Anstey Castle

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

There are masonry footings remains

NameAnstey Castle
Alternative NamesAnstey Hall; Anestie; Anesty
Historic CountryHertfordshire
Modern AuthorityHertfordshire
1974 AuthorityHertfordshire
Civil ParishAnstey

Anstey Castle is a well-documented example of a Norman castle with historical records dating back to the 11th century. Despite partial excavation, the motte and bailey survive well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the development of the castle, the landscape in which it was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants.

The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated at the south end of a broad spur, adjacent to the Norman church of St George's. It survives as a large flat-topped motte which measures 75m north-south by 65m east-west and is c.9m in height. Surrounding the motte is a waterfilled ditch 10m wide with a 5m wide causeway to the south-east. To the north and east of the motte is the L-shaped bailey which is still surrounded on its north-western and north-eastern sides by a dry ditch, 14m wide and 4m deep. Within the projected area of the bailey, just east of the motte, is a square-shaped landscaped mound 22m across and c.3.5m high. It is surrounded by a dry ditch about 8m wide and 3m deep. Its position and shape are incongruous with the bailey and it is considered to be a later ornamental addition. In 1902 excavations carried out by R T Andrews on the eastern edge of the motte summit revealed a trapezoidal foundation of flint dug c.46cm deep into the boulder clay. Fragments of tile and 13th century pottery were also found. The castle is attributed to Eustace, Count of Cologne, who held the manor at Domesday. In 1218 Nicholas de Anstey was ordered to reduce his castle which was in the king's hands in 1225. (Scheduling Report)

The large flat-topped motte is 34 feet hign, with a wet ditch and an L-shaped bailey to the east... A trapezoidal foundation of uncut flints 18 inches deep in the boulder clay of the motte top was found in 1902..

The castle is said to have been built by the Domesday owner of the manor, count Eustace of Boulogne; in 1218 Nicholas de Anstey was ordered to reduce his castle, which was in the king's hands in 1225. (Renn)

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 ReferenceTL404329
Latitude51.9773712158203
Longitude0.043189998716116
Eastings540430
Northings232960
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Lorraine and Keith Bowdler and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 38
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 104
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 134, 187, 356
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 38-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 218
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 178
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 50, 90
  • Renn, D.F., 1971, Medieval Castles in Hertfordshire (Chichester: Phillimore) p. 7, 9 (plan), 13
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Hertfordshire Vol. 4 p. 11-12 online copy
  • RCHME, 1910, An inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire (London: HMSO) p. 35 online transcription, 37 (plan) [online copy > http://www.british-history.ac.uk/image.aspx?compid=123538&filename=fig4.jpg&pubid=1304]
  • Montgomerie, 1908, Page, Wm (ed), VCH Hertfordshire Vol. 2 p. 112

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Creighton, O.H., 2004, ''The Rich Man in his Castle, The Poor Man at His Gate': Castle Baileys and Settlement Patterns in Norman England' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 25-36
  • Coulson, C., 1994, 'Freedom to Crenellate by Licence - An Historiographical Revision' Nottingham Medieval Studies Vol. 38 p. 107
  • Beamon, S.P., Doig, T. and Jones, P., 1982, 'Anstey castle mound, Herts. Interim report 1981' Subterranea Britannica Bulletin Vol. 16 p. 16-19
  • 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)
  • 1945-6 Transactions of the East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Vol. 12.1 p. 44
  • Braun, Hugh, 1938, St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions Vol. 5 p. 203-4
  • 1906, 'Anstey' Transactions of the East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Vol. 3.2 p. 217-9
  • Andrews, R.T., 1903, 'Anstey Castle' Transactions of the East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Vol. 2.2 p. 114-8
  • 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
  • Davys, O.W., 1884, 'Notes on Anstey Castle' Transactions of the St Albans and Hertfordshire Archaeological Society p.29 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 350a
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1216-25) Vol. 1 p. 543 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. 253