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Britwell Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Britwell Salome.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU674935
Latitude 51.63637° Longitude -1.02763°

Britwell Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are no visible remains.


The alleged site of a castle and moat - probably a natural feature. (PastScape)

? Medieval Moat and Castle. A straggling piece of water on the north of the site of the church and castle, now both destroyed, may have enclosed them in its complete form. In 1153 the defenders of Britwell Castle opposed Henry Plantagenet - when Henry became king, he presumably destroyed the castle, but castle hill remains. (Oxfordshire HER)

Britwell's strategic position on the Watlington road led to its playing a prominent part in the strife of Stephen's reign and in the Civil Wars of the 17th century. When Henry Plantagenet (afterwards King Henry II) and his supporters were seeking to relieve Wallingford in 1153, the defenders of the castle at Britwell long opposed them. (Howlett) This castle was presumably destroyed when Henry became king, but Castle Hill remains a landmark beside the main road. (VCH Vol. 8)

Nam anno paeterito familia ducis Herice, quae Walingefort incolebat, non solum castrum Bretewelle, quod diu eos impugnaverat, verum etiam castellum, quod rex etiam Stephanus contra jus et fas erexerat apud abbatiam Radingis, pessumdederat. (Howlett)

The given site is certainly a likely manorial centre and the existence of a small motte here cannot be excluded and the presence of a, now lost, 'castle hill', attested to in the VCH, is good supportive evidence. It is not clear as to why the evidence in the VCH, which includes a solid contemporary reference, appears to be given such low credence by the usual authorities. However, the location of 'Bretewelle' is contested and may be Brightwell Cum Sotwell.
See also Wallingford siege castles.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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