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Tutbury Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Toteberie; Tetbery; castrum Stutesburiae

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SK20922921
Latitude 52.85962° Longitude -1.69059°

Tutbury 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 1 listed building protected by law*.


Tutbury Castle dates back to the late 11th century, possibly, as the element 'Burh' in the place-name suggests, occupying a site fortified by the Saxons. The oldest parts surviving are the 12th century chapel and the early 14th century NE gateway. The rest is 15th century and later. The castle became Crown property in 1399 on the death of John of Gaunt, and Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there. At the outset of the Civil War its defences were considerably strengthened, and it was one of the last places in the county held for the Royal cause. When it fell in 1646, it was slighted by the Parliamentarians. (Masefield; Pevsner)
Tutbury Castle was built by 1071 and demolished 1175-6. It was rebuilt in the late 12th century and new work is recorded in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Desultory demolition took place in 1647-48. It was one of the principal castles inherited by Henry IV as Duke of Lancaster. The main gateway had been constructed by Earl Thomas in 1313-4. Extensive works were undertaken by the three Lancastrian kings, the existing ruins being mainly of 15th century date. (HKW)
The existing remains consist of a motte with counterscarp bank to the west, and there are three outer platforms. There are traces of a village enclosure to the south (probably the suggested park pale, SK 22 NW 9). Tutbury was the administrative centre for one of the great estates of the Duchy of Lancaster, and although infrequently used as a residence, was maintained because of the forests, parks and chases which surrounded it. Cracks had appeared in the great tower in 1597, and nothing was spent on its repair, so that it was demolished in 1647-8, leaving only the imposing fragment which still stands. In the reign of Charles I the old Mediaeval range on the south side of the castle was entirely replaced. It was over 100 feet long but has now disappeared. The castle was held by Royalists during the Civil War, Prince Rupert lodging there in 1645 and after the Battle of Naseby. Besieged for three weeks in the Spring of 1646, it surrendered and was rendered untenable. (Palliser; Renn; HKW)
Excavations and geophysical survey until 2006 suggests that there was a second ditch on the south side, so creating a three-tier defensine system. Within the inner bailey has been revealed an extensive collection of buildings of 15th-17th century date. (Hislop, Williams, 2006-7) (PastScape)

Castle ruins. C12 chapel. North-east gateway of early C14, the rest C15 and later. On the south side the present entrance is through the south wall of the former King's Lodging of 1631-5 on the site of the former great hall and solar, of which portions remain. To west the motte is crowned by a folly keep of early C19 known as Julius's tower. To east is the South Tower, actually 2 adjoining towers of circa 1442-50. The curtain wall extends north-east to a small tower and to the North Tower beyond, built circa 1450 and terminating with the North-East Gateway, known as John of Gaunt's Gateway, a fabric on early C14 with C15 towers. In the bailey stand the remains of the Norman chapel. The castle, which for long has been the property of the Duchy of Lancaster, was founded by Henry de Ferrers. Mary Queen of Scots was confined here on several occasions. Crown Property and A.M. (Listed Building Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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