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Rowton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Rouse; Routhsea; Routon

In the civil parish of Alberbury With Cardeston.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ37881273
Latitude 52.70877° Longitude -2.92064°

Rowton Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Country house built circa 1700, for Richard Lyster, on the site of a medieval castle destroyed in 1482. The Medieval castle at Rowton was raised to the ground by Llewellyn in 1482 (sic) (PastScape – ref. Pevesner)

The 1482 date quoted from Pevesner appears to be a confused typographical error. However, the date of 1282 is given in Mackenzie's Castles of England but without a source citation. This is repeated by Sandford in his not useful paper in Montgomeryshire Collections and in the Duckers tourist guide. The 1282 date seems to come from a mis attribution of Camden's Routon castle to Rowton rather than Ruyton XI Towns and a misidentification of Lhewellin as Llewelyn the Last rather than Llewelyn the Great. It should be noted that R.W. Eyton, who did a massive historical survey of Shropshire in the mid C19 and clearly carefully examined all the relevant historical sources over many years makes no mention of any such attack or indeed anything much at all about the castle. However it is clear Rowton was a manor throughout the medieval period and the probably site of a residence of some form (Probably held by some fraction of a knights fee owed to Clun Castle). The early modern will of Richard Lyster "stated that £1000 should be spent ' building a house at Rowton 'upon the bank where the old castle stands, or near thereunto.'” (VCH) may suggest there was a small earthwork castle at Rowton of the sort common in this area. These seem to have really been symbolic markers of the knightly status of tenant of these small manors often held for a fraction of a knights fee. This was most likely replaced by a manor house of some sort, probably mainly timber and retained as a residence by a knightly sub tenant. At some point before the Civil War the house was rebuilt in masonry and again around 1700. At this point it seems a fancifully history, perhaps based on a misreading of Camden, was constructed to give the house and it owners greater kudos. The family seem to have been successful in making their fanciful history stick. (Philip Davis 5-1-2011 with thanks to Kathryn Hay of English Heritage.)
The house built in the early C18 shows the enduring architectural value given to castellated houses. It is likely the precursor house also had castellated elements, such as a porch, even if otherwise domestic.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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