestshire – containing the Antiquities and Natural History of that County p. 75 online copy
  • 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. 134, 143
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 249 online copy; Vol. 4 p. 73 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl04lelauoft#page/73/mode/1up]


  • Anon, 2008-9, ' Woodsford Castle, Dorset' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 22 p. 161-2 (news report and listing report with illustration)
  • Moule, H.J., 1899, 'Woodsford Castle' Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 20 p. 161-166 (not a good article) online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1334-38) Vol. 3 p. 221 online copy