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Bromfield Grange

In the civil parish of Bromfield.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO47897684
Latitude 52.38714° Longitude -2.76709°

Bromfield Grange has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


mcxl (1141) ij kal. Julii urbs cestria combusta et castellum de Bromfeld v non. Martii. ( Annales Cestrienses - 1141 On 2nd {day before the} kalends of July the city of Chester had a fire and the Castle of Bromfield on the 5th {day before} Nones of May.)

A motyd place by Bromefilde now longynge to the Erie of Oxford. Bromfeld priory stoode bytwyxt Tende and Oney hard apon Teme ripa sinistra. The orchard of the howse lyethe on the right ripe of Oney.
There is liklyhod that the castle of Bromfeld longyd to Giffard, and by force rased, stode where now is a farme house motyd belonginge to the Erie of Oxford. (Toulmin-Smith 1906)

Bromfield moated grange is associated with a nearby well known priory site. The moat is well preserved and will retain archaeological evidence of the grange buildings in the interior.
The moated grange at Bromfield is located on the south-western side of the village. The monument has a moat island which is 50m square and about one metre higher than the land around the site. The island is surrounded by a ditch 2m to 3m deep and 4m wide. The ditch is partially water-filled and is fed by springs located at the south-eastern and south-western corners of the moat. Remains of a stone building are exposed on the north side of the island where a low stone wall, 0.5m high and 2.5m long with a small buttress, can be seen. A raised platform, on the northern side of the moat island and immediately south of the exposed stonework, indicates the position of former buildings. Disturbed stonework on the northern outer bank can also be seen and may be the site of an access point to the interior of the site. The moat lies 250m to the west of the church of the former Benedictine Priory at Bromfield which was associated with St Peter's Abbey at Gloucester. The Priory is documented from the 12th century to the Dissolution in 1537. It is considered that the moated site was the location of a homestead farm or grange associated with the Priory. (Scheduling Report)

The scheduling report records this as a grange of Bromfield Priory, although the reason the Priory would have a high status moated grange just 250m away is a little obscure (unless it had been granted to them at some point). This is a fairly big moated site and clearly that referred to by Leland, there being no alternative. Eyton's history mentions a manor of Bromfield, this was generally held as demense of the Priory, so it may be better to see this site as a manor house rather than a grange although it may be questionable if the Prior was using it as a residence or if it was occupied by a steward.
The manor was held by St Mary's Church in Domesday but sub-tenanted to Nigel the doctor. Such a tenurial history is not particularly suggestive of a castle. The date of the foundation of the Priory is uncertain but may be 1155. A question remains as to what the castellum de Bromfeld mentioned in 1141 was. It should be remembered that castellum was a term used in the Vulgate bible to describe the village of Bethlehem but that use was not common in the C12. There is the site of a small Roman camp to the north of the village but this certainly can not be the place burnt in 1141. There are examples of small castles being used as the base of religious foundations during the reign of Stephen and at the start of Henry II's reign. Leland seems to have been aware of a story of a C12 castle here. The surviving square moat might, therefore, be an C13/C14 adaptation of a C11/C12 timber castle of some, unknown, form probably further adapted when the site was obtained by the Earl of Oxford after the Dissolution.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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