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Wolverley Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Kinver Castle; Baron Hill

In the civil parish of Wolverley And Cookley.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO81328204
Latitude 52.43601° Longitude -2.27618°

Wolverley Castle Hill has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a Palace although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry footings remains.


Small ruinous timber framed building mainly C15 but with traces of earlier work. A fragment of a moat encircles a third of the hill and three fishponds. It has been suggested that the site is the royal hunting lodge of the Forest of Kinver, but this is now known to be elsewhere. The location of an earlier lodge, recorded 1184-5, is however unknown. (PastScape)

At Castle Hill, or Baron Hill, there is a small ruinous timber-framed building, used as a cowshed, mainly of 15th century date but bearing traces of earlier features. On the hillside itself is a segment of a moat encircling a third of the hill and the embankments of three communicating fishponds covering about 4 acres. The two lower ponds still contain water while the upper is used as an orchard (Duignan).
Duignan, a usually competent authority, believed these remains to be those of the royal hunting lodge of the Forest of Kinver recorded in documents of 1195-6, but Colvin shows that this lay on the site of Stourton Castle (SO 88 SE 6). There had been an earlier royal hunting lodge at Kinver, recorded in 1184-5, but its site is unknown.
The site was visited on 06-FEB-1997. The site is traditionally associated with the site of a Royal hunting lodge favoured by King John. Although the site displays evidence of domestic occupation for a considerable period and the existence of fragmentary building remains in sandstone and of historic fishponds tends to confirm its importance, we were not able to identify the specific location of the medieval remains. However, the site is still regarded as having a high archaeological potential (English Heritage Alternative Action Report). (PastScape)

Castle Hill with remains of old castle. Traced parish name and manor through 15th to 19th century (VCH).
Not a castle, a hunting lodge reputedly one of King John's favourites. Difficult to find anything of obvious medieval origin.
One or two ruined walls from former farm building. There is said to be a picture postcard in existence showing more remains (Personal Comment: A. Hunt).
Surveyed by Wolverley and Cookley Archaeological Society: nothing visible above ground (Palmer).
The site of a minor castle or fortified manor. Records are scant but there is some suggestion that this was one of the administrative centres for the Royal Forest (Grazebrook 1917). There were standing remains of stone buildings until at least the 1920s and a tower is shown of 1st-3rd edition OS maps. The site is occupied by a large brick built house which has been derelict for some time. The house appears to have a late 17th or early 18th century facade with extensive later work elsewhere. The interior however appears to be earlier and until the mid 1990s what appeared to be Jacobean panelling and overmantels remained in some rooms. The house is unsafe and has undergone no detailed investigation or analysis. To the west of the farm is a massive earthwork bank (the tower sat on this until the 1920s) which is presumably the castle rampart. To the south of the house, historic maps show a number of now lost outbuildings, which survive in part as low earthworks (Simonds; Noke). (Worcestershire and Worcester City HER)

Probably a bit small to have been royal hunting lodge but certainly could have been a foresters lodge. If the forest court was held here the castle name may have derived from that function.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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