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Mosleyescastel, West Dean

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Moseley; Castrum de Moseleye

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO631086
Latitude 51.77510° Longitude -2.53512°

Mosleyescastel, West Dean has been described as a probable Uncertain.

There are no visible remains.


Rawes writes in a list 'Probable site of castle, exact location unknown.' "SO6309 Near Moseley Green? Mentioned 1282." citing Hart.

Rejected by King as a location referring to "some conspicuous element that looked vaguely like a castle."

Moseley Green is at SO631086 deep in the heart of the Forest of Dean. This is an area of numerous coal working and associates spoil heaps but these can not relate to a C13 mention of a castle. The Forest of Dean was a large royal hunting forest. The mention of 1282 comes from a perambulation of the Forest of Dean;
Et facta est vna trenchae vocata la Colstyerende incipiens apud Merbroke et durans ad Castrum de Moseleye et continet lx acrea et fuit boscus spissua de minutis corulis. (Maclean 1889-90) – And there is one trench called Colstyerende starting at Merbroke and extending to the castle of Moseleye containing 60 acres of wood of thick short hazel - (translation by Philip Davis). A 'trench' was a pathway clear of trees on its sides for safety and to provide grazing for deer. In the previous passage the 'caput de Moseleye' is mentioned and Moseleye was a 'balliua' (Balliwick) of the forest.
This reads more as the residence of the forester with responsibility for this part of the forest. Such a residence had some of the functions of a castle, being centres for the administration of forest law and will have had some stabling and possibly even a small prison but would not have been large. It may even have been marked in someway to reflect its status as a place of the kings law such as by having some castle like feature like being built on or beside a mound. Medieval use of the term castle was more varied and nuanced than many authors suggest.
Identification of the roads and placenames mentioned in the 1282 perambulation is not easy and the extensive mining of the forest means the modern roadways may not reflect the medieval roadways but the 'castle of Moseleye', if it was a foresters lodge, is likely to have been on a roadway network. Gatehouse has, provisionally, located it at Moseley Green. See also Seyntelscastel
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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