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 

Dursley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Durslea; Drisilege Castel; Doursley

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

OS Map Grid Reference: ST755982
Latitude 51.68203° Longitude -2.35576°

Dursley Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are no visible remains.


A castle is said to have been built at Dursley (ST 7598) by Roger de Berkeley after his loss of Berkeley in AD 1153, although it is recorded that Henry, Duke of Anjou, spent a night at the castle of "Durslea" in 1149. The building may have been merely a fortified manor-house, though the mention in a 13th century document of a "Castrum" at Dursley may indicate the existence of a regular fortress. Its ruins were said to be still visible in 1779 in a garden adjoining Castle Fields, less than 1/4 mile from the town (possibly in the locality of Castle Farm, ST755982), and a garden adjoining the Lower Castle Field, or alternatively a spot in Upper Castle Field, have been suggested as possible sites, though the latter yielded no discoveries when subject to slight excavation prior to 1886. The castle was said by Leland to have had a good moat, but to have fallen into decay and its materials used to build the manor-house at Dodington. Renn proposes the earthworks at Drakestone (ST 79 NW 2) as a possible site of the castle. (PastScape)

Said to have been built by Roger de Berkeley (1153), but Henry, Duke of Anjou spent a night at the castle of Durslea in 1149 (Gesta Stephani, pp. 143-4 {Potter (ed), 1955 edition}). (Renn 1973)

cepisset Henricum in municipio quod Durslea dicitur pernoctasse et inde in crastino Bristoam ciuitatem tendere proposuisse (Potter 1955)

Doursley ... This towne had a castle in it sumtyme longinge to the Berkeleys, syns to the Wiks, sens fell to decay, and is cleane taken downe. It had a metly good dyche about it, and was for the moste parte made of towfe stone full of pores and holes lyke a pumice. (Leland)

The municipio of 1149 may have been an embanked camp, perhaps one built initially for the siege of Bristol of 1138, which may have then been turned into the stone castle recorded by Leland. A site at Drakestone (ST737980) has been identified with the site mentioned in 1149 although that site is now rejected as a natural feature. The stone castle was probably quite small and may better be described as a fortified manor house, although such distinctions are usually subjective.
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 09:21:28

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