Caldwall Castle, Kidderminster

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCaldwall Castle, Kidderminster
Alternative NamesCaldwell Hall; Candalewel
Historic CountryWorcestershire
Modern AuthorityWorcestershire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishKidderminster

King writes sham fortified tower probably C15 and rejects this as a fortified site. Salter gives history back to about 1300 and describes this as tower with now missing hall block with external defenses of marshland and river.

Octagonal tower with a cellar, built in the late 15th/early 16th century. The only extant remains of Caldwell Castle. Documentary evidence indicates that there was a small castle or fortified manor house here, possibly dating from the 12th century. Excavations between 1961 and 1964 recovered phases dating from the 13th to 20th centuries. (PastScape)

Late C15 or early C16. Octagonal tower of 2 storeys with cellarage. Local sandstone, with moulded cornices and embattled parapet. One C18 window to each storey, but several original small lights remain in the staircase turret. The lower ground floor room has 16 radial ribs, alternately single chamfered and single hollow chamfered. Apparently a fragment of a small castle or fortified manor house, occupied in the C17 by Sir Ralph Clare, 1st High Steward of Kidderminster. (Listed Building Report)

Caldwall Castle stands on the low-lying land at the south end of the town. The site is bounded on the north-east and south-east by the Stour, which here takes a small bend. Of the mediaeval building only one octagonal tower remains, but this was added to in the latter part of the 17th century by the erection of a three-story brick building on the north-west. Beyond this a low castellated extension was built in the 19th century, containing a few offices. The original tower is built of red sandstone, is three stories high with an embattled parapet, and appears to have been erected early in the 15th century. The stonework on the outside is much decayed and greatly overgrown with ivy, while the interior of the two upper floors has been considerably modernized

In the north corner is a vice going the full height of the tower and crowned with an embattled parapet and a stone roof. The ground floor-now a basement—retains its original stone vault, the ribs springing from small moulded corbels and meeting in a boss carved with a lion's face. In the north-west wall is a pointed doorway, now leading up a few steps into the 17th-century addition. The vice opens, by an ogee-headed door, from the north side of the opening cut through the wall to this doorway. In the north-east wall are the jambs and pointed rear arch of an original opening, through which a modern doorway has been cut, while in the south wall is a three-centred opening in which are three steps leading up to the outside, but externally this is blocked up. In the west wall is a square-headed cupboard, divided in front by a central stone post, the jambs, head and sill being rebated for doors.

The upper floors are much modernized, but the second retains a late 16th-century window with four lights and a transom.

The road which runs along the north side of the castle is only a little below the level of the first floor and comes right up to the tower walls. (VCH)

Previous excavation of this manor by C. I. Walker for the Kidderminster and District Archaeological Society uncovered a sequence of building phases from the 13th to the 20th century, the earliest dated feature being a sandstone wall dated by a penny of Edward II in its construction-trench, which was dug through earlier clay floors containing 13th-century pottery.

Work in 1964 uncovered part of an aisled hall and a cross-wing. A puddled clay hearth, 8 ft. diam., with fragments of a stone topping, all reddened by fire, make it possible to estimate the dimensions of the hall and it is evident that three-quarters of the site lies under Castle Road and the Swimming Bath Superintendent's house to the W. of the site. A second burnt area on the axis of the hall about 15 ft. from the hearth was cut through by the 14th-century wall which seems to belong to an elaborate cross-wing. A tower of red sandstone (still standing) was added to this wing in the 15th century and the layout then bears striking resemblance to that of Stokesay Castle. The floor of the hall yielded 13th-century pottery.

The site is possibly that of the manor of Sudwael, listed in Domesday Book. (Med. Arch. 1965)

An Anglo-Saxon shield boss and medieval and post-medieval finds were recovered from excavations at Caldwell Hall (HWCM 278; Walker 1992, 160, no 16). ... The Anglo-Saxon shield boss from Caldwell Hall has been interpreted by Walker as an heirloom discarded in the 18th century. (Buteux in Dalwood and Bryant, 2005)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceSO830762
Latitude52.3837585449219
Longitude-2.24991989135742
Eastings383070
Northings276200
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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

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2002, Index and Amendments to Mike Salter's English Castles Books (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 3
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 508 (reject)
  • Page, Wm and Willis-Bund, J.W. (eds), 1913, VCH Worcestershire Vol. 3 p. 170 online transcription

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 517
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 220 online copy

Journals

  • Walker, C.I., 1992, 'Excavations at Caldwall Hall, Kidderminster 1961-69' Transaction of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society (ser 3) Vol. 13 p. 135-165
  • Walker, C.I., CBA Group 8: West Midlands Research Committees reports Vol. 4 p. 6
  • Wilson and Hurst, 1965, 'Medieval Britain in 1964, II. Post-Conquest' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 204 online copy

Other

  • Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download online copy