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Starborough Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sterborough; Sterborrow; Prinkham; Pringham; Prynkeham in Lyngfeld

In the civil parish of Lingfield And Dormansland.
In the historic county of Surrey.
Modern Authority of Surrey.
1974 county of Surrey.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ42584409
Latitude 51.17828° Longitude 0.03868°

Starborough Castle has been described 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

Although the medieval buildings of Starborough Castle have been dismantled, the monument retains significant evidence for its original form, including the moat and in situ foundations and masonry. The castle also represents the 18th and 19th century phenomenon of Romantic Antiquarianism, involving the remodelling and reuse of an earlier, medieval structure as the focus of a landscaped garden. The monument includes a quadrangular castle situated within a sandstone valley on the southern side of the River Eden, around 3km to the south west of Edenbridge. The castle buildings, which were constructed upon a roughly square, artificial island of 0.8ha, survive mainly in the form of buried foundations and associated archaeological remains. Documentary evidence and a 17th century engraving suggest that the castle buildings were faced with sandstone ashlar and ranged around a central courtyard. The outer defences included a high curtain wall with projecting, circular corner towers. Surrounding the island is a water-filled, roughly square moat up to 25m wide. Modern drainage and service trenches have caused some disturbance to the moat, although original, in situ masonry survives within its coursed sandstone lining. The moat walling is Listed Grade II-star. Access to the island was by way of a now dismantled central bridge over the southern arm of the moat, traces of the foundations of which were discovered during the construction of a replacement bridge in 1984. Most of the original castle buildings have been dated to 1341, when the then owner, Lord Cobham, was granted licence to crenellate his residence at Starborough. The monument is recorded as one of the places of captivity of the Duke of Orleans after the battle of Agincourt in 1415. The castle was dismantled by order of the Parliamentary government in 1648, when it was feared that it could be used as a focus for Royalist resistance. During the 18th century the monument was remodelled and reused as an ornamental landscape feature, forming part of the grounds of the adjacent country house. The level of the central island was significantly raised and landscaped, and in 1754, the then owner, Sir James Burrow, built a Gothic style garden house of dressed sandstone within its north eastern corner. This building is Listed Grade II-star. The building material included some reused medieval masonry originating from the earlier castle buildings. The moat, island and garden house underwent renovation during the 1980s and now form part of a separate residence. (Scheduling Report)

'a little fort built like a castle (forcelettum ad modum castri) with a very strong wall, and a park with deer, measuring a league in circuit.' (Inq. P.M–Inq. (indented) taken at Lyngfeld, 19 November, 43 Edward III. (1369))
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 261, 311, 314
      Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 410-12
      Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Surrey (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 22
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 242 (slight)
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 466
      Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
      Malden, H.E. (ed), 1912, VCH Surrey Vol. 4 p. 304-6, 399, 401 online transcription
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Malden, H.E. (ed), 1902, 'Parishes: Lingfield' VCH Surrey Vol. 1 p. 417
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 100-1 online copy
      Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 413 online copy
      Manning, O. and Bray, Wm, 1809, The History and Antiquities of Surrey (London) Vol. 2 p. 341-7
  • Periodical Articles
    • 1999, Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 86
      Flower, J.W., 1864, 'Notices of the family of Cobham of Sterborough Castle, Lingfield, Surrey' Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 2 p. 115-94 online copy
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1900, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1340-43) Vol. 5 p. 304 online copy
      Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 445
      Stamp, A.E.(ed), 1938, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem Vol. 12 p. 327 online copy
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
    • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
      Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 452
      Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 118 online copy
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • Napier, F.H., 1973, Lingfield: The Story of a Surrey Parish (typescript in Lingfield library)
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 Saturday, November 15, 2014

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