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Chartley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Chartley Holme; Chartley by Stowe

In the civil parish of Stowe.
In the historic county of Staffordshire.
Modern Authority of Staffordshire.
1974 county of Staffordshire.
Medieval County of Staffordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK01082850
Latitude 52.85410° Longitude -1.98634°

Chartley 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*.


Primarily a motte and double bailey castle which was altered in the early C13 to form an enclosure castle. The motte is at the western end of the castle and although on a naturally high point it has been artificially raised. A stone keep and curtain walls with projecting towers were later added to the earthworks. The site was owned by the Earls of Chester from the end of C11 and the motte and baileys date from this time. Re-building in stone was underway in 1223 but the castle was abandoned by 1485, and was described by Leland as a ruin in 1545. (PastScape)

It is primarily a motte and double bailey castle which was altered in the early 13th century to form an enclosure castle, the standing remains of which are Listed Grade II-star and included in the scheduling. The castle is surrounded and strengthened by a dry ditch which measures up to 18m wide, beyond which, is a counterscarp bank. The motte is located at the western end of the castle and, although on a natural high point, it has been artificially raised. It has a diameter of 46m at its base and is separated from the bailey by a 10m wide ditch. The bailey to the east is divided into inner and outer enclosures by a ditch which measures approximately 24m wide. The two enclosures vary both in size and form. The inner contains an area of 0.25ha and is rectangular in plan while the outer bailey measures 60m square, an area of approximately 0.35ha. Access to the motte and bailey is currently by means of a causeway at the south eastern edge of the outer bailey which may mark the site of the original entrance. Access to the inner bailey was originally through a gatehouse, with two drum towers, on its eastern side. In the early 13th century a stone keep and a curtain wall with projecting towers, all built of ashlar with a rubble core, were added to the earthworks of Chartley Castle by the Earl of Chester. The motte is surmounted by a circular keep with an internal diameter of 10.7m and walls which are 3.7m thick. It now stands to a height of up to 3m and has been partly restored in brick. At the north eastern edge of the keep are the remains of a projecting semicircular stair turret, 6m in diameter. The inner bailey has been strengthened by a curtain wall with five projecting towers. The curtain wall is best preserved along the southern side of the inner bailey, although it is in a ruined state. Here two semicircular towers stand, up to 10m high in places. There are three semicircular towers situated at the eastern edge of the bailey. The two towers at the south eastern corner formed the gatehouse between the two baileys and a further three-quarter round tower survives in a greatly ruined state at the north eastern corner of the bailey. Although there is no surface evidence to indicate the presence of stone towers along the northern side of the inner bailey, such towers probably existed. However, the lack of visible remains of a curtain wall encompassing the outer bailey probably indicates that the defences here were of timber. (Scheduling Report)

The castle is designed to be viewed from the road with the towers on the curtain wall all facing the road. The modern road follows the line of the medieval road which was one of the routes to the Welsh Marches and Chester. The wall on the other side of the castle is now mainly lost but probably did not have curtain towers (despite the comment in the scheduling report). It is this side that is overlooked by higher ground – that is the most vulnerable side of the castle was, in this case, the most weakly 'defended' whereas the money spent on defences was put into the externally visible features.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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