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Cusop Castle

In the civil parish of Cusop.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Herefordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO23904139
Latitude 52.06564° Longitude -3.11152°

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

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthwork and buried remains of Cusop Castle, a ringwork located on a natural promontory above a stream with steeply sloping sides in all directions except to the north east. The natural topography suggests that the ringwork is formed from a natural out crop enhanced by quarrying and the construction of the earthen ramparts. The castle includes a raised irregular oval earthwork enclosure orientated east to west forming a platform 2m-3m high and measuring 60m to 80m in diameter around its summit. There are the remains of a ditch measuring 3m to 5m wide and up to 2.5m deep on the north eastern and eastern sides which are less steeply defended. The course of the ditch has been partially obscured by the modern lane in the north western quadrant. A berm constructed on the southern and south western sides enhance the natural slope of the ravine. The construction of Castle House has removed the westernmost defences of the monument. The interior of the enclosure is divided into two levels by an irregular low bank and slope aligned east to west. Traces of an entrance causeway survive to the east of the subdivision. Although no longer visible above ground, 19th century records of standing fabric including a gateway, and later references to masonry foundations, suggest that Cusop Castle included buildings constructed from stone, the buried remains of which will survive. The ringwork is one of a number of medieval defensive sites located in strategic positions above the Wye Valley, the land belonging to the King at the time of Domesday survey. The castle is believed to have been constructed by the Cianowes or Clarowes family who were prominent in the county during the 12th to 14th centuries. (Scheduling Report)

'The present earthwork itself is of a design more suited to that of a fortified-site than a castle. This view is strengthened by the angular form of the mound and lack of any separation ditch between the mound and the bailey, although, the possibility that a motte may have been removed from the site, thereby covering the ditch during levelling operations should be considered. The matter might be resolved by geophysical survey or excavation. The interpretation of the site, based on actual remains, topographical survey and location suggests that this site is a late construction with a function as a fortified-site probably associated with land tenure and agricultural holdings.' (Phillips)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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