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Baynards Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bainard; Baignard; Bainardus; Baignardus; turris Bainardi; York House; York Place

In the civil parish of City Of London.
In the historic county of City of London.
Modern Authority of City and County of the City of London.
1974 county of Greater London.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ31978082
Latitude 51.51145° Longitude -0.10167°

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

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Norman castle at west end of London's Walls, replaced by medieval palace, which was destroyed by Great Fire of 1666. It was first built, as a castle, by one Baynard, a follower of William the Conqueror. It was forfeited in A.D. 1111, and given to Robert FitzWalter, son of Richard, Earl of Clare, in whose family the office of Castellan and Standard-Bearer to the City of London became hereditary. His descendant, Robert, in revenge for private injuries, took part with the Barons against King John, for which the King ordered Baynard's Castle to be destroyed. FitzWalter, however, becoming reconciled to the King, was permitted to rebuild his house. In 1275, another Robert FitzWalter gave the site to the Archbishop of Canterbury for the foundation of the London House of Dominican or Black Friars. At the rebuilding of FitzWalter's 'castle' it was somewhat shifted in position and it was probably at this time that it lost its fortified appearance. It was again destroyed, this time by fire, in 1428. It was rebuilt by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, on whose attainder it reverted to the crown. Richard, Duke of York, had it next and lived here with his following of four hundred gentlemen and men-at-arms. It was in the hall of Baynard's Castle that Edward IV assumed the title of King, and summoned the bishops, peers and judges to meet him in council. ( derived from Besant, 1892)

