Eardisley Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameEardisley Castle
Alternative NamesArdelea; Herdeslege; Erdisley; Erdsley; Ordeleya; Erdesleye; Ardelay; Ardelai
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishEardisley

Earthwork remains of a Medieval Motte and Bailey. The motte is about 33yds in diameter at the base, and rises some 14ft above the level of the bailey from which it is not now separated by any ditch. The Moat was partly filled in when field investigated in 1971. (PastScape)

Motte & baileys. Shell keep or large tower once crowned motte, though v few signs are left, there are buried foundations. Many years ago when moat was cleared out etc etc. Loose stone here & there all over site & several outer enclosures all covered with undergrowth & trees. Site is further complicated by later buildings in bailey. Mentioned in Domesday Book as defended house, as castle 1183 & still in use 1263. Ordered to be held in 1403 although ruinous 1374. Part of moat has been v recently filled in with rubbish along with other damage to this v important site (Stirling-Brown, 1988). (Herefordshire SMR)

1403. Sept. 8. Worcester. To G. bishop of St. Davids. Strict order, in consideration of the mischief and peril which might happen to the king and realm and to the lieges of Wales by careless guarding of castles in those parts, especially during the present rebellion of Owen Glendourdy and others there, under pain of loss and forfeiture of his castle of Laghadyn and of the lordships, manors, lands and possessions thereto pertaining, to take such order for the furnishing and safe guard of the said castle with fencible men, victuals, armour, artillery and all other things needful for the purpose, that no damage or peril shall arise by his default or negligence or by careless guard thereof. By K. and C. – Nicholas Mongomery knight, Erdesley castle. (in a list of 17 persons and their 22 castles) (Calendar of Close Rolls)

Gatehouse Comments

Mention in Domesday (1086) as domus defensabilis. Hogg and King say that 'although survived well into C13 never rebuilt in stone'. However, Shoesmith reports some masonry was found on the motte and SMR reports had shell keep or round tower, curtain walling and other foundations.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO311491
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  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 106-8
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 476
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 27 (plan)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 95
  • Stirling-Brown, R., 1989, Herefordshire Castles (privately published) p. 4 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 205
  • 1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 20
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 226
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker)
  • RCHME, 1934, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 3: north-west p. xxix (plan), 52-3 No. 3 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. 136-7 (plan)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 101 online copy
  • Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 44-8 online copy



  • Archaeological Research Section Woolhope NFC, 1999, Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 70 p. 1
  • 1994, Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 62 p. 10
  • Halliwell, P.R. (ed), 1992, Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 57 p. 42, 45
  • Harfield, C.G., 1991, 'A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book' English Historical Review Vol. 106 p. 371-392 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Sterling Brown, R., 1988, 'Preliminary Results of Castle Survey' Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 50 p. 44
  • 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 (survived into C13 without being rebuilt in stone)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Morgan, F.C., 1948, 'Archaeology, Report by Sectional Editor' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 245
  • Warner, Rev R Hyett, 1904, 'Eardisley and its Castle' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 256-62, 287

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book Di, 184b, 2 (1086 as Domus defensabilis) online copy
  • 1911, (reprinted 1930), The Great Roll of the Pipe for the twenty-ninth year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1182-1183 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 32) p. 111 online copy
  • 1913, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirty-first year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1184-1185 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 34) p. 198 online copy
  • Luard, H.R. (ed), 1890, Flores Historiarum (Rolls Series 95) Vol. 2 p. 480 online copy
  • Riley, H.T. (ed), 1865, Willelmi Rishanger ... cronica et annales (Rolls Series 28) p. 17 online copy
  • 1952, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem Vol. 14 No. 13 (1374 as 'ruinous')
  • Stamp, A.E. (ed), 1929, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry IV (1402-05) Vol. 2 p. 111 (1403 as defensible) 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. 240


  • Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download online copy
  • Ward, B., 2005, Eardisley Castle House (HAS 685. Archaeological Investigations Ltd: Hereford) online copy