Warwick Town Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWarwick Town Wall
Alternative NamesEastgate; Westgate
Historic CountryWarwickshire
Modern AuthorityWarwickshire
1974 AuthorityWarwickshire
Civil ParishWarwick

The Saxon burgh at Warwick was established by Ethelfleda in 914 to defend Mercia against the Danes. The site commanded the river valley and a natural crossing of the Avon, and was strategically well-placed to control the Fosse Way (VCH). It has previously been assumed that the Medieval line followed the Saxon ramparts. However this has not been confirmed by archaeological investigation. At Barrack Street (WA 2188) the earliest evidence is late 11th - 12th century, and the evidence from Market Street is unconvincing for Saxon material (WA 1988). The defences must have enclosed the area of the Castle to the south, since the Norman work involved demolishing 4 existing houses, and included the Saxon minster in its precincts. E.Klingelhofer suggests that a line, based on street patterns, might have run along Brook Street, The Butts, and the now buried Back Hills. (Warwickshire HER record 2191)

The Eastgate was one of the three main gates of Warwick. Probably reconstructed in early 15th century, when the chapel of St Peter was built above it (PRN 1945). It has a wide arch spanning the original roadway and a smaller arch for pedestrians to the N. The gate was again altered and refaced in the late 18th century; it was probably at this time that the diversion to the S was constructed (VCH). Built before 1426. Plain and heavy gate with pointed tunnel-vault (Pevsner). (Warwickshire HER record 1924)

The W gate was one of three main gates of Warwick. Probably reconstructed in the late 14th century together with the chapel of St James above it. Both were extended W in the following century. The central part of the gateway passage has a pointed and ribbed barrel-vault of the 14th century; at their base the walls are cut through solid rock. On the N side there are traces of an earlier wall and vault, perhaps part of a narrower passage

After the wall was breached and the roadway diverted to the S of the gate, the walks along the S and E sides of the chapel appear to have fallen into disuse. They were rebuilt in 1863-5 (VCH). The gate existed in 1129, and already had a chapel over. The present gate is a most impressive affair. The tunnel-like archway has three parts. Inside in the living rock are semi-octagonal wall shafts which look 13th century. The vault and the E entrance may be early 14th century, the W part of the gate is Early Perpendicular (Pevsner). (Warwickshire HER record 1925)

Gatehouse Comments

Saxon earthwork defences rebuilt in stone. Receive murage grants in 1305 and 1317. Two, of originally three, gates survive, both surmounted by chapels, and short piece of wall.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSP284649
Latitude52.2797813415527
Longitude-1.59062004089355
Eastings428410
Northings264990
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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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

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 142-3
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 57, 60, 93, 145, 159, 176, 266
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 263
  • Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 51
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 487
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 123
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 442
  • Stephens, W.B. (ed), 1969, VCH Warwickshire Vol. 8 p. 420 online transcription
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Wedgwood, Alexandra, 1966, Buildings of England: Warwickshire p. 456-7
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 222
  • Field, W., 1970 (orginal edn 1815), An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick (E P Publishing)

Antiquarian

  • Dugdale, Wm, 1789 (orig pub 1656), The antiquities of Warwick, and Warwick Castle: extracted from Sir William Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire online copy
  • Dugdale, Wm., 1656, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (Thomas Warren) p. 302- online copy
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 461
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 40 online copy

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Webster, L.E. and Cherry, J., 1980, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 24 p. 256 download copy
  • Klingelhofer, E., 1976-7, 'Barrack Street Excavations, Warwick, 1972' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 88 p. 87-104
  • Klingelhofer, E., 1975, 'Evidence of town planning in late Saxon Warwick' Midland History Vol. 3 p. 1-10
  • (Klingelhofer), 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 17 p. 171 download copy
  • Wilson, D.M. and Hurst, D.G., 1968, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 12 p. 186 download copy
  • Farr, M. and Taylor, S.J., 1967, West Midlands Archaeology Vol. 10 p. 24
  • (Powell), 1966, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 10 p. 200-1 download copy

Primary Sources

  • < >☞See the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html].
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