Sudeley Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameSudeley Castle
Alternative NamesSudley; Sudleagh; Sudleie
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthorityGloucestershire
1974 AuthorityGloucestershire
Civil ParishSudeley

Re-built in the reign of Henry VI on the site of a Norman castle dating from the reign of Stephen. It is very unlikely that any of the earlier castle now remains (Dent-Brocklehurst 1950), although in 1854 Sir Gilbert Scott thought there were indications of it below an apartment known as Katherine Parr's lodging (Dent 1877). The 15th century castle probably consisted of two courtyards surrounded by a moat, all traces of which were obliterated in the 19th century. It was extensively altered and added to during the 16th century, but suffered severely in the Civil War, and was later neglected and used for building material until the 19th century, since when it has been gradually restored (Dent-Brocklehurst 1950).

Sudeley Castle mid 15th c, though manor house on this site since Saxon times. Castle rebuilt later 15th c, altered c 1572 and slighted 1649. Major restoration and additions 1837-40 and again John D Wyatt 1863-89. Lesser improvements 1901-07 and again 1930s by W H Godfrey. Extensive modernisation to interior and parts of exterior carried out by the present family. (English Heritage Register of parks and gardens)

Sir Ralph Boteler (1396-1473), Lord Sudeley, was responsible for building Sudeley Castle. In 1441 he returned from France and in 1443 he succeeded Cromwell as Treasurer. He is likely to have started building his castle on his return. The castle was crenellated in 1458 without a license. Boteler was forced to sell to the crown, Edward IV in 1469. The ornate suite on the east side of the building is usually attributed to Richard, Earle of Gloucestershire during his ownership (1469-78) (AJ 1985; Platt 1984). (PastScape)

Former castle, now country house. Mid C15 for Ralph Boteler; late C15 for Richard III; much altered c1572 for Lord Chandos, mid C19 for J. Dent by Sir G.G. Scott, later C19 for Mrs. E. Dent by J.D. Wyatt, early C20 by M. Anderson, 1930's by W.H. Godfrey for Major Dent-Brocklehurst

Coursed, squared stone and ashlar, stone slate roofs, lead flats, probably Welsh slate roofs. ... Last home of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's widow; castle slighted 1649, purchased by Dents in 1837 and restored by them. (Listed Building Report)

In § 483 it tells of Earl Robert's capture of Harptree, Sudeley and South Cerney (Potter 1955 p. xli)

Ubicumque tamen commode fieri posse uidebat, et militis et ducis probe officium exequebatur: denique munitiones, que potissimum partibus susceptis nocebant, strenue debellauit, scilicet Harpetreu, quam rex Stephanus a quibusdam militibus comitis, antequam in Angliam uenisset, ceperat; et alias multas, Sudleie, Cernei, quam rex, ut dixi, militibus suis impleuerat; et castellum quod idem rex contra Valengeford offirmauerat, solo complanauit. Finally he reduced with vigour the fortifications that did most harm to the cause he had adopted, for example Harptree, which the king had taken from some of the earl's knights before he came to England, and many others. Sudeley Cerney which the king as I said had filled with his knights and castles the king had made against Wallingford. (Historia Novella)

Gatehouse Comments

Malmesbury Historia Novella is a slight reference but it does seem reasonable to suppose that there was some earthwork and timber based fortification at Sudeley in 1140. The assumption this was on the same site as the later licenced house of Ralph Boteler is also reasonable but is only supported by analogue with other sites. The resent building is C15 quadrangular castle rebuilt in the late C15 and altered circa 1572. It fell into a period of disuse and ruin after 1649. It was restored as a country house in 1837-40 and 1868-89. Further improvements took place in 1901-07 and in the 1930s. Sir Ralph Boteler received a pardon for crenellating without licence in 1458.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSP031276
Latitude51.9471206665039
Longitude-1.95643997192383
Eastings403100
Northings227600
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright James Stringer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 358, 385-6
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 170-6, 212
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Gloucestershire and Bristol (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 33-4
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 80-1
  • Platt, C., 1984, Medieval Britain from the air p. 187
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 183
  • Verey, David, 1979, Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: the Cotswolds p. 438-40
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Barnard, 1911, in Ditchfield, Memorials of Old Gloucestershire (London) p. 98-107 (slight)
  • 1908 (4edn), A handbook and guide to places of special interest in the town of Tewkesbury and the surrounding neighbourhood (Tewkesbury: W.North) online transcription
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 376-9 online copy
  • Dent, E., 1877, Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley (London)
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 463-4 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 262-3 online copy
  • Lysons, 1801, Antiquities of Gloucestershire (London) plates xlix-li
  • Willyams, 1791, History of Sudeley Castle (London) (of little value)
  • Rudder, S., 1779, A new history of Gloucestershire p. 716-18 online copy (large file)
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 101

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. 170, 188
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 56 online copy

Journals

  • Walker, D., 1991, 'Gloucestershire Castles' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 109 p. 16, 19 online copy
  • Hall, M., 1990 April, Country Life
  • 1985, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 142 p. 334-35
  • Rawes, B., 1978, 'A Preliminary Check List of Moated Sites in Gloucestershire' Glevensis Vol. 12 p. 37 online copy
  • Rawes, B., 1977, 'A Check List of Castles and other Fortified Sites of Medieval Date in Gloucestershire' Glevensis Vol. 11 p. 39-41 online copy
  • Lees-Milne, 1967, The Connoisseur Vol. 164 p. 72-7
  • Faulkner, P.A., 1966, 'Sudeley Castle; Berkeley Castle; Beverstone Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 122 p. 172-238
  • Oswald, A., 1940 Nov, Country Life Vol. 88 p. 454-8, 478-83, 500-4
  • Dent-Brocklehurst, M., 1913, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 19 p. 55-61 (reprint of 1910 article)
  • Dent-Brocklehurst, M., 1910, 'Proceedings at the Annual Spring Meeting at Toddington and Winchcombe' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 33 p. 6-11 online copy
  • Tipping, 1909, Country Life Vol. 25 p. 486-95
  • Latimer, J., 1889-90, 'Leland in Gloucestershire' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 14 p. 232-235 online copy
  • 1879-80, 'Transactions at Cheltenham' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 4 p. 24-6 online copy

Guide Books

  • Dent-Brocklehurst, M., c.1950, Sudeley Castle Guidebook (with plan by Walter Godfrey)

Primary Sources

  • Potter, K.R. (ed), 1976 (2edn), Gesta Stephani (Oxford University Press) p. xxiii
  • Potter, K.R. (ed), 1955, The Historia Novella of William of Malmesbury (Nelson's Medieval Texts) p. 42 (A revised edition by Edmund King (Oxford University Press, 1999) should also be consulted)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1909, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry VI (1446-52) Vol. 5 p. 422 online copy
  • SC12/8/3 (Survey of temp. Henry VII) The National Archives reference

Other

  • Kretschmer, R.,1973, Ralph Botiller, Lord Sudeley (BA Thesis, Keele University)