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 

Southampton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
munitionem Hamptoniae; Hamtune

In the civil parish of Southampton.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Southampton; City of.
1974 county of Hampshire.
Medieval County of Hampshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU41911141
Latitude 50.90065° Longitude -1.40538°

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


The establishment of a castle at Southampton, soon after the Conquest, probably marked the inception of the Mediaeval town. The earliest castle was a motte (some 200ft. in diameter) surrounded by a deep ditch and probably surmounted by a timber fort and with a defensive bailey, within a palisaded bank and ditch, on its northern side.
Major attention was paid to the castle throughout Henry IIIs reign, particularly to the King's cellars, the adjacent quay, and the royal lodgings. However, little attention seems to have been given to the defences of the castle, which Henry appears to have regarded more as a residence and wine depot rather than a defensible work. In 1286 the castle was said to be ruinous, and despite almost continual work on the towns defences, and the french raid of 1338, little provision was made for the castle's defences. The castle was granted to, and held by successive Queens as a dower house, until Queen Philippa demised it to Thomas West in 1333, and then to John de Beauchamp in 1343. In 1359 Philippa surrendered the castle to Edward III, who promptly granted it to the custody of first, Richard of Pembridge, and then in 1372 to John of Foxley.
In 1376 the men of the town of Southampton petitioned the King to take the town and its defence into his own hands, which led to the rebuilding of the keep, the creation of a mantlet and barbican, the works being completed in 1380. In 1386, Thomas Tredyngdon was appointed as keeper because of his expertise in artillery, several artillery pieces being kept within the castle. By 1585, the castle was described as ruinous.
The whole palisaded defence was replaced by stone by the latter half of the 12th.c. but the keep probably remained a timber structure until the end of the 13th.c. A new keep, with four turrets, was built 1378-80. In 1618 the ruined castle was sold to private hands and in 1804 the ruins were incorporated in a Gothic 'castle'. This was removed in 1818 and the mound was lowered in 1822. The site is now occupied by a block of flats. (PastScape)

Late C14 remains of the drum towers flanking the principal gateway to Southampton's Mediaeval Castle. These twin drum towers were added to the defensive bailey wall of the Royal Castle. Stone rubble walls to a height of nearly 20 ft with several arches, some now blocked. (Listed Building Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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