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Caversham Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Kaversham; Kaveresham

In the civil parish of Reading.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Reading.
1974 county of Berkshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU708748
Latitude 51.46856° Longitude -0.98081°

Caversham Castle has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


Approximate site of a medieval castle or fortified manor house documented in 1218. The house was purchased by Sir Francis Knollys in 1542 but was demolished by his son, William Knollys, who built a mansion on the site. Charles I was imprisoned in this house for a time but it was in turn demolished after the Civil War. Lord Cadogan rebuilt the house in 1718 but it was burned down in the late 18th century and replaced with a smaller house. This was extended in the 1780s and further altered after 1838 but itself burned down in 1850 and was replaced by the present house. (PastScape)

In medieval times, Caversham had an important Castle or fortified manor. It probably stood on the edge of the present park, on the site of the later Dean's Farm. This was down by the river on slightly elevated ground which never floods. This afforded excellent communications and was near the old ferry and mill. The house was the favourite home of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, the eighty year old regent of England during the minority of Henry III. He died there in 1218. The castle later passed to the Earls of Warwick, who also favoured it. Anne daughter & eventual sole heiress of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, & his wife Isabella (daughter & eventual sole heiress of Thomas Le Despencer, 11th Earl of Gloucester) was born at Caversham in September 1426. The Earl later made his will here on 8th August 1437. Although betrothed to him since she was eight, Richard Neville, son of the 8th Earl of Salisbury (from Bisham) is supposed to have proposed to the Lady Anne on Caversham Bridge. He was already brother-in-law to her brother, Henry, the 14th Earl. After they married, Richard inherited the title from her niece, and became known to history as the man whose support determined the King: Henry VI or Edward IV. He was Warwick the Kingmaker.
The castle was eventually succeeded by a number of great mansions, from the Tudor period onwards, under the name of Caversham Park. Since 1911, Caversham, including the area where the castle stood, has fallen within the region administered by Berkshire County Council and its successor, Reading Borough Council. (David Nash Ford)

PastScape place this at the site of the later Caversham Park House (SU725763) but David Ford Nash goes for a location at Dean's Farm (SU726742). Gatehouse would favour a site near to the parish church of St Peter's (SU708748) on the general principle of an usual close relationship between manor houses and parish churches, although, in this case, a location to the east, by the park is probable. There is no archaeological evidence, at the moment, to support any location.
Gatehouse has not found any historical references to a castle at Caversham. The Marshall did have manor house here, and would might reasonably expect a man as powerful and wealthy as William to have decorated this house with the military features reflecting his position and reputation but it does not seem to have been called a castle. The manor is recorded as having a moat in a deed of 8 Henry VII (1494) and is called a 'manor and lordship' in another deed of 1487. However, the scant bibliography for this house does suggest much more historical work is to be done.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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