GATEHOUSE
A comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands.
 
 
Home
The listings
Other Info
Books
Links
Downloads
Contact
 
Print Page 
 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Richmont Castle, East Harptree

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Estharpetre; Harpestre; Arpetream; Harpetreu

In the civil parish of East Harptree.
In the historic county of Somerset.
Modern Authority of Bath and North East Somerset.
1974 county of Avon.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST562558
Latitude 51.29963° Longitude -2.63062°

Richmont Castle, East Harptree 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.

Description

Medieval castle mentioned in the reign of Stephen and destroyed during the reign of King Henry VIII. Parts of the curtain wall survives for a length of 30m and in places it is 3m thick and 2.2m high. (PastScape)

The castle earthworks cover an area of 1.58ha and are marked by the fragmentary remains of three banks and two external ditches. These earthworks define a great tower and an inner and outer bailey. At the northern end, the principal residential area, there are the stone remains of a circular tower and part of the rubble core of the curtain wall as well as the earthworks of at least two buildings. Elsewhere the castle is largely devoid of stonework since it has been thoroughly dismantled and robbed for its building material; however, stretches of the course of the curtain wall can still be traced as rubble walling and as an earthwork. Scarring much of the two baileys, the western side of the spur, and the area to the south of the castle, are the pits and rakes of a phase of industrial mining which tends to obscure the form of the castle. (Brown, 2008)
It is not entirely clear when Richmont Castle was constructed but it was probably sometime in the late 11th century, soon after the Norman Conquest. It was certainly in existence in 1138 during the period of the Anarchy between king Stephen and the Empress Matilda (1135-1154). In 1138 it was held by Sir William de Harptree who supported Matilda; following the siege of Bristol, Stephen advanced on Richmont and burnt the gates and secured the castle. The subsequent history of the castle is unknown but it probably remained the residence of the de Harptree family (later known as de Gourney) for much of the later medieval period. (Brown, 2008)

Post mortum inquisition of Thomas de Gourney in 1343 records 'he held nothing of the King in chief, etc., but rendered 6s. 8d. yearly to the King for licence to crenellate (karnellandi) the castle of Estharpetre' Coulson writes "writ of Certiorari produced a new inquisition which omitted this detail (the yearly fee) (August 1347). There is no enrolment as calendared, so the licence was probably cancelled for non-payment. It was probably a Hanaper fee, due to be collected by the sheriff, wrongly entered as annual." The speculation being that the death of Thomas was the reason for the none payment and that 'yearly' is an error for 'to be paid this year'. The castle may well have been purchased by Thomas de Gourney, a member of a neighbouring family, from the de Harptrees in 1329/30 and the licence applied for to confirm this change of ownership when new building was started or was about to be finished. Some of the standing remains may date from that time.

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in <1343 (Click on the date for details of this licence.) but then revoked.

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   Flashearth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of English Heritage, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated on Sunday, October 19, 2014

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact
¤¤¤¤¤