Blyth

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Other/Unknown)

There are no visible remains

NameBlyth
Alternative NamesBlythe, Blithe, Blida
Historic CountryNottinghamshire
Modern AuthorityNottinghamshire
1974 AuthorityNottinghamshire
Civil ParishBlyth

The alleged site of a Norman castle which had vanished by the 16th century. No further information. Rejected by Cathcart King. (PastScape)

Is sometimes supposes to have had a castle; in fact this is the same as Tickhill (Yorks) (King 1983)

A little higher upon the same river I saw Blithe a famous Mercat towne, which Bulley or Busley, a Nobleman of the Normans blood, fortified with a Castle, but now the very rubbish thereof is hardly to be seene, time so consumeth all things. But the Abbay there was founded by Robert Busley and Foulke De Lasieurs, and this is the farthest towne almost in Nottinghamshire Northward" (Camden)

Documents at Blyth Abbey suggest there was a castle at Blyth, which was called in Latin 'Blida'. I think that it stood near the abbey, or else the abbey was built on the actual castle site. A Norman by the name of Roger Builli founded Blyth Abbey around the time of William the Conqueror. (Chandler 1993 transcription of Leland)

It is a subject which admits of doubt whether a castle existed here in Saxon and early Norman times. True, indeed, it is that we have (1) a charter of Henry I. before the year 1108, in which he confirms to the monks of Blyth the tithes of Laughton, as they enjoyed them when he took "ad meum opus Castellum de Blydâ;" (2) a compotus of 29 Henry I. a.d. 1129, inserted by mistake in the Northumberland Pipe Roll, in which Eustace FitzJohn, Lord of Alnwick and Malton, renders an account of ixl. 1s. 10d. "in operibus Castelli de Blidâ per breve Regis;" but then we know from history that, in 1102, Henry I. wrested Tickhill Castle from the hands of his enemy, Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel, and kept it in his own possession throughout his reign. So that it is highly probable, if not quite certain, that by Castellum de Blida in the above instruments, Tickhill Castle is really meant.

On the other hand, we have a charter of Henry II

attested by Thomas the Chancellor, Ralph de Broc, and others, at Blyth, and exempting the tenants and other dependants of the monks from appearing at the shire and hundred courts, and from pleading any where, "nisi ad Castellum de Blida." We have an extent, as it is termed, or statement of receipts and expenses of the convent in 1379, in which express mention is made of an ordinary court held by them once in every three weeks, of two great annual courts, and of a seneschal or steward and clerk of the said courts. We have also the testimony of Leland that a tradition of such a fortress existed in his time: ("I asked of a castelle that I hard say was symtyme at Blyth: but other aunswer I larnid not, but that a little or I cam ynto the town ther apperith yn a woodes sides token of an auncient building.") and finally, to this day such tradition exists, strengthened it would seem by some local names.

It is, therefore, not improbable but that a castle did stand at Blyth in early times, and that it may have helped to cause the confusion which ancient charters display between Blyth and Tickhill. It is clear, however, that it gradually sank into insignificance by the side of its more distinguished neighbour, the Castle of Tickhill, which De Builli made his capital residence. (Rayne 1860)

Gatehouse Comments

Rayne's historic study and reasoning remains sound with no new evidence to really challenge it in the 150 years since. A castle at Blyth would control a crossing point of the River Ryton of the Great North Road. Blyth Hall is close to the church (Which was both a monastic and a parochial church) and could well have started as a thegnal burh and also could have been converted to a small timber castle. Among the monuments in the church are the fragments of a tomb with the recumbent effigy of a knight of the period of Richard I. All in all Blyth is exactly the sort of place where a castle could well be expected. A high status site with a larger than average church on a crossing point of a major road. The convent was founded in 1088 (Probably using an existing Saxon church) and an increase in the status of the manor burh at this time is entirely possible. This said, apparently documents from the priory make it clear that the castle of Blyth was Tickhill. If there was a castle at Blyth, and it is not unreasonable to think so, it was short lived, small and granted to the Church. It may be there was a Saxon thegnal site (possibly fortified) at Blyth that was, for a short period, used post-Conquest, while Tickhill (possibly a rare example of a Norman castle built on a virgin site) was being constructed. Once Tickhill was functional then the Blyth site would be defunct and a grant of that land to the new Abbey would be a pious but economic act.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSK624872
Latitude53.3795318603516
Longitude-1.0629700422287
Eastings462400
Northings387200
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Laitude 53° 22' 43.64" Longitude -1° 3' 48.28"

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Laitude 53° 22' 43.64" Longitude -1° 3' 48.28"

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Laitude 53° 22' 43.64" Longitude -1° 3' 48.28"

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Laitude 53° 22' 43.64" Longitude -1° 3' 48.28"

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Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Wright, James, 2008, Castles of Nottinghamshire (Nottinghamshire County Council) p. 61
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 381 (reject)
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 219 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 447 online copy
  • Raine, John, 1860, The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Blyth (Westminster: J.B. Nichols and sons) online transcription

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. 349, 353
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 89 online copy
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 15 online copy

Journals

  • Pyrce, 1940, Montgomery Collections Vol. 46 p. 14-15

Primary Sources

  • Chibnall, Majorie (ed), 1978, Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica book XI (Oxford: Clarendon Press) Vol. 6 p. 20 (Clearly a reference to Tickhill although called Blyth) online copy

Other

  • Gill Stroud, 2001, Nottinghamshire Extensive Urban Survey Archaeological Assessment Blyth (Nottinghamshire County Council for English Hertage) online copy