Portchester Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Palace (Royal)

There are major building remains

NamePortchester Castle
Alternative NamesPorchester; castro de Porecestre; Porcestre
Historic CountryHampshire and the Isle of Wight
Modern AuthorityHampshire
1974 AuthorityHampshire
Civil ParishFareham

After the Norman Conquest the manor of Portchester was granted to William Mauduit and by the time of his death in about 1100 the inner bailey of the castle had been created. The raising of the keep to two storeys took place before 1120, at which date the castle reverted to the Crown. In about 1130 the castle was acquired by William Pont de l'Arche who may have built the curtain wall of the bailey. The doubling in height of the keep and the addition of a chapel and a chamber to its forebuilding must also have taken place at this time. Within the castle William founded a priory which was abandoned as unsuitable by 1150. By 1158 the castle had again reverted to the Crown and, in the late 12th century, domestic buildings began to appear around the inner bailey. The castle declined in importance during the 13th century; in a survey of 1275 the buildings were described as being old and ruinous. However, between 1320 and 1326 major building works were carried out with considerable expenditure on walls, gates and various halls and chambers. The buildings on the west of the inner bailey became a self contained palace, later rebuilt by Richard II in the years after 1396. The north east tower in the bailey, known as Ashton's Tower, was also built in the 14th century. These buildings marked the final stage of the military and domestic development of the castle after which the 15th century marked another period of decay. In 1527 a new store house was erected within the castle, but had been demolished and removed to Portsmouth by 1584. Sir Thomas Cornwallis made considerable alterations to the castle in the early 17th century after which it was used for housing prisoners of war on a number of occasions between 1665 and 1814. On the last occasion, during the Napoleonic War, barrack blocks were built in the outer bailey to house soldiers guarding the prisoners

After 1814 the castle was converted to a hospital, later being used as a prison for deserters and a store before finally closing in June 1819. (Scheduling Report)

The castle is first documented in 1153 when it was restored to William Mauduit, but on his accession in 1154, Henry II took it into royal possession, where it remained thereafter. It occupies the north-west corner of the Saxon Shore Fort, and has a rectangular bailey occupying 8 acres. The Land Gate is on the west side and the Watergate on the east of the Saxon Shore Fort. In the 12th century the Roman wall was broken through to build the rectangular tower-keep which projects beyond the line of the Roman wall.

In June 1216 the castle surrendered to Louis of France but was recovered by the following April when Oliver d'Aubeny was ordered to level it, or failing that, fire the keep. After the expulsion of Louis' army, it was further repaired and maintained.

From 1396-9, Richard II rebuilt the great hall as a new set of apartments along the South and East sides of the bailey, the ruins of which still remain. By 1441 the castle was regarded as ruinous and feeble, and despite a 10 year renovation programme, the money was not enough to remedy the decay. (PastScape ref. HKW)

The main walls date from C.3/4; they are those of the Roman Fort Portus Adurni. The walls form a square 200 yds. wide, built of flint with brick and stone bonding courses, substantially repaired in the mediaeval period. Fourteen, of the original twenty, hollow semi-circular bastions survive. Entrances are in the centres of west and east sides, the gateways now standing are mediaeval. In the north west corner of the fort is a mediaeval castle built during the reign of Henry II, moated to the south and east The keep extends beyond the Roman walls, and is forty ft. square with walls eight ft. thick, originally of three storeys, a fourth was added in C.13. Other buildings erected in C.14 and C.17 are now in ruins. (Hampshire Treasures ref. Pevsner)

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 ReferenceSU624045
Latitude50.8380088806152
Longitude-1.11473000049591
Eastings462480
Northings104560
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr
Photograph by Richard and Gill Long. All rights reserved. More images at Flickr

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Books

  • Osborne, Mike, 2011, Defending Hampshire: The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present (Stroud: The History Press) p. 21, 22, 25, 28, 29, 41, 44, 45, 47, 74-5, 244
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 394-6
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Wessex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 44-9
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 87-8 (plan)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford)
  • Pevsner, N., and Lloyd, D., 1990, Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (London, Penguin) p. 377-82
  • James, T.B., 1990, The Palaces of Medieval England (London; Seaby) p. 18, 134, 174
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 184-6
  • Furtado, Peter et al (eds), 1988, Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain (London) p. 25
  • Cunliffe, B.W. and Munby, J.T., 1985, Excavations at Portchester Castle 4: Medieval, the inner bailey (London: Society of Antiquaries of London Research Report)
  • Barron, W.G., 1985, The Castles of Hampshire and Isle of Wight (Paul Cave) p. 36-40
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 192
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 280
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1977, Excavations at Portchester Castle 3: Medieval, the outer bailey and its defences (London: Society of Antiquaries of London Research Report)
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1976, Excavations at Portchester Castle 2: Saxon (London: Society of Antiquaries of London Research Report)
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works Vol. 3: 1485-1660 (part 1) p. 291-2
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 281-5
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1967, Studies in Local History, Portchester (Portsmouth City Council: Portsmouth Papers 1)
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 783-92
  • Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 18-19, 85-6
  • Cooke, 1928, Portchester Castle (Portsmouth)
  • Williams-Freeman, J.P.,1915, An Introduction to Field Archaeology as Illustrated by Hampshire (London) p. 263-6, 394-5
  • Evans, Herbert A., 1912, Castles of England and Wales (London) p. 283-90
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1908, VCH Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Vol. 3 p. 151-8 online transcription
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 209-12 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 388-401 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 413-5 online copy
  • King, Edward, 1804, Munimenta antiqua or Observations on antient castles (W.Bulmer and Co) Vol. 3 p. 211 online copy
  • King, Edward, 1801, Munimenta antiqua or Observations on antient castles (W.Bulmer and Co) Vol. 2 p. 22-35 online copy
  • 1784, The Antiquarian Repertory (London) Vol. 4 p. 75-6 and plate
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 109
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 2 p. 213-16 online copy

