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Upper Slaughter Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Home Farm

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SP15602324
Latitude 51.90771° Longitude -1.77447°

Upper Slaughter Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

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


The castle was built with a flat-topped mound, of which the top seven feet were made-up soil, above an irregular bailey from which the ground dropped to the Slaughter Brook on the north and to a moat on the east. Excavation in the moat has produced 12th and 13th century potsherds and the castle, which is not in a commanding position, was probably built for local defence and was used only for a short period (VCH).
A low motte within an oval bailey. A chamber was found 30ft down the stone-lined well in the 19th cent and 12th cent pottery in 1963 when the road bisecting the site was widened (Renn).
This mound is a maximum of 2.7m high and has a roughly square flat top, 22.0m across, with two depressions in it, one of which is the well, the other presumably representing a building or excavation. The west and south sides of the mound have been partly levelled by the adjacent farm complex. Of the bailey and moat only a 90.0m length of a scarp above the stream on the north and west and a levelled platform between this and the mound can be clearly identified. It may be conjectured that the outline of the bailey is defined by the roughly circular modern building alignment though this could only be proven to excavation. A broad bank from SP 15662326 to SP 15652322, to the east of the motte, could be associated though its purpose is obscure.
SP 1555 2327. A watching brief during construction work at Home Farm revealed the ditch around the western side of the motte. The ditch, 8m wide and up to 4m deep, had been partly backfilled with material probably from the mound, and containing several large blocks of worked masonry. Residual 12th Century pottery was recovered in association with several modern features and a possible medieval pit. An unstratified La Tene III bow brooch of Claudio-Neronian date was also found (Willis 1990). (PastScape)

The castle was built with a flat-topped mound, of which the top seven feet were made-up soil, above an irregular bailey from which the ground dropped to the Slaughter brook on the north and to a moat on the east. Excavation in the moat has produced 12th- and 13th-century potsherds, and it is likely that the castle, which is not in a commanding position, was built for purely local defence, and was used only for a short period. Any possibility that the king's sergeant in Slaughter in 1190 and 1239 was connected with it is made remote by the complete absence from the Pipe Rolls of the late 12th century and early 13th of any reference to a castle or defensive works in Slaughter. The sergeant was presumably connected with the royal manor in Lower Slaughter, and the prison, which would certainly have been part of any royal castle, was in Lower Slaughter.
The castle mound is on a bend in the Slaughter brook, and on the shoulder by which it is connected to the hillside behind stands the church (apparently older than the castle), with the village straddling the shoulder. (VCH)

Moving away from a purely military interpretation of the castle, assumed in the VCH this would seem to be the early manor house of Upper Slaughter in a typical position, beside the church. The manor seems to have been held by Roger de Lacy in 1086, when it was a single demense farm although it was later split up into several estates. Did the de Lacy's plan or have a residence here or was there a sub-tentant of knightly status? The listed C17 house on perimeter of motte presumably represents the continued use of the site as the residence and offices of the manor.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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