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A comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands.
 
 
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Betchworth Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bechesworth; Bettisworth; Bletchworth

In the civil parish of Brockham.
In the historic county of Surrey.
Modern Authority of Surrey.
1974 county of Surrey.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ19035005
Latitude 51.23723° Longitude -0.29634°

Betchworth Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

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*.

Description

The fortified medieval house known as Betchworth Castle survives comparatively well, despite subsequent remodelling, and retains substantial amounts of standing medieval and later masonry. The monument also illustrates the adaptation of an important medieval residence to the changing needs and fashions of later centuries. The monument includes a fortified medieval house with later alterations and additions, and part of its landscaped garden, situated on a sandstone spur which overlooks the western bank of the River Mole, around 1.5km to the north east of Dorking. The NNE-SSW aligned, roughly rectangular house, known as Betchworth Castle, is Listed Grade II. Its north eastern end built of sandstone and brick survives in a ruinous state to approximately 9m in height, whilst the south western end survives only largely below ground. Projecting from either end of the eastern side of the ruined building is an attached, now dilapidated, NNE-SSW aligned, stone-revetted garden terrace wall dating to the 18th century. Historical records indicate that Betchworth Castle dates to at least 1377, when Sir John Fitzalan, Marshal of England, was granted licence to crenellate his residence there. It is likely that the fortified house was constructed on the site of an earlier castle, traces of which may survive beneath the later buildings. The monument subsequently underwent several phases of alteration and redevelopment, including a major remodelling of the house and surrounding grounds during the mid-15th century. A 17th century pen-and-ink drawing by John Aubrey shows that the house then survived as a large, NNE-SSW aligned, rectangular, two and three storeyed sandstone building with embattled parapets and tall chimney stacks. At least two projecting corner towers were also depicted. The house and its park were bought in 1791 by William Fenwick, who arranged for the demolition of the south western end of the building, turning the remaining north eastern end into a smaller country residence. In 1798 the architect Sir John Soane was commissioned by the then owner, Henry Peters, to design alterations and new additions to the house and park, the original drawings for which survive. The house was bought by Henry Hope in 1834, who, because it formed only a peripheral part of his larger estate, allowed much of the reusable masonry to be removed from the house, the remainder of which gradually fell into picturesque ruin. (Scheduling Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1379 July 26 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1448 Dec 10.

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

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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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 Saturday, September 20, 2014

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