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Wareham Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Wareham Town.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: SY92178718
Latitude 50.68422° Longitude -2.11218°

Wareham Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The remains of Wareham Castle comprise a motte, 250ft total diameter and 120ft across the top; the appearance and dimensions are probably due to relatively recent work and especially to the building of the modern 'Castle Close' house. The surrounding ditch, now mostly filled in, is best preserved to the south south west where it is now about 70ft across and 22ft deep below the top of the mound. Beyond the ditch on the north and north east sides the curve of the west part of West Street and of Trinity Lane probably indicates the line of the bailey. Massive stone foundations have been discovered at points along the probable line of the bailey and excavation by Clark in 1952-3 have shown that the base of a stone keep, probably of early C12 type, survives inside the mound; much C12 pottery, and small finds were also discovered. The early history of the castle is difficult to determine since the early documentary references are confused by the description of Corfe Castle as Wareham, but there may have been a castle here soon after the Conquest. The castle figures prominently in 1138-42 but the date of its destruction is unknown (RCHME).
Castle Close, is the site of the former 12th century castle which is referred to as "cast'de Warham" in 1369 and which was no doubt the home of Geoffrey de Castello mentioned 1280 and William de Castro in 1319. "Castellum Warham" mentioned in Domesday and various 12th century references to the 'castle of Wareham' belong under Corfe Castle. The 9th century references to 'castellum' at Wareham must refer to the Anglo-Saxon burh (Mills 1977).
An examination of 2 large holes ca. 5.0m in diameter, excavated because the ground was too soft for traditional foundations, confirmed the position and depth of the inner moat. It is on the South side of Pound Lane and the depth is about 7.0m. Sited at SY92208724 (Jarvis 1985).
Between 1154-99 the castle was held by the Earls of Gloucester, was confiscated by the Crown in 1199, and returned to Gloucester in 1216 (Brown 1959; HKW). (PastScape)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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