Bronsil Castle

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameBronsil Castle
Alternative NamesBronsill; Bransill; Bransil; Estenore
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishEastnor

Ruins of castle with bridge and moat. Substantially mid-C15, incorporating earlier structure with bridge, possibly late C19. For Richard Beauchamp. Sandstone ashlar. Square plan with polygonal gatehouse tower to west side surrounded by moat crossed by bridge from west. North gatehouse tower which is the only large upstanding part to remain, was probably of two storeys and basement; two faces remain to west and south-west up to a height of about 30 feet in two stages, with part of third stage, divided by two moulded strings; right-hand face has circular drain hole into moat near its base and damaged opening above; two almost intact loops in the second stage, one low on the right-hand face, the other high up in the left-hand face. At the north-east corner of the enclosure is part of a stone newel in masonry fragment about ten feet high; at the south-east corner is another fragment about five feet high. The former enclosure is reached from the west by a single segmental span bridge heavily overgrown (at the time of survey, June 1985). Moat completely surrounds the castle, the base of the curtain walls of which are said to be visible if the water level is low. When complete the castle consisted of the square enclosure with curtain walls, octagonal angle towers, gatehouse with flanking towers to the west, towers in the middle of the other sides, moat, outer bank and perhaps an outer ditch. (Listed Building Report)

Little is known about the early history of the site. Sir John Beauchamp is recorded as owning a residence here in the early 15th century and his son, Richard Beauchamp, was granted a licence to empark and crenellate in 1449, which was renewed in 1460. The majority of the surviving remains date from the mid 15th century, though the inner moat and fishponds may be earlier and the post-1460 mansion is thought to incorporate some earlier buildings

The remains represent an impressive residence, though of little defensive capability, with the moated island encircled by a curtain wall rising sheer from the water. The four corners were marked by octagonal towers and there were further towers in the centre of the north, south and east walls. The centre of the western wall was occupied by a gatehouse with octagonal flanking towers. The castle may have been burned during the Civil War and it was certainly ruinous by the early 18th century. The site was landscaped in the mid 19th century to create a romantic ruin, and a stone bridge was built over the western arm of the moat. The surviving earthworks include traces of an external bank and part of an outer moat. East and south east of the inner moat lie the remains of a series of five linked ponds, probably originally fishponds, and possibly modified to form an ornamental feature in the mid 15th century. The earthen bank between the two moats may have acted as a walkway from which the mansion and its landscaped surroundings could be viewed. Partial clearing of the moat circa 1840 produced numerous finds including weapons, buckles and spoons. Little survives above ground on the moated island. The standing remains of the house comprise a number of masonry fragments, including part of the north tower of the gatehouse and a section of newel stair in the north eastern corner of the site. (PastScape)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceSO749371
Latitude52.0324592590332
Longitude-2.36640000343323
Eastings374960
Northings237180
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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

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Books

  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 111-18
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 18 (plan)
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 523
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 94
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 203
  • 1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 72
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 195
  • Pevsner, N., 1963, Buildings of England: Herefordshire (Harmondsworth) p. 124
  • RCHME, 1932, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 2: east p. xxvi, 74 (plan) no. 4 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. 253 (plan)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 97 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 507 online copy
  • Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 17-18 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 113

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 191
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 133 online copy

Journals

  • Nenk, Beverley S, Margeson, S., 1991, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1990' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 35 p. 165 download copy
  • 1985, Herefordshire Archaeological newsheet Vol. 43 p. 9-11
  • Tonkin, J.W., 1982, 'Herefordshire Castles' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club Vol. 44.1 p. 31
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 228
  • 1894-5, 'Transactions at Ledbury' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 19 p. 12-13 online copy
  • Piper, G.H., 1880, 'Bronsil Castle, Eastnor' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 228-31
  • CBA Group 8, West Midlands newsletter Vol. 33 p. 36

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1927, Calendar of Charter Rolls 5 Henry VI - 8 Henry VIII, AD 1427-1516, with an appendix, 1215-1288 Vol. 6. (HMSO) p. 137

Other

  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 9 online copy
  • City of Hereford Archaeology Unit, Hereford Archaeology Series 81 and 138