Brampton Bryan Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameBrampton Bryan Castle
Alternative NamesBrampton Brian
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishBrampton Bryan

The monument includes the ruined, earthwork and buried remains of the quadrangular castle at Brampton Bryan, situated on floodplain south of the River Teme, 50m north of the church. The medieval layout of the castle appears to have been four ranges built around a courtyard, with a gatehouse contained within the southern curtain wall, to which a large outer gatehouse was later added. The whole monument was constructed on a mound or motte, and surrounded by a moat. The north range contained the hall and service bay, both at first floor level, with the kitchen to the east. Private accomodation was contained in the other ranges, with further chambers above the gate passage of the inner gatehouse, and on the first floor of the outer gatehouse. The castle originally stood on an earthen motte, part of which can be seen around the inner gatehouse and hall range. This in turn was surrounded by a moat, with the approach to the castle being from the south across a bridge to the gatehouse. Subsequent landscaping for the later house and gardens has obscured the full extent of the castle accommodation and the moat at the surface, however evidence for these features will survive below ground. The steep slope to the north of the hall range wall, which now continues eastwards along the edge of the garden, probably represents the original northern extent of the motte. The standing remains are built of local sandstone rubble and ashlar, and are Listed Grade I. They represent several phases of construction, and include the outer gatehouse, part of the inner gatehouse, and part of the south wall of the hall and kitchen range. The earliest documentary references tell us that Bryan de Brampton had a 'tower with curtilage' on the site in 1295

It is generally considered that the earliest phase of the present structure is represented by the great hall and inner gatehouse, which were either de Brampton's work or were built shortly after 1309, when the castle passed to Robert Harley by his marriage to Bryan's daughter Margaret. The inner gatehouse projected inwards from the southern curtain wall, which still stands to its east and west, and its north and south wall stand almost to their full original height. The entrance is formed by two arches through the wall, with an opening for a portcullis between them; an early example of ball-flower ornament can still be seen over the inner arch. There is a single arch at the northern exit of the gateway passage, to the east of which is a contemporary doorway, and to the west the shell of a 16th century stair-turret. The first floor would have housed the portcullis, and contains a single chamber, with a garderobe or latrine closet. A fireplace in the north wall is flanked by single windows, both with seats in their embrasures. With the construction of the outer gatehouse, two doorways were inserted into the south wall of the inner gatehouse, giving access to the upper staircases and walkway along the top of the outer gatehouse walls. At second floor level the single chamber in the inner gatehouse also has a fireplace and garderobe. There is a window with seat to the north, west of which a foliate capital of 13th century date has been reused in the wall. The outer gatehouse was added some time later in the 14th century. The gateway in its south wall consists of two arches enclosing a portcullis groove, above which a moulded string with ball-flower decoration is set below a further arch. This entrance is flanked by two round towers, each of c.5m external diameter and with two storeys remaining. On the ground floor the east tower houses a polygonal chamber, containing a fireplace in the south west quarter with a single window to the west, and garderobe to the north of the gate- passage doorway. The first floor chamber is open to a portcullis room over the gate arch, and has two windows and a garderobe above the one on the ground floor. The portcullis room itself has a fireplace in the north wall, which is carried by an arch over the entrance passage. Its octagonal chimney stack is a 16th century addition and has a crenelated top. The west tower houses a circular chamber at ground floor level, with a well at its centre now infilled. An opening to the south west is roofed with a series of arches stepped down towards the well. The chamber above has two windows, one with ball-flower ornament, and was entered via a mural stairway opening off the west side of the gatehouse passage. The remains of the hall and kitchen range are c.12m north of the inner gatehouse; the courtyard which separated them was cut through within the last century to provide access between the later hall to the west and the tennis courts to the east. All that remains of the hall block is part of the original 14th century south wall, and the three-storeyed 16th century staircase bay, or porch, enclosing the original hall doorway. To either side of this doorway are small windows which would have lit the basement. Above the eastern one is a similar window with a window-seat; the remains of others to the east would have lit the service bay. The hall would have been lit by similar windows overlooking the courtyard; both hall and service bay were at first floor level while the kitchen, to the east, was at basement level and rose through two floors. There was a chamber over the service bay and kitchen, from which access was later made into a small room on the upper floor of the porch. With the construction of the porch a fireplace was inserted above the door. Lit on all three sides by large windows, the porch was entered through a door in its east wall; the stairs to the hall doorway have been removed. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The surviving remains mainly consists of the outer gatehouse, probably of early C14 date. This looks much like a gatehouse of the Edwardian castle of Wales in miniature. The earlier C13 house was fortified although it was arguably too small to be considered a castle (and was of gentry status the de Brampton's holding the manor for the military serve of castle guard at Wigmore.). The general impression is of a relatively modest fortified house dressed up with a gatehouse drawing its reference and kudos from the great castles of Edward I. In the grounds of a private house (the home of the Harley family - the house is one of a small number has been ownership in the same family, having never been sold, since Domesday). It is not visible from the road but is sometimes open on special occasions. The English Civil War history of the house is outside the scope of Gatehouse but websites and texts dealing with this history may contain information of value to the student of the medieval castle.

- 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 ReferenceSO370725
Latitude52.3476715087891
Longitude-2.92582011222839
Eastings337000
Northings272500
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis 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

Books

  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 59-68
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 516
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 14-15
  • Remfry, Paul M., 1997, Brampton Bryan Castle, 1066 to 1309, and the Civil War, 1642 to 1646 (SCS Publishing: Worcestershire)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)p93-4
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
  • 1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 3
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 194
  • Pevsner, N., 1963, Buildings of England: Herefordshire p. 82
  • RCHME, 1934, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 3: north-west p. 19-21 No. 2 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Herefordshire Vol. 1 p. 233
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 95-7 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 510-5 online copy
  • Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 8-16 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 114

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. 387
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 78 online copy

Journals

  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2007, 'Archaeology: Report of Sectional Recorder 2007' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club Vol. 55 p. 135
  • Halliwell, Peter (ed), 1997, Herefordshire Archaeology News Vol. 67 p. 6
  • Halliwell, Peter (ed), 1993, Herefordshire Archaeology News Vol. 59 p. 44 (plan)
  • Halliwell, Peter (ed), 1992, Herefordshire Archaeology News Vol. 57 p. 26
  • Shoesmith, R., 1986, 'Archaeology, 1986, Report of Sectional Recorder' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club Vol. 45.2 p. 514-5
  • Slade, H.G., 1981, 'Brampton Bryan Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 26-9
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
  • George, R.H., 1920, 'Brampton Bryan Castle' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 216-19
  • La Touche, Rev J.D., 1882, 'Brampton Bryan Castle, its sieges and demolition' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 189-92
  • Banks, R.W., 1867, 'Brampton Brian Castle, Herefordshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 22 p. 138-49 online copy
  • Banks, R.W., 1864, 'An Account of the Siege of Brampton Bryan Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 19 p. 237-43 (history only)

Guide Books

  • Shoesmith, R., 1986, Brampton Bryan Castle (City of Hereford AC)

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1904, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I Vol. 3 p. 189 No. 291 (Brian de Brompton 28 Dec 1295) online copy
  • Stamp, A.E. (ed), 1929, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry IV (1402-05) Vol. 2 p. 111 view online copy (requires subscription but searchable)
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 238

Other

  • City of Hereford Archaeology Unit, Hereford Archaeology Series 39
  • City of Hereford Archaeology Unit, Hereford Archaeology Series 6