Richards Castle

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

There are earthwork remains

NameRichards Castle
Alternative NamesAuretone; Averetone; Avretone; Overton; Ricardi
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishRichards Castle

Richard's Castle. Ruins and earthwork consisting of motte and bailey surounded by a continuous ditch, broken on the S.E. by a causeway representing the original entrance. There are traces of an outer enclosure on the W. The surviving walling is of rubble and retains no evidence of date. There seems little doubt that it is the castle called Auretone in the Domesday Survey 1086, held by Osbern fitz Richard. It passed to the families of Mortimer, Talbot and Pope. A bank and ditch extending some 50 yds N.E. from the N.E. side indicates the former existence of an outer enclosure containing the church and perhaps the early village (cf. Wigmore) (RCHME). A large motte and bailey, situated in woodland upon the SW end of a spur. The motte has a diameter of 55.0 m and a height of 10.0 m. Upon the summit are the excavated foundations of an octagonal stone keep, 12.0 metres across, with a small fore-building on the NE side overlooking the bailey. The bailey, to the NE and SE of the motte is 85.0m in length, NE-SW, and 60.0m in width at its widest point, N of the motte. Fragments of curtain walling stand to heights of 6.0 m along the NW side of the bailey and up the NE slope of the motte. There are further excavated fragments of curtain wall and towers around the N and E sides of the bailey. Motte and bailey are encircled by a large dry ditch, in width from 17.0 m on the SW side to 24.0 m on the NE side, and in depth from 4.0 m to 5.0 m. Except on the S side, where there are steep natural slopes, there is an outer rampart, up to 10.0 m in width and 1.5 m to 2.5 m in height, above the outside ground level. A causewayed entrance crossed the ditch on the SE side and there are remains of the gatehouse, the SW side wall of which stands to about 4.5 m and of which the foundations of the NE wall have been exposed

To the N, an outwork, comprising a rampart, 14.0 m in width, 3.0 m in height, with a ditch on the NW side, 10.0 m in width, 1.5m deep, extends from the lip of the outer ditch in a NE direction for 50.0 m, but probably originally continued for a further 40.0 m to the head of a coombe running to the SE, and so sealing off from the ridge to the N, the plateau upon which the village stands. There is no evidence to show that this work enclosed the village. No remains now exist of the dovecote which, according to villagers, was cleared away after excavation. (Field Investigators Comments–F1 ASP 03-OCT-72) It can possibly be identified with a castle noted in 1051-2 (ASC), although current opinion seems to favour Ewyas Harold. The castle was taken in 1264 (King, 1983). An earthwork survey was carried out on the motte and bailey and the area of the failed borough in Jan 2000. The motte and bailey comprises a massive mound that is heavily scarred by excavation trenches, a small bailey to the east, and a ditch and counterscarp bank. Sections of the curtain wall on the northern side remain exposed; elsewhere there are small fragments of exposed walling, parts of which appear to have been excavated. Stonework tumble is also evident in the ditch in the north and west. Overall the mound is some 26.5m high on the west side with a base diameter of c 60m tapering to 8m at the top. A large amount of loose stonework and a linear excavation trench is evident on the eastern slope. Above this is an apsidal tower with parts of the walling exposed. Elsewhere around the upper part of the motte there are further exposed excavation trenches. A break in the slope at the base of these trenches probably marks the base of the keep. On the western side there are two sections of exposed bedrock. The bailey encloses an area of c 0.2ha and is surrounded on the north, east and south sides by an irregularly shaped rampart. An inner ditch, up to 10m wide and c 0.2m deep, is present at the base of the motte. Between the mound and the rampart is a linear scarp overlying the ditch. A building platform occupies the south-western side of the bailey; it is defined by a stone wall measuring 0.7m high and extends from the gatehouse in an L-shape and parallel to the rampart. The north-eastern part of the rampart measures 60m in length overall and extends from the top of the motte for 35m before dog-legging slightly for a further 25m. Throughout its course there are traces of stonework of the curtain wall and two sub-circular depressions that have been interpreted by the 1960s excavators as mural towers. The upper one, however, was later adapted as a dovecote in the 15th century. To the east of this tower is a length of surviving curtain wall measuring 17m long and 1m wide and c 3m high. Surrounding the motte and bailey is a ditch and counterscarp bank. Along the southern side the bottom of the ditch measures up to 10m below the bailey and 2.5m below the counterscarp bank. In the north it is up to 6.6m below the bailey ground level and 1.9m below the top of the counterscarp. Access to the bailey, through the stone gatehouse, was over a causeway, which measured 5m wide and 2.1m above the base of the ditch. To the south-west of the causeway, the external face of the ditch is vertical and appears to have been re-cut for c 7m, possibly to support a structure. (English Heritage Survey Report: Richard's Castle - Earthwork Survey 2000). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2012.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSO483702
Latitude52.3279914855957
Longitude-2.75944995880127
Eastings348340
Northings270260
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
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
Copyright Raymond Perry and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Brooks, Alan, 2012, Buildings of England: Herefordshire (Yale University Press Pevsner Architectural Guides)
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 52
  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 246-49
  • 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. 57--8
  • Remfry, Paul M., 1999, Nine castles of Burford Barony, 1048 to 1308 (SCS Publishing: Worcestershire)
  • Remfry, Paul M., 1997, Richard's Castle, 1048 to 1219 (SCS Publishing: Worcestershire)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 101
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 196-7
  • Stirling-Brown, R., 1989, Herefordshire Castles (privately published) p. 16-17
  • Helen Clarke, 1984, The archaeology of medieval England (British Museum Publications, London) p. 117-20
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 210
  • Thorn, F. and Thorn, C., 1983, Domesday Book: Herefordshire (Phillimore)
  • 1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 4
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 284-5
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 293
  • Pevsner, N., 1963, Buildings of England: Herefordshire p. 276
  • Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 40-1
  • RCHME, 1934, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 3: north-west p. 172 No. 2 (plan p. 173) online transcription
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 6,136
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 192-3 online copy
  • 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. 245-6 (plan)
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 430-1 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 115-16 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 401-4 (plan most untrustworthy) online copy
  • Robinson, C.J., 1872, A History of the Mansions and Manors of Herefordshire (Logaston Press, 2001 reprint)
  • Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 118-20 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. 225, 228
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 76 online copy

