GATEHOUSE
A comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands.
 
 
Home
The listings
Other Info
Books
Links
Downloads
Contact
 
Print Page 
 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Clare Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Clara

In the civil parish of Clare.
In the historic county of Suffolk.
Modern Authority of Suffolk.
1974 county of Suffolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL771452
Latitude 52.07689° Longitude 0.58208°

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

There are masonry footings remains.

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

Description

Motte and bailey first documented in 1090, and probably disused by the end of C14. There is documentary evidence that a secular college existed in the church within the castle at Clare in Edward the Confessor's reign until 1090, (then becoming a Benedictine alien cell until removed to Stoke by Clare in 1124). There is no other evidence for a fortified site pre-dating the present castle. Powerful motte and bailey with second bailey and wet ditches. Masonry shell keep. (Derived from PastScape)

It comprises a motte, 53ft high, surmounted by a fragment of a cylindrical tower of flint rubble, and two baileys, the inner southernmost having been walled. An outer ditch surrounded the whole. The situation is at the angle formed by the junction of the River Stour and Chilton Stream, protected by their floodplains on the S and E sides. The tower on the motte was originally 52ft internal diameter with walls 6ft thick, but only the W arc survives to a height of 25ft. The inner bailey is bounded by a bank and outer ditch; the bank was originally surmounted by a flint rubble wall defended by bastions and demi-bastions, but it only survives in parts in the N and S and on the E side of the motte to a maximum height of 20ft. Until c1720 it stood on the E and S sides, but now only the foundations remain. The entrance from outer to inner bailey was defended by flanking towers and probably a drawbridge, with what appears to be an outer "barbican of two demi-bastions of earth and outer ditch carried around". The outer bailey bounded by bank and ditch shows no trace of a wall. The W side is destroyed, but a sketch drawn in 1785 shows an entrance on this side. (PastScape–ref. Tymms, 1849)

That Clare was an important centre is attested by Doomsday, but the only evidence for a Saxon fortification is apparently that of Tanner. Tanner's source was presumably the foundation charter for the secular college at Clare, which is referred to in Domesday. It must remain open to question as to the status of the site prior to the Norman construction. As the centre of the largest of Aelfric's estates in Suffolk, it is not unreasonable to think that the site may have been occupied by a high status Saxon dwelling, or indeed a fortification. (PastScape (Tanner is a reference in the VCH but not otherwise identified this may be a mistake for Tymms, 1849)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   Flashearth      
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 English Heritage, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. 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 on Sunday, October 19, 2014

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