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Kilpeck Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Cilpedec; Chipcete

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO44423046
Latitude 51.97013° Longitude -2.81063°

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

There are masonry footings remains.

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


Motte and five baileys with strong counterscarp banks above combe to south, and flanking baileys to north-west and south-east and rectangular village enclosure of bank and ditch. Parts of a polygonal rubble shell-wall remain on the motte, with a round-headed fireplace and circular flue to the north, two drains to the east and an interior cross-wall. The shell may have been circular internally, it has a sloping external plinth. Trial excavations in 1982 revealed seven periods of occupation with pottery giving a date range from C12-C15. Excavation revealed evidence of both timber and stone buildings, and a metalled yard or trackway, overlying the tail of the rampart. (PastScape)

Kilpeck is 7-8 miles south-west of Hereford. The earthworks of the castle lie between the small ornate church of c. 1140 to the east and a hollow to the west. The graveyard of the nearby church is now beginning to encroach on the castle site. The earthworks consist of a motte with a base diameter of c. 50m, rising 8m to a summit 28m in diameter with a large kidney-shaped inner bailey to the east, between the castle and the settlement. The motte is completely surrounded by a ditch. The inner bailey has the remains of a rampart along its north and south sides. It was entered from the south-east where a gap in the rampart is flanked on one side by a small mound, perhaps once a small gatehouse. There are two outer baileys which survive on the south and west, surrounded by either ditches or scarps. The Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England (Inventory of the Historic Monuments of Herefordshire, Volume I: South-West, 1931, p. 158) noted a third outer bailey to the north when it surveyed the site, but this has since been destroyed. The outer bailey is roughly square and lies to the south. It has an outer ditch and the remains of a rampart on its north and south sides. The bailey is entered from the south-west, where there is a gap in the rampart surrounded by a small mound, which could cover the remains of a gatehouse. On the motte summit are two fragments of a shell keep wall about 2m thick and 5m high. The shell keep is thought to be polygonal in shape and perhaps large enough to have had a wall walk. This wall would have enclosed an area c.70m-80m in diameter. A deep well has also been discovered within. The remains of two round-backed fireplace flues, of the former internal lean-to buildings, are also visible within the wall fragments. On the west of the site a stream has been dammed by a continuation of the north bank of the western outer bailey; this was presumably intended to form a fishpond. (Herefordshire Through Time)

Recently clear, consolidated and made stable and a site worth a visit, although the outstanding Herefordshire School of Romanesque architecture and corbels of the adjacent parish church of St Mary and St David are always going to be the real reason to visit this village/castle complex.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*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 09:21:31

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