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 

Kempsford Manor

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Lady Maud's walk

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SU160964
Latitude 51.66697° Longitude -1.76939°

Kempsford Manor has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.

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


A Saxon earthwork is mentioned by Verey (perhaps following Mynors) as guarding the ford across the Thames at Kempsford. It is said to have been later incorporated in the rampart of a 12th cent castle which stood on a site SW of the church. (Area SU 160965). The castle, which belonged to the Earl of Lancaster in 1298, was demolished in the reign of James I when the Thynnes built Kempsford House in its place (sited at SU 16099643, from Kips' engraving) (Atkyns 1712), and this in turn was pulled down in 1790. The present Manor Farmhouse (SU 16119640), the cellars of which could be part of the castle, was built out of the stables. The garden of the Vicarage occupies part of the castle precincts, including the above-mentioned rampart, which is now known as Lady Maud's Walk. It has a 17th century parapet ending in a ruined building (Gunner's Room) which dates from the Thynnes' time. This, building described in 1892 as a "Shot tower" (TBGAS 1892), is said by Verey to contain the large moulded octagonal stone known as the Castle Pillar which is shown on OS maps about 30ft to the north. (Verey: Mynors: Atkyns: TBGAS)
There are no visible remains of the "castle" but masonry from the 17th century house is built into the present farmhouse and the former site at SU 16119645 is clearly indicated by a levelled area in the kitchen garden. Maud's Walk appears to be a pleasaunce, a contention apparently supported by Kip's illustration. The 17th century parapet and remains of the Gunner's Room, with a mullioned and transomed window overlooking the now dredged out ford, are extant and in a fairly good state of repair. Castle Pillar stands at SU 16069646. (There seems to be little basis for the apparent conjecture that Maud's Walk was a Saxon earthwork or later a 12th century rampart and a "castle" here within a 12th century context would probably imply either or a motte and bailey or a fortified manor, the latter being more likely as it is doubtful whether all traces of a motte and bailey could be effaced and the fact that cellars to the structure are mentioned) (F1 ANK 15-SEP-71).
The manor of Kempsford passed to Henry, Earl of Lancaster on his marriage to Maud de Chaworth before 1297, and in 1355 was given by his son Henry, Duke of Lancaster, to the hospital of the Annunciation at Leicester, which held it until the Dissolution.
The belief that there was a castle at Kempsford probably derived from the existence of a large moated manor-house.
In extent of 1258 only a manor-house, with a hall, kitchen, gatehouse and other rooms, was recorded. It evidently stood close to the river south of the church where part of the moat, recorded in 1801, could still be seen in 1976. In the early 16th century the site of the manor included buildings in an inner and outer court, the former presumably those within the moat. A large new manor-house was built by Thomas Thynne shortly before 1639, situated between the church and the river. The house, which was ranged around a courtyard, had a walled garden on the north and a terrace latterly known as 'Lady Maud's Walk' beside the river on the south. The main buildings were demolished before 1784, but the terrace with one of the summerhouses which stood at each end survived in 1976, as did two barns and another building which has become the back range of Manor Farm (VCH). (PastScape)

Remains of river walkway along rampart and of one end pavilion. Castle rampart along River Thames to original manor house, probably of C13 origin, and converted c1630 into riverside terrace approximately 80m in length with central steps and end pavilions, known as Lady Maud's Walk. East side only remains, with remains of about 4 large stone steps and with about 40m of walkway with coped wall of differing heights along length, ending at south east corner in a ruined pavilion with the frame of a 4-light mullion and transom stone window with king mullion. The terrace is a whole appears in Kip's engraving of Kempsford in 1700. (Listed Building Report)

Manor house, built in 1639 and demolished in 1784. Terraces, summerhouses and a range of outbuildings survived until 1976. Possibly the site of a large moated manor house mentioned c.1258, when the site included a hall, kitchen and gatehouse. There may well have residence of some prestige since Edward I stayed at Kempsford in 1276 and 1305. The close proximity of the site to the Norman Church and the importance of the Manor would also suggests this may well have been the site of a Norman castle. The ford, which is no longer used, was notoriously dangerous.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
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.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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