Kingsbury Hall

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKingsbury Hall
Alternative NamesBracebridge Hall
Historic CountryWarwickshire
Modern AuthorityWarwickshire
1974 AuthorityWarwickshire
Civil ParishKingsbury

Two lengths of C14 curtain wall about 1.7m thick and 6m high built of good coursed square masonry. The two lengths meet at a semi-octagonal tower about 2.5m wide across inner mouth. Adjoining W side of tower is a small turret containing garderobe. Traces of a second garderobe exist. The length of wall running N from the tower runs to the main gateway with a 3m wide archway, probably rebuilt, which appears to have had an external gatehouse. A pond to the N of the N wall may indicate a moat. Detailed information also exists on the history of the ownership of the manor of Kingsbury (VCH) The title castle is appropriate because of the strong defensive nature of the site and the strength of the remaining structure. The walls are probably C13/early C14 and the tower and main gateway slightly later (Chatwin). (Warwickshire HER)

The medieval enclosure castle at Kingsbury Hall survives well as a series of standing remains and buried deposits. The buried remains will preserve valuable evidence of the layout, construction and subsequent alterations to the complex. Established and maintained by one well-known family over a period of 400 years, it will contribute to an understanding of the development of a high status component of the medieval and post-medieval landscape.

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval enclosure castle known as Kingsbury Hall, including a curtain wall and a house, occupying a bluff overlooking the River Tame. In 1086 land at Kingsbury was held by Countess Godiva and later was in the hands of the king. In 1208 it passed to John de Bracebridge, and the manor subsequently descended via the de Bracebridge family. In the mid-16th century the manor house was leased to Sir Ambrose Cave, passing to the Willoughby family in the late 16th century and subsequently to the Astons. In the 19th century it became part of Sir Robert Peel's estate

Alterations and additions were made during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and the house remained in occupation until the 20th century. The house was formerly part of a larger complex of buildings enclosed by the curtain wall. The curtain wall includes standing remains to the south and east thought to date from the 14th century. The walls are constructed of coursed sandstone, and measure about 1.5m in width, standing up to 5.5m high with a semi- octagonal tower located at the south east angle. The east curtain wall measures approximately 28m in length with an arched gateway, about 3m in width, located about halfway along the length of the wall, which is thought to have provided the principal access to the complex. Repairs to the fabric on the external face of the wall around the gateway suggest the former presence of a gatehouse. It is believed that the east wall extended further to the north and will survive as a buried feature. The tower at the south east angle measures about 4.5m in width with a quarter octagonal turret on the west side accommodating a garderobe. The south curtain wall measures approximately 21m in length and includes, at the west end, the remains of a second tower, also accommodating a garderobe. The south curtain wall is believed to have originally extended to the west, as far as the bluff overlooking the river, and will survive as a buried feature. The curtain wall and gateway are Listed Grade II. The three-storey house is built chiefly in sandstone and includes a block of three adjoining ranges, two aligned east-west and one north-south dating from the late 15th or early 16th century, with a post-medieval wing extending at right angles to the north. It is a Listed Building Grade II-star. The roof is of tile and slate. The southern range, aligned east-west, measures approximately 23m by 8m. The west gable wall of this range was rebuilt in brick in the 18th century. The south wall includes rectangular windows with stone mouldings, some blocked with brick and some having later windows built into the original openings; near the east end of the wall is a chimney stack of stone and brick. On the east wall repairs have been made to the fabric which indicate the position of a former porch that provided access to the first floor; the two windows flanking the former porch are now blocked with brick or boards. At the second, or attic, floor there is a four-light stone mullioned window with a central transom. Adjoining the north side of this range is another, parallel range measuring approximately 12m by 8m. The western end of this range, which projects 3m beyond that of the south range, is stone-built with a curved gable head, thought to date from the late 16th or early 17th century. The gable wall includes a window on each floor; the window at ground floor level is blocked with boards and the upper storeys have stone mullioned windows. The north wall of this range includes a stone window with a later, 19th century window built into the original opening, and 19th century windows set in brick. Attached to the eastern end of this range is a third, smaller range, measuring 9m by 5.5m and aligned north-south. The north gable wall has a doorway and window on the ground floor, a 19th century window inserted into a partly blocked stone window on the first floor and a four-light stone mullioned window on the attic floor, together with a two-light stone window at eaves level where the two ranges join. A doorway in the east wall of this range leads to an internal curving oak stair providing the only access to the attic floor of all three ranges. The late 18th century or early 19th century wing, which adjoins the north west part of the house, measures approximately 8.5m by 6m and provides accommodation on two floors. It is built principally in brick with an east wall of regularly coursed stone blocks. The east wall includes a stone and brick chimney stack and there are windows in each of the external walls. Access to the wing is provided internally from the west end of the north range. Internally the ground floors of the three ranges are provided with domestic accommodation. On the first floor of the south range there is one large room, about 13m in length, thought to represent the original main hall, which was later subdivided, with a 16th century fireplace provided towards the east end. A further two chambers, both provided with fireplaces, are located at the west end of the south range. In the north range the first floor includes domestic accommodation, provided with fireplaces, and including a 17th century oak partition. The attic floor accommodation includes a single room, running the length of the southern range, with exposed beams, and a parallel, shorter room in the north range with a fireplace. The house was originally part of a larger complex, bounded by the curtain wall, with ancillary buildings believed to have been located within the enclosure to the south east of the house. A wall constructed of coursed blocks of sandstone runs from the south east corner of the house to the south curtain wall and is thought to have been part of this complex. The remains of former ancillary buildings will survive as buried features. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Scheduled as an enclosure castle but not normal called 'castle' and, consequently, not particularly well known. More usually described as a fortified manor house although this merely shows the sometimes arbitrary manner in which these terms are used. The place name suggests there was a royal residence of some sort here and King Bertwulf of Mercia is said to have a council here in 851. It is probably that Kingsbury Hall occupies the site of the C9 burh (in the sense of fortified house, not a town) although physical evidence for this is slight.

- 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 ReferenceSP213963
Latitude52.5643005371094
Longitude-1.68586003780365
Eastings421390
Northings296320
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Books

  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 408
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 259
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 57
  • Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 38
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 483
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Wedgwood, Alexandra, 1966, Buildings of England: Warwickshire p. 327
  • Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1947, VCH Warwickshire Vol. 4 p. 100-2 online transcription

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 443
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 21 online copy

Journals

  • Chatwin, P.B., 1947-8, 'Castles in Warwickshire' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 67 p. 16-17

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk West Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 43 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 43 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 42 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 53 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 53 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 53, 54 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 60 online copy
  • Baker, H.D., 1987, Warwickshire Monument Evaluation and Presentation Project