Alberbury Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameAlberbury Castle
Alternative NamesAbberbury; Fitzwarine Tower
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishAlberbury With Cardeston

Alberbury Castle is a good example of this class of monument. The structural details that are evident from the standing remains provide valuable evidence about the changing nature of military architecture and the domestic requirements of the nobility in the Welsh Marches during the 13th and 14th centuries. The proximity of Alberbury Castle to Wattlesborough Castle allows comparisons and distinctions to be made about the roles tower keep castles played in this region. At Alberbury, structural features and associated deposits within the interior of the tower keep and around the exterior are expected to survive well, buried under fallen masonry. These deposits are likely to contain artefacts and organic remains which will provide significant information about the activities and lifestyles of those who inhabited the castle. In addition, documentary sources provide information about the castle's owners in the 13th and 14th centuries. During the post-medieval period the remains of the castle assumed a new importance as a feature within the recently created designed landscape of Loton Park. The castle remains a prominent feature within the landscape.

The monument includes the standing structural and buried remains of Alberbury Castle. It is situated very close to the present border between England and Wales, on a gentle rise above the flood plain of the River Severn, and is overlooked by higher ground to the south. The castle is located 70m south west of the Church of St Michael and All Angels, which dates from the 12th century. The standing cross in the churchyard is the subject of a separate scheduling. The castle also lies 1.78km to the north of Wattlesborough Castle, a tower keep castle, dating from the 12th or 13th century, which is also the subject of a separate scheduling. Alberbury Castle was probably built by Fulk Fitz Warin (III) in the early 13th century, when it appears to have been the centre of the manor of Alberbury

Descendants of Fulk Fitz Warin (III) are known to have retained the lordship of the manor until the mid-14th century. Fulk Glas (II), who was apparently resident at Alberbury in 1327 and 1332, is known to have been lord of the manor until 1347. In the late 14th century the descent of the manor becomes obscure, and it is also unclear how long the castle continued to be occupied. A map of 1579 clearly shows the castle as an unenclosed, rectangular roofed structure. Documentary sources indicate that in the early 17th century there was a large house nearby at Loton. This house appears to have been replaced by Loton Park Hall, located 350m to the north west, built in the late 17th century. It would seem likely that by this time the castle had little function other than possibly as a lodge adjacent to the main drive to the Hall. A drawing of the castle indicates that by the late 18th century the structure was roofless and in ruins. The tower keep is constructed of irregularly coursed Alberbury breccia, a locally derived stone. Dressed sandstone was used around the window openings and as corbels (upper floor supports). The building is rectangular in plan and measures approximately 13.5m by 17m. The walls, which are about 2.3m wide at ground level, stand to a maximum height of about 9m. The structural evidence suggests that the building was originally two storeys high. The hall, used for ceremonial and public occasions, and the private chambers were situated on the first floor. The ground floor was probably used mainly for storage. There is no evidence on either floor of internal masonry cross walls or sub-divisions. The configuration of the window openings, their irregular heights and sizes, suggest changes in the arrangement of rooms as the need for defence became secondary to comfort and convenience as a dwelling. These structural alterations probably relate to the more peaceful conditions in the region following the conquest of Wales by Edward I in the late 13th century. The castle is a Listed Building Grade 2star. Probably between the mid-17th and the mid-18th century a substantial stone wall was built to enclose the remains of the tower keep and the ground towards the church. This enclosure, previously viewed as part of the castle's defences, is now considered to have been constructed as a way of enhancing the visual impact of the castle as a feature within Loton Park Hall estate. The enclosure wall is a Listed Building Grade 2star (with the castle), and the estate wall adjoining the tower keep to the south is a Listed Building Grade II. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Clearly a building in the tradition of the C12 Norman keep but actually of C13 date when the fashionable castle would have been an enclosure castle with a drum towered gatehouse, however there are a number of similar 'Norman revival' buildings in Shropshire such as Hopton and Clun.

- 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 ReferenceSJ358144
Latitude52.7234306335449
Longitude-2.95198011398315
Eastings335800
Northings314400
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Peter Craine and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Peter Craine and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 18-20
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 21
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 476
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 209
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 2
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 420
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 176
  • Meisel, J., 1980, Barons of the Welsh Frontier p. 42,91,190,192
  • Rowley, Trevor, 1972, The Shropshire Landscape (Hodder and Stoughton) p. 59
  • Gaydon, A.T. (ed), 1968, VCH Shropshire Vol. 8 p. 196
  • Pevsner, N., 1958, Buildings of England: Shropshire (London, Penguin) p. 55 (slight)
  • 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. 2 p. 125 online copy
  • Corbet-Anderson, J.,.1864, Shropshire: its Early History and Antiquities p. 358-60 online copy
  • Eyton, R.W., 1858, Antiquities of Shropshire (London) Vol. 7 p. 81 (1256) 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. 385
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 1 online copy

Journals

  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 317
  • 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
  • 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 (Late–attributed to origin in C12 but regarded as later)
  • Chitty, Lily, 1949, 'Subsidiary Castle Sites West of Shrewsbury' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society Vol. 53 p. 83-90
  • 1908, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 8 p. 63, 70

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk West Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 14 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 13 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 27 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 26 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 25 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 35 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2002, Scheduling Papers (Revision, 05/07/2002)
  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1987, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 31758 (10/06/1987)