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Weobley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Wibelay; Weobly

In the civil parish of Weobley.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO40365135
Latitude 52.15718° Longitude -2.87320°

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

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The much mutilated remains of a ringwork and large bailey at Weobley once had stone defences which have now vanished. Mentioned in 1138(a). "The round towers shown on the early plan (b) seem to indicate that the former masonry castle was of the 13th century...." (RCHME). "The castle... bears no relation to the Norman defence line of the Welsh march and may have been adulterine, as it is first mentioned in the reign of Stephen, by whom it was taken in 1140. In 1210, it was occupied by William de Braose, Lord of Brecon, Huntingdon and the Gower. The earthworks, which have been much damaged, consist of a main work to the S. with a bailey to the N of it. The alleged motte, now consists only of a grass-covered crescent. If it was an earth mound, the centre has been quarried away and it is difficult to see why: its profile suggests stonework. The profile of the bailey defences also looks too sharp for a simple earthwork. With regard to the Castle's date and legitimacy, the plan of the village and the general lie of the land suggest a rectangular village enclosure appended to the castle, as at Kilpeck. The present church is 13th - 14th century and although it is alleged to embody some "traces of 12th century masonry", there may have been an earlier church inside the rectangle. The central mound at Weobley Castle is so mutilated that it is difficult to say whether it is a reduced motte or a ring-work. There is now no evidence of any masonry either here or elsewhere. The bailey banks and external moat are large and sharply defined. Beyond the bailey to the west, alongside the present line of the stream, are earthworks and channels which point to the existence of a water-mill at SO 40295136; in connection with which a pond-boy crosses the valley bottom to the SW of the castle. The chief lordship of the Devereux family, it was probably founded in the late 11th century. A plan of the castle by Silas Taylor in 1655 shows a rectangular keep with rounde corner towers. The walls were 12 feet thick and it stood on a mound to the south of the site. (Shoesmith). Under royal control 1210-13. (Brown). (PastScape)

Probably late C11 origin, all stonework now vanished. C17 plan shows rectangular keep. Described as 'a goodly castell but somewhat in decay' by Leland in 1538.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 280-4
      Nash, G.H. and Redwood, B. (eds), 2006, Looking Beyond the Castle Walls: The Weobley Castle Project, Herefordshire (British Archaeological Reports British Series 415)
      Nash, G.H., 2005, Digging History: The Archaeological excavations at Weobley Castle (Logaston Press)
      Nash, G.H., and Children, G., 2003, An Anatomy of a Castle: The Weobley Castle Project (Logaston Press)
      Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 476
      Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 67
      Stirling-Brown, R., 1989, Herefordshire Castles (privately published) p. 21-22 (plan)
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
      1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 20
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 317
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 342
      RCHME, 1934, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 3: north-west p. 196, 198 No. 2 (plan)
      Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 149
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Chalkley Gould, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Herefordshire Vol. 1 p. 246-7
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 118 online copy
      Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 131-4 online copy and plan facing p. 71 (King writes this plan is 'unbelievable') online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Nash, G.H., 2006, 'Involving the public at Weobley Castle' The Archaeologist Vol. 60 p. 21
      Nash, G.H., 2002, 'An Anatomy of a Castle: The Weobley Castle Project, Weobley' West Midlands Archaeology Vol. 45 p. 48-55
      Anon, 1996, Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 65 p. 12
      1995, Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 64 p. 23-25 (plan)
      Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
      King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
      Noble, F., 1965, 'Weobley Castle and borough' The Hundred-and-Twelfth Annual Meeting at Hereford, 1965, CAA p. 22-4
      Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
      Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
      Phillot, H.W., 1888, 'Weobley, the Castle' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 252-3 plan opp. p. 228
      Phillot, H.W., 1871, 'On Weobley Church and Castle' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 27 p. 354 online copy
      Phillot, H.W., 1869, 'Notes on Weobley, Herefordshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 24 p. 47-8, 265 online copy
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • Thorpe, B. (ed), 1849, Florentii Wigorniensis monachi. Chronicon ex Chronicis (London) Vol. 2 p. p. 106 (1138) online copy
      Weaver, J.R.H. (ed), 1908, Chronicle of John of Worcester (Oxford: Clarendon Press) p. 49 online copy (captured 1138)
      1915, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirty-third year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1186-1187 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 37) p. xli, 134 online copy
      Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 250
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
    • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
      Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 222, 225
      Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 69 online copy
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • Dalwood, H. and Bryant, V. (eds), 2005, The Central Marches Historic Towns Survey 1992-6 Download online copy
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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