Waytemore Castle, Bishops Stortford

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

There are masonry footings remains

NameWaytemore Castle, Bishops Stortford
Alternative NamesWeytemore; Storteford; Estorteford
Historic CountryHertfordshire
Modern AuthorityHertfordshire
1974 AuthorityHertfordshire
Civil ParishBishops Stortford

Waytemore Castle has important royal and ecclesiastical associations with William I and the Bishops of London. The motte survives well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the development and use of the castle from the 11th to the 14th century.

Waytemore Castle is on low, marshy ground north of Bishop's Stortford on the west banks of the River Stort. The monument includes the ditched motte of a motte and bailey castle, later adapted as a shell keep. The oval shaped motte, orientated north-east to south-west, measures 83m by 65m and is about l2m high. On the summit of the motte are the flint rubble foundations of a shell keep enclosing an area of 27m by 12m and containing two sunken chambers. Although not visible at ground level, a ditch, which formed part of the castle defences, surrounds the motte mound. This has been infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. The castle was built by William I and was an early stronghold of the Bishops of London. It was used as a prison from 1344. Burials and coins relating to the prison have been found in the bailey area. The bailey formed a roughly pentagonal enclosure to the south of the motte. The surrounding ditches have been heavily altered into narrow waterways and the bailey has been nearly levelled. The archaeological deposits of the bailey have been heavily disturbed and are not included in the scheduling. A flagpole has been erected on the motte. (Scheduling Report)

Waytemore Castle Motte and Bailey stands on low marshy ground north of the town on the east bank of the River Stort. The castle was an early stronghold of the Bishops of London and is of special interest in that it retains traces of a shell keep. The Keep Motte, large and oval, is 40 feet high, and covers at the summit about 1/5 acre

Of the former Shell Keep, which is probably 12th century, little more than the flint rubble foundations remain enclosing roughly rectangular space about 90 feet by 40 feet. The Bailey is much altered and forms roughly a pentagonal enclosure to the south of the motte. The surrounding ditches have been altered into narrow waterways except for the part between the motte and bailey. The entrance was probably on the south from the causeway across the marsh. The site has been acquired by the UDC and the earthworks and remains of shell keep are to be carefully repaired and protected. Condition - of Motte, good; of Keep - ruinous; the Bailey, nearly levelled (RCHME).

Motte and Bailey as described by RCHME. The Motte is in good condition, turf covered. The shell keep foundations have been restored by the local council and are kept in good repair. The Bailey is very much levelled. Part of the counterscarp of the ditch which once ran between the Motte and Bailey is still visible at the west end of the north side of the Bailey but is unsurveyable. The site is laid out as pleasure gardens open to the public (F1 ASP 27-JUL-1962).

Massive foundations were found in the south west part of the bailey in 1850, some of flint and oolite set in yellow mortar as well as others of possibly Roman brick. A causeway of shingles laid on gravel ran towards the motte and human and other bones and pottery were found (Renn 1971). (PastScape)

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 ReferenceTL490214
Latitude51.8720016479492
Longitude0.162909999489784
Eastings549000
Northings221480
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Eirian Evans 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. 49
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 327
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 167, 180
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 106
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 219
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 189
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 341
  • Renn, D.F., 1971, Medieval Castles in Hertfordshire (Chichester: Phillimore) p. 23, 25, 26 (plan)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Hertfordshire Vol. 4 p. 150 (Roman finds) online copy
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1912, VCH Hertfordshire Vol. 3 p. 292-306 online transcription
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 107 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • RCHME, 1910, An inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire (London: HMSO) p. 63-4 online transcription
  • Montgomerie, 1908, Page, Wm (ed), VCH Hertfordshire Vol. 2 p. 114-15
  • Glasscock, J.L., 1905, in Standing, Memorials of Old Hertfordshire (London) p. 43-52 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 131 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 129-30 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 414 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. 235
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 117 online copy

Journals

  • Richard Nevell, 2014-15, 'Castles as prisons' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 28 p. 203-224
  • 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)
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 318
  • 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)
  • 1937-9, Transactions of the East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Vol. 10 p. 226-7
  • Braun, Hugh, 1938, 'Hertfordshire Castles' St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions Vol. 5 p. 200-3
  • Round, J.H., 1902, 'Castle Guard' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 59 p. 144-159 online copy
  • Glasscock, 1899, 'Stortford Castle' Transactions of the East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Vol. 1.1 p. 45-55
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 206 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Gibbs, M. (ed), 1939, Early Charter of St Paul's Cathedral (Camden Series 58) p. 12
  • Stubbs, Wm. (ed), 1876, Radulphi de Diceto decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica. The Historical work of Master Ralph de Diceto, Dean of London (London, Rolls Series 68) Vol. 1 p. 250
  • Round, J.H., 1892, Geoffrey de Mandeville, a Study of the Anarchy (London) p. 167, 174 (Charter of Empress Matilda 1142) online copy
  • Pipe Roll 1 Richard I p. 12 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
  • Hardy, D.H. (ed), 1835, Rotuli litterarm patentium in Turri londinensi asservati (Record Commission) p. 101, 124 (see online copy)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1345-48) Vol. 7 p. 61 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. 255

Other

  • Isobel Thompson, 2005, Extensive Urban Survey - Hertfordshire (English Heritage) Download copy
  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)