Journals

  • Morgan, T., 2012, ‘Richard’s Castle: conservation of standing remains 2011-12’ Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club Vol. 60 p. 121-28
  • 1998-99, 'Pre-Conquest Castles in Herefordshire' Castle Studies Group Newsletter No. 12 p. 33-4 online copy
  • Halliwell, Peter, Archaeological Research Section Woolhope NFC, 1997, Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 67 p. 29
  • 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)
  • King, D.J.Cathcart, 1972, 'The Field Archaeology of mottes; Eine kurze übersicht' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 101-112
  • Currow, P.E. and Thompson, M.W.,1969, 'Excavations at Richards Castle Herefordshire 1962-1964' Journal of the British Archaeological Association (ser3) Vol. 32 p. 105-128
  • Davidson, Brian K., 1969, 'Early earthwork castles: a new model' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 37-47
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1969, 'The Norman Conquest and the Genesis of English Castles' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 1-14
  • 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
  • Thompson, M.W., 1965, 'Richard's Castle' The Hundred-and-Twelfth Annual Meeting at Hereford, 1965, CAA p. 22-4
  • Hurst, D. Gillian,1965, 'Medieval Britain in 1964, II. Post-Conquest' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 190 download copy
  • Hurst, D. Gillian, 1964, 'Medieval Britain in 1962 and 1963, II. Post-Conquest' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 254 download copy
  • 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
  • Renn, D.F., 1964, 'The first Norman Castles in England 1051-1071' Château Gaillard Vol. 1 p. 125-132
  • 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)
  • Armitage, E., 1904 April, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 422 online copy
  • Pilley, Walter, 1901, 'Richard's Castle, Notes' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 157-62 (history)
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 205 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1873, 'Richard's Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 30 p. 143-52 (reprinted in MMA) online copy

Primary Sources

  • Ingram, James, (ed) 1912, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Everyman Press, London) AD1051 view online transcription (Ingram's translation and notes date from 1823. More recent translations of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles should be consulted for serious study)
  • 1086, Domesday Book D i, 185a, 2; 186b, 2 online copy
  • Luard, H.R. (ed), 1890, Flores Historiarum, per Mathaeum Westmo santeriensem collecti (Rolls Series 95) Vol. 2 p. 498
  • Pipe Roll 1 Richard I 143 (Ref. Lloyd, J.E., 1912, A history of Wales: from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest (London) p. 581n30 online copy)
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1835, Rotuli litterarm patentium in Turri londinensi asservati (Record Commission) p. 73b online copy
  • 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. 436 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. 249

Other

  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 5 (Notice of removal from register) online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 17, 23 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 27, 34 online copy
  • Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download online copy
  • English Heritage Survey Report: Richard's Castle - Earthwork Survey 1:500 and 1:1000. Feb 2000