Despite later development, Baynard's Castle 78m south-west of St Benet Metropolitan Welsh Church survives comparatively well. Much of the original layout and foundations are preserved below modern buildings. The site is of major historic interest as a 16th century royal residence and the location of several important events in English history. Below-ground archaeological and environmental information will survive on the site relating to the history and use of the castle and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument includes a medieval enclosure castle surviving as buried archaeological remains below an area of modern development. It is situated on the north side of the River Thames, east of Blackfriars Station in the City of London. The enclosure castle dates from the 13th century but was altered, part-rebuilt and enlarged several times. It is orientated NNE to SSW and is trapezoidal in plan with a longer wall on its southern side and shorter wall to the north. It is about 65m long and varies between about 38m and 55m wide. The remains uncovered by excavation indicate that it was built with four wings around a central courtyard. The foundations of the north wing include the remains of the walls, gatehouse and gate tower. On its southernmost side, which originally fronted the river, is part of the 16th century foundations of a series of five small projecting towers between two large multi-angular end towers. There is a cobbled landward entrance in the north wall. A riverside entrance in one of the small south towers is attested in documentary sources. The surviving internal features identified during excavation include tiled flooring and the remains of a fireplace in the south wing. The castle was extended about 35m WNW in the 16th century with three additional wings of brick construction and stone facing. Baynards Castle was originally founded in the 11th century by William the Conquerer and given to Ralph Baignard. It was demolished in about 1213 and the site was acquired by the Dominicans in 1276. A new castle was built to the east of Blackfriars shortly afterwards. It was damaged by fire in 1428 and rebuilt on reclaimed land by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. It later passed into ownership of Henry VI who granted it to Richard Duke of York. In about 1500, Henry VII transformed it into a royal residence and stayed at the castle on several occasions. It was considerably extended in the 16th century and Henry VIII passed it to several of his wives. After Henry's death it was owned by the Earl of Pembroke and his family. In 1660, Charles II and the 1st Earl of Sandwich took supper at the castle just a few years before it burnt down in the Great Fire of London. The last remaining tower was demolished in 1720. The foundations of the castle were exposed during partial excavation in the early 1970s and 1980s and have been back-filled and preserved by packing below modern buildings including Baynard House, City of London School and its courtyard and playground. Archaeological watching briefs in 1984 and 1994, recorded the foundations and layout of the castle. (Scheduling Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Renn, Derek., 2014, ‘The other towers of London’ in Hidden histories and records of antiquity; essays on Saxon and medieval London for John Clark, curator emeritus, Museum of London (London and Middlesex Archaeology Society Special Paper 17) p. 32-5
      Osbourne, Mike, 2012, Defending London (Stroud: The History Press) p. 25
      Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 59-60, 388
      Impey, Edward, 2008, 'London's early castles and the context of their creation' in Impey, Edward (ed), The White Tower (Yale University Press) p. 14-26
      Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 50
      Keevill, Graham D., 2000, Medieval Palaces, An Archaeology (Stroud; Tempus) p. 14
      Colvin, H. and Foister, S. (eds), 1996, The Panorama of London c. 1544 by Anthonis van den Wyngaerde (London Topographical Society 151) III 30
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 149 (mention)
      Schofield, J., 1999, The building of London: from the Conquest to the Great Fire p. 38-40, 132-4
      Schofield, J., 1995, Medieval London Houses (Yale University Press) p. 1, 6, 9, 37, 41, 106
      Thurley, Simon, 1993, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale University Press) p. 10, 27, 36, 40, 78
      James, T.B., 1990, The Palaces of Medieval England (London; Seaby) p. 140-1, 152, 164
      Lobel, M.D. (ed), 1989, The City of London from prehistoric times to c.1520 British Atlas of Historic Towns Vol. 3 (Oxford University Press) online copy
      Weinreb, Ben and Hibbert, Christopher (eds), 1983 (rev edn 1993), The London Encyclopeadia (Macmillian) p. 126
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 271
      Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London)
      Dyson, T. (ed), Hill, C., Millett, M. and Blagg, T., 1980, The Roman Riverside Wall and Monumental Arch in London (London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 3)
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 104
      Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 980-1
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 102-4 online copy
      Besant, Walter, 1892, London (New York: Harper and Brothers) p. 163-66 online copy
      Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 52-6 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Keene, D., 1999, 'Wardrobes in the City: houses of consumption, finance and power' Thirteenth Century England Vol. 7 p. 61-79
      Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T., 1985, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1984' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 29 p. 176 download copy
      Wilmott, T., 1982, 'A medieval armorial brooch or pendant from Baynards Castle' Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Vol. 33 p. 299–30 download copy
      Youngs, S.M. and Clark, J., 1982, 'Medieval Britain in 1981' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 192 download copy
      Richardson, B., 1981, 'Excavation Round-up 1981' London Archaeologist Vol. 4.6 p. 160 online copy
      Schofield, J., 1981, 'Archive reports of archaeological excavations in the City of London from 1973' Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Vol. 32 p. 82-5 download copy
      Hobley, B. and Schofield, J., 1977, The Antiquaries Journal Vol. 57 p. 43-4
      Bloice, B., 1975, 'Excavation Round-up 1974' London Archaeologist Vol. 2.10 p. 256 online copy
      (Marsden), 1974, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 p. 196 download copy
      (Marsden), 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 17 p. 162-4 download copy
      Anon, May 1972, 'Baynard's Castle Revealed' Illustrated London News Vol. 260:6886 p. 17
      Marsden, P., 1972, 'Baynard's Castle' London Archaeologist Vol. 1.14 p. 315-6 online copy
      Honeybourne, M.B., 1965, London Topographical Record Vol. 22 p. 38-9
      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)
      Kingsford, C.L., 1916, 'Historical Notes on Medieval London Houses (Part 1)' London Topographical Record Vol. 10 p. 59-64
      Hope, W.H.St J., 1903, 'English Fortresses and Castles of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 60 p. 87 online copy
      Round, J.H., 1902, 'Castle Guard' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 59 p. 144-159 online copy
      Macmichael, J.H., 1890, 'Baynard Castle, and excavations on its site' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 46 p. 173-85 online copy
      1855, The Builder p. 221, 269
      1843, The Gentleman's Magazine Vol. 173 p. 635 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.)
    • le Prevost, A. (ed), 1840, Orderici Vitalis, Historiae Ecclesiaticae Vol. 2 p. 165 online copy
      William FitzStephen, c. 1180, 'A description of London' translated in Henry Thomas Riley (ed), 1860, Liber Custumarum (Rolls Series 12) Vol. 2 p. 2-15 online copy
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1272-81) Vol. 1 p. 98 (licence for Robert son of Walter to sell to Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, the castle called Castle Baynard) online copy
      Johnson, C. and Cronne, H.W.C. (eds), 1956, Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum (Oxford: Claredon Press) Vol. 2 p. 102 no. 991 online copy
      'Annales Prioratus de Dunstaplia' in Luard, H.R. (ed), 1866, Annales Monastici Vol. 3 p. 36 online copy
      Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 426 online copy
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • Shapland, Michael, 2012, Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches (PhD Thesis University College London) esp. chapter 7
      Fradley, Michael, 2011, The Old in the New: Urban Castle Imposition in Anglo-Norman England, AD1050-1150 (University of Exeter PhD Thesis) available via EThOS
      Gilpin, R, 2005, 'When the hole in the ground has been filled in, what kind of an afterlife is there? An investigation into theoretical and practical aspects of post-excavation archiving, with particular reference to the Baynard's Castle archive at the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre'. (Unpublished MA dissertation, University of London)
      Armitage, P.L., 1977, The mammalian remains from the tudor site of Baynards Castle, London. A Biometrical and Historical analysis (PhD thesis University of London) (available via EThOS)
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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