The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Cirencester Castle

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SP02130199
Latitude 51.71664° Longitude -1.97055°

Cirencester Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Cirencester Castle stood in the area bounded by Castle Street, Park Lane and Black Jack Street. It received a square keep in 1107, but was destroyed by Stephen in 1142. Park Lane, formerly known as Law-ditch, occupies the site of the castle moat. (PastScape ref. Baddesley)

king Stephen came suddenly with a large force to Cirencester, and "the keepers of the castle having secretly escaped in differenct directions, he found it empty; whereupon he gave it to the flames, and razed to the ground the rampart and the outworks" (ignibus depascendum commissit vallóque et propugnaculis usque ad imum diruto. – Gesta Stephani, 958.) No other contemporary chronicler mentions this fact, and in these two short sentences is comprised the whole authentic history of Cirencester Castle. (Fuller)

Where does PastScape get the evidence for a square keep being built in 1107? They cite Baddeley (1924) but his other writings don't mention this and he describes the castle as short lived burned down in 1142. This is not impossible but no other author mentions it. The historical evidence for a castle appears to be solely the Gesta Stephani and that seems to suggest a timber castle only. Fuller's research is relatively early but seems a thorough examination of historical sources and he makes no mention of such. Is this actual an error for the King's tower at Gloucester mentioned in a document of 1105?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact