The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Luton Court House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Falkes de Breautes castle; Lutune

In the civil parish of Luton.
In the historic county of Bedfordshire.
Modern Authority of Luton.
1974 county of Bedfordshire.
Medieval County of Bedfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL09602104
Latitude 51.87793° Longitude -0.40957°

Luton Court House has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


The probable site of a castle built in 1221 by Faulke de Breaute. Documents from the Assize at Dunstable in 1224 record that he was said to have dammed the river unlawfully, presumably for the moat around the castle, resulting in flooding to surrounding property. The castle seems to have covered most of the area between St Mary's Church to the north and Lea Road to the south, with the River Lea at its eastern end and St Ann's Road to the west. The castle was subsequently demolished and the Court House built in the southern corner of its former area. This was a moated house, probably reusing part of the castle moat, which was apparently still extant in 1611.
'Investigations within the University of Bedfordshire's Park Square Campus in Luton revealed features dating to the medieval and post-medieval periods, the most prominent being part of the moat of Fulk de Breauté's early 13th century castle. The partial footprint of a large timber-framed building, broadly dating to the 12th-13th centuries was revealed within the moated enclosure. Other medieval features included two refuse pits located outside the moated enclsoure. Though historically termed a 'castle', the moated site was also a manorial centre - a court house was documented on the site until the early 17th century. The moat was still at least partially open during the post-medieval period when its fills appear to have largely been quarried away and a well and pit, likely to be associated with the backyards of properties fronting onto Park Street, were in use. (Beds HER)

Salter writes this might be Someries though the description of flooding would make this impossible.
Petre reports "archaeological investigation showed that a substantial motte and moat survived in part into the nineteenth century." If this motte was built in 1221 then this is a late example of motte building in England, although mottes were being built in Ireland at this sort of date. did the excavations exclude the possibility this was a castle of earlier date and that de Breaute was extending existing defences in 1221?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
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 Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. 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 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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