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. 208
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 282, 283 online copy

Journals

  • Neil Guy, 2015-16, 'The Portcullis - design and development' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 29 p. 132-201
  • Thompson, M.W., 1992 Nov, 'A suggested dual origin for keeps'' Fortress: The castles and fortifications quarterly Vol. 15 p. 3-15
  • Coad, J.G., 1990, 'New warfare into old castles: a study of the adaptability of some fortifications in South East England, 1740-1940'' Château Gaillard Vol. 14 p. 61-76
  • Hughes, Michael, 1989, 'Hampshire Castles and the Landscape 1066-1216' Landscape History Vol. 2 p. 27-60
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 315
  • Fletcher, J.M. and Tapper, M.C., 1984, 'Medieval artefacts and structures dated by dendrochronology' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 28 p. 119-121 download copy
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 209
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1977, 'Early Gunports' Fort Vol. 4 p. 83
  • Webster, L.E. and Cherry, J., 1976, 'Medieval Britain in 1975' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 20 p. 184 download copy
  • 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 17 p. 143 download copy
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1972, 'Excavations at Portchester Castle, Hampshire, 1969-1971: fourth interim report (3rd- to 19th-century occupation) ' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 52 p. 70-83
  • 1971, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 15 p. 147 download copy
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1970, 'The Saxon culture-sequence at Portchester Castle (Hampshire)' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 50 p. 67-85
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1969, 'Excavations at Portchester Castle, Hants, 1966-68; third interim report' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 49 p. 62-74
  • Cunliffe and Rigold, 1967, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 123 p. 193-5
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1966, 'Excavations at Portchester Castle, Hants, 1963-5 Second Interim report' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 46 p. 39-49
  • 1965, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 189-90 download copy
  • 1964, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 253 download copy
  • Cunliffe, B.W., 1963, 'Excavations at Portchester Castle, Hants, 1961-3' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 43 p. 218-27
  • 1962-3, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 6-7 p. 321 download copy
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1955, 'Royal Castle-building in England 1154-1216' English Historical Review Vol. 70 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)) p. 19-64
  • 1935, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 92 p. 413 online copy
  • Oswald, 1934, Country Life Vol. 75 p. 458-63, 486-91
  • Brakspear, H., 1924, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 81 p. 352-6 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1877, The Builder Vol. 35 p. 756-60 (reprinted MMA)
  • Hartshorne, 1845, Proceedings of the Archaeological Institute p. 1-43
  • King, 1777, 'Observations on antient castles' Archaeologia Vol. 4 p. 364-413 esp 405-6 (reprinted in Munimenta Antiqua) online copy

Guide Books

  • Goodall, John, 2008, Portchester Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Goodall, John, 2003, Portchester Castle, Hampshire (London: English Heritage)
  • Munby, J.T., 1990, Portchester Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Rigold, S.E., 1985, Portchester Castle, Hampshire (London: English Heritage)
  • Renn, D.F., 1972, Portchester Castle (HMSO)
  • Rigold, S.E., 1965, Portchester Castle, Hampshire (HMSO)
  • Peers, 1953 (rev edn), Portchester Castle, Hampshire (HMSO)

Primary Sources

  • Mason, E., (ed), 1980, The Beauchamp Cartulary Charters 1100 - 1268 (Pipe Roll Society 81) p. 99- no. 167
  • Richardson, H.G. and Sayles, G.O., 1963, The governance of medieval England from the conquest to magna charta (Edinburgh University Press) p. 434 (quoting manuscript)
  • Pipe Rolls 1163, 1172-3 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 421 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1216-25) Vol. 1 p. 62 view online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 231-4
  • C145/128(12) /9 (Survey of 1335) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 2 p. 358 No. 1472 [online copy > https://archive.org/stream/calendarofinqu02grea#page/358/mode/1up])
  • C145/144(4) (Survey of 1341) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 2 p. 431 No. 1747 [online copy > https://archive.org/stream/calendarofinqu02grea#page/431/mode/1up])
  • E178/4497 (Survey of 9 James I) The National Archives reference
  • SP14/48/46i (Survey of 1609) The National Archives reference
  • SP14/49/82 (Survey of 1609) The National Archives reference

Other

  • Dave Hopkins, 2004, Extensive Urban Survey - Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (English Heritage) Download copy