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Painswick Castle Hale

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castle Halle

In the civil parish of Painswick.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO86690949
Latitude 51.78395° Longitude -2.19432°

Painswick Castle Hale has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are uncertain remains.

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


A small castle is believed to have been built at Painswick during the twelfth century, possibly during the period when Pain FitzJohn held the manor. The structure is thought to have stood to the south of the church, in the area now occupied by Castle Hale (SMR 19520; a house of seventeenth century and later date), but was demolished towards the end of the sixteenth century when the Court House (SMR 3606) was built. Documentary sources record a 'Robert Atte Castle' in Painswick during the fourteenth century, but there are now no visible remains of the castle nor any indication of the nature of its fortifications, Archaeological investigations undertaken at SO 86690949 (SMR 3613), within the area in which the castle is thought to have stood, did not produce any evidence for Medieval activity. (Extensive Urban Survey)

(ST 86690949). A small castle, constructed by Pain Fitzjohn in the C12th, formerly stood on the site now occupied by Castle Hale. It was demolished towards the end of the C16th when the Court House was built (Blow: Cox) .
There are neither visible remains of a castle nor indications as to the exact nature of the fortifications. (F1 ANK 28-SEP-71) Original castle or Manor house pulled down in C.15. Norman cellars remain. The gabled block at back of present house dates from shortly before 1629, and it was enlarged in 1653. The front was built by an architect Charles Baker in 1835, and is ashlar. 2s. 5ws. (d. h. sash). Central portion breaks forward with 1st fl. venetian w. and crowning ped. Portico with 4 Doric cols. and entab. with modillion cornice. S.W. elevation has 2 later bay (Listed Building Report 1948). (PastScape)

The supposed castle south of the church, or a manor-house on or near the same site, appears to have been used as a residence by the Talbots until the mid 15th century. A lodge in the park, northeast of the town, built in the 14th century, was greatly enlarged in the early 16th century by the addition of a large hall, possibly for receiving Henry VIII in 1535. From about that date the lodge became the manor-house. (VCH)

It is quite probable that Pain' like so many of his contemporaries in the troublous reign of Stephen, may have erected a manorial Castle at Wyke, or Painswick, which once occupied the vantage-point south of the Church of St Mary, commanding the valley toward Stroud, and now occupied by both Court House and Castle Hale (Hall). The latter, in such case, probably derives its name from the fact, for, in the earliest extant manor rolls (temp. Hen. VI.), the property is therein described as 'Castellum,' and later, in documents of Henry VIII., and Elizabeth, as Castle Halle. That will account to us for that otherwise strange fact that Pain Fitzjohn, rather than his many De Monchensi descendants, became commemorated here by the affixing of his name to Wyke. For Painswick was simply ' Wick,' or ' Wykeham,' until the middle of the 13th century, when it becomes written Wyke Pagani, or Painswick, evidently in memory of Pain, who we know had no male issue. (Baddeley 1907)

The tenurial history is certainly consistent with a castle here. This was caput of Lacy lands east of the Severn (VCH). Pain FitzJohn held the manor from 1130 until his death in 1137 which is certainly long enough for him to build a small tower possibly with an existing timber castle and he must have had a particular association with this manor for it to take his name. However, the actual physical evidence seems weak. The statement there are 'Norman' cellars in the 1948 listing report is not repeated in later listing reports. The court roll documentary evidence for this being called a castellum in the late C15 is suggestive but medieval use of the term castle was varied.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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