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Bishops Castle town defences

In the civil parish of Bishops Castle.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO323884
Latitude 52.48955° Longitude -2.99850°

Bishops Castle town defences has been described as a probable Urban Defence.

There are no visible remains.


Town defences identified by D Hill, and excavated in two locations (SA5141 and SA5142) CMHTS Comment:- Defences were replaced by back lanes before post medieval period; identified course from OS map 1883. Fieldwork (1994) showed most obvious indications of defences at S end of defended area. The SE angle (in Station Street) is wall 1.0m high revetting raised ground to NW; similarly SW angle in Union Street is wall 2m high. Houses along NW to SE alignment of Union Street/Station Street are terraced into higher ground, with revetting walls up to 2.0m high. There is a low revetting wall in places along W side of Station Street, and a slightly raised area in garden of Hill View in NW angle of defences. The west side of defences along Union Street is not clearly marked although there is a steep bank 2m high on west side of Union Street. The defences are not readily apparent as earthworks but seem to leave slight traces. (Shropshire SMR record)

Bishop's Castle was regarded by Beresford (1967, 151) as one of a relatively small number of towns in England with a clear grid pattern (see also Rowley 1972, 175). However Butler (1976, 32-3) has pointed out that the grid layout is not very convincing, and it is now clear that some elements of the supposed street grid are the defences of the borough fossilised as streets. The available evidence indicates that the planned town was laid out on the axial alignment of a single street between the castle and the main east-west route (Hindle nd). (Dalwood and Bryant 2005)

The excavation were inconclusive and have not been published and Gatehouse wonders if the revetting is purely about terracing the hillside for level building platforms probably with the usual boundary ditch which acted as a boundary marker and drain rather than a defence. There are no historical sources to support town defences here. However it does appear that Dalwood and Bryant did not doubt the existence of defenses here, although no other author of town defences has considered the town as defended. The given map reference is for the parish church, at the bottom of the hill and the opposite end of the town from the castle although it is not clear that this is included in the putative circuit of town defences.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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