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Montfichet Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Mountfichet; Montfiquit; Munfichet: Old Bailey; Ludgate Hill

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: TQ31788098
Latitude 51.51403° Longitude -0.10276°

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

There are no visible remains.


Montfichet tower possibly originated in the reign of William I, but is not documented until the 1130's. It was given to the Black Friars in 1275 and demolished soon afterwards. (PastScape ref. Weinreb and Hibbert)

A castle (probably a moated site with tower) built immediately N of Baynards Castle (041200) by William de Montfichet in or around the late C11. It fell into disuse in the C13 & was demolished after 1275 (the masonry being used to build blackfriars priory). Documentary research has shown that Montfichet's Tower was bounded by Ludgate Hill, the City Wall (roughly where Pilgrim St joins Ludgate), Creed Lane and Carter Lane, forming an oblong roughly 80m x 50M. Montfichet Tower was defended by ditches on three sides, probably with an internal rampart and wall. Inside stood a stone keep on a motte. (Greater London HER)

Stow reports the castle was destroyed by King John in 1213 after Richard Mountfichet had been exiled to France. On Richard's return he rebuilt the castle but it was totally destroyed in 1276 to make way for Black Friar's.

Watson (1992) reconstructs the site in a drawing as a four storey square masonry tower but there seems to be no evidence documentary or archaeological to suggest such a things. Watson's excavation seems to have found ditches but little else. However did survive into the C13 and some masonry buildings are possible although not necessarily fortifications.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • English Heritage (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s) 405024.
  • County Historic Environment Record (or Sites and Monuments Record) number(s) 042664/00/00.
  • 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
      Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 174
      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. 51
      Schofield, J., 1995, Medieval London Houses (Yale University Press) p. 13
      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) p. 81 online copy
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 271
      Weinreb, Ben and Hibbert, Christopher (eds), 1983 (rev edn 1993), The London Encyclopeadia (Macmillian) p. 540-1
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 262
      Brooke, C.N.L. and Kier, G., 1975, London 800-1216: The Shaping of a City (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press) p. 42, 114, 215n3 online copy
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 248
      Stenton, F.M., 1934, Norman London:an Essay (Historical Association Leaflet 93)
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 104 online copy
      Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 56 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Watson, B., 1992, 'The excavation of a Norman fortress on Ludgate Hill' London Archaeologist Vol. 6.14 p. 371-7 online copy
      Watson, B., 1991, 'The Norman Fortress on Ludgate Hill in the City of London, England, Recent Excavations 1986-90' Château Gaillard Vol. 15 p. 335-45
      Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T., 1986, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 30 p. 127 download copy
      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)
      Honeybourne, M.B., 1947, London Topographical Record Vol. 19 p. 20, 50
      Kingsford, C.L., 1917, 'Historical Notes on Medieval London Houses (Part 2)' London Topographical Record Vol. 11 p. 46-7
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • 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), 1906, Calendar of Charter Rolls Henry III-Edward 1 1257-1300 Vol. 2. (HMSO) p. 180 online copy
      Howlett, R. (ed), 1886, Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I (Rolls series 82) Vol. 3 p. 338 online copy
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • 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
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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