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Inkberrow Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Intebergh; Inteberg

In the civil parish of Inkberrow.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP01715728
Latitude 52.21383° Longitude -1.97652°

Inkberrow Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

A castle with a park was in existence at Inkberrow in or before 1193-4, and in 1216 wood was provided for its repair. Its destruction was ordered in 1233 and as it was probably only an earthwork with wooden defences it was so completely destroyed that its site is not now known (VCH). The manor was obtained from the Bishop of Hereford by John Marshal, who may have built the castle circa 1174 x 1176. (Brown). (PastScape record 328543)

John Marshal, who by the agreement mentioned above became tenant of the manor of Inkberrow, died without issue in 1193–4, when he was succeeded by his brother William, who in right of his wife Isabel became Earl of Pembroke. He or one of his predecessors had erected a castle at Inkberrow, and in 1216 William Cauntelow was ordered to provide him with wood for repairing it. William Marshal died three years later, and his son William obtained in 1230 a grant from the king by which his manor of Inkberrow was freed from the regard and view of the foresters. The earl died in 1231, and his widow Eleanor daughter of King John received permission from her brother Henry III to reside at Inkberrow Castle until the king should assign her dower of her husband's lands. Richard Marshal, brother and successor of William, being a firm opponent of the king's foreign advisers, was proclaimed a traitor in 1233, and the custody of Inkberrow Castle (then called domus) was given to Baldwin de Lisle. In October of that year, however, the Sheriff of Worcester was ordered to convoke his whole county at Inkberrow, and to destroy the castle and cause the wood in the park to be sold for the king's use. (VCH 1913)

Medieval moat at Inkberrow village Millenium Green, with associated possible fishponds and ridge and furrow. The island is 34m by 27m and surounded by a water filled moat 6m wide and 2m deep, with a low external bank. Traces of a leat which fed the moat via a fishpond from the adjacent stream exist in the north east corner. The possible fishpond feature is irregular in shape and 14m in diameter. To the north is a further possible fishpond 60m by 20m. A leat from the stream feeds into its eastern side. A series of drainage ditches to the north and west collect surface water and define an enclosure at the north western corner of the moat. There have been alternative interpretations of the ponds as later features, possibly associated with brickearth pits of the early 18th century; though this interpretation is uncertain. The remains of ridge and furrow are located to the west and north of the moat and more fragmentarily to the east of the stream. Scheduled. (PastScape record 328523)

The moated site 150m north east of Inkberrow Church survives as a largely undisturbed and well-preserved example of a medieval moated settlement including associated fishponds and remnants of the agricultural regime. The undisturbed nature of the island will preserve evidence of former structures, including both domestic and ancillary buildings and their associated occupation levels. These remains will illustrate the nature of use of the site and the lifestyle of its inhabitants in addition to evidence which will facilitate the dating of the construction and subsequent periods of use of the moat.
The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence of its construction and any alterations during its active history. In addition, the waterlogged condition of the moat will preserve environmental information about the ecosystem and landscape in which it was set.
Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of breeding and storing fish in order to provide a consistent and sustainable supply of food. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds began in the medieval period and reached a peak of popularity in the 12th century. Fishponds were often grouped together, either clustered or in line, and joined by leats; each pond being stocked with a different age or species of fish, which could be transferred to other bodies of water such as moats. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors of society, and are considered important as a source of information concerning the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions.
The fishponds immediately north east of Inkberrow moat form an integral part of the site and represent an important component of the medieval landscape. In conjunction with the ridge and furrow cultivation they provide an important complimentary source of information about the economy and subsistence of the moat's inhabitants. They are expected to preserve evidence of their construction and use, while their waterlogged deposits will provide climatic and environmental evidence and information about their management regime.
Ridge and furrow cultivation remains are the remnants of a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen teams produced long, wide ridges and the resultant 'ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, as at Inkberrow, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the landscape.
There are at least three other moated sites recorded within a 1.5km radius of Inkberrow, providing information about the relationships between settlements of this nature in the locality.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a medieval moated settlement, with associated water control features, fishponds, and ridge and furrow cultivation 150m north east of Inkberrow Church. The monument is located at the bottom of a valley at the foot of a steep, but low, hill upon which the church stands, at the north east extremity of Inkberrow village.
The island is rectangular, measuring 34m by 27m, and is defined by a substantial moat which, although silted, still maintains a depth of water. The moat measures up to 2m deep and 6m wide, with a low external bank following the whole of its circuit. Traces of an inlet leat from the adjacent stream, which fed the moat via a fishpond, remain in the north eastern corner although the moat now relies largely on ground drainage for its water supply. The island is generally level and undisturbed and no traces of structures are evident. There is no evidence of formal access to the island.
Adjacent to the north eastern corner of the moat is an irregularly shaped fishpond of approximately 14m diameter. This pond is fed from the north by the inlet leat from the stream, which then drained to the south to feed the north eastern corner of the moat. To the north of this pond, just above the junction of the stream and the leat, is a further fishpond, slightly larger than the first. This pond is roughly rectangular and measures approximately 60m by 20m. A leat from the stream feeds into its eastern side.
A series of drainage ditches to the north and west of the moat serve to collect surface water from the valley side and define an enclosure at the north western corner of the moat. The remains of ridge and furrow cultivation, oriented east to west, are visible to the west and north of the moat, and running to the western edge of the stream. Fragmentary remains of ridge and furrow are visible to the east of the stream, however because of their poor survival they are not included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

The documentary evidence makes it certain that there was a fortification at Inkberrow. On the bases of this moat being next to the church it is probably that this represents the site of the documented castle, modified and recut at a later date and with possibly further post-medieval alteration.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Coulson, Charles, 2003, Castles in Medieval Society: Fortresses in England, France, and Ireland in the Central Middle Ages (Oxford University Press) p. 343
      Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 83
      Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 51
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 508
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 246
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 208
      Montgomerie, 1924, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm and Willis-Bund, J.W. (eds), VCH Worcestershire Vol. 4 p. 428
      Page, Wm and Willis-Bund, J.W. (eds), 1913, VCH Worcestershire Vol. 3 p. 421-3 online transcription
  • Periodical Articles
    • Ruth, E. and Jackson, C., 1976, 'The site of Inkberrow Castle and park' Worcestershire archaeology and local history newsletter Vol. 18 p. 3-6
      Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 280b.
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Charter Rolls Henry III 1226-1257 Vol. 1 (HMSO) p. 113 online copy
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1902, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry III (1227-31) Vol. 1 p. 492 online copy
      1906, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1232-47) Vol. 3 p. 125 online copy
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry III (1231-34) Vol. 2 p. 253, 543
      Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry III (1234-37) Vol. 3 p.144 (order for 10 oaks to make shingles for the roof)
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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