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Caverswall Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Caverswell; Carswell; Cavereswelle; Careswell

In the civil parish of Caverswall.
In the historic county of Staffordshire.
Modern Authority of Staffordshire.
1974 county of Staffordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ95084281
Latitude 52.98254° Longitude -2.07459°

Caverswall Castle has been described as a probable Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

There was a manor at Caverswall mentioned in Domesday, and Walter de Caverswall was bailiff during the reign of Henry I (1100-1135 AD) (Johnston). Licence to crenellate was given in 1275. The castle is a roughly oblong enclosure with four polygonal angle towers which, with the walls, do not stand to full height. The towers were terminated by balustrading, c1615, when Matthew Cradock built a house into the castle. A fine building, high and even, three-storeyed and fully symmetrical. The top balustrade was replaced in the 19th century by crenellation (Pevesner). It is not possible to say how much of the present dry moat belongs to the original castle. The moat was entirely sunk from the natural surface of the land and its sections have in recent years been moulded for the formation of the pleasure grounds (VCH, 1908). (PastScape)

Castle, later country house. C13 foundation to superstructure of circa 1615, enlarged, altered and refitted circa 1890. The work of 1615 has been attributed to Robert and John Smythson. Red sandstone ashlar; flat roofs largely invisible behind crenellated parapets with multishafted C19 side stacks; the gatehouse and angle towers have tiled roofs and balustraded parapets. Built in a castellar, supra-vernacular style with a foretaste of Bolsover and echoes of Longleat (and strangely reminiscent of Castle Drogo by Lutyens). The house is set to the north side of a square retaining enclosure surrounded by an excavated moat which opens out to lower ground level on the west, forming a prospect which was never used. The lower parts of the walls (approx. 9m high) appear to be the only remnant of the medieval castle. (Listed Building Report)

Some sources, probably reflecting Lewis's typographical histories, date the building to Edward II (rather than Edward I). This is erroneous and was probably a simple typographical error, much repeated.

A Royal licence to crenellate may have been granted in 1230/31 (Click on the date for details of this supposed licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1275 Nov 7.

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*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 on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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