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Bronsil Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bronsill; Bransill; Bransil; Estenore

In the civil parish of Eastnor.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Herefordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO74963718
Latitude 52.03246° Longitude -2.36640°

Bronsil Castle has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.

Description

Ruins of castle with bridge and moat. Substantially mid-C15, incorporating earlier structure with bridge, possibly late C19. For Richard Beauchamp. Sandstone ashlar. Square plan with polygonal gatehouse tower to west side surrounded by moat crossed by bridge from west. North gatehouse tower which is the only large upstanding part to remain, was probably of two storeys and basement; two faces remain to west and south-west up to a height of about 30 feet in two stages, with part of third stage, divided by two moulded strings; right-hand face has circular drain hole into moat near its base and damaged opening above; two almost intact loops in the second stage, one low on the right-hand face, the other high up in the left-hand face. At the north-east corner of the enclosure is part of a stone newel in masonry fragment about ten feet high; at the south-east corner is another fragment about five feet high. The former enclosure is reached from the west by a single segmental span bridge heavily overgrown (at the time of survey, June 1985). Moat completely surrounds the castle, the base of the curtain walls of which are said to be visible if the water level is low. When complete the castle consisted of the square enclosure with curtain walls, octagonal angle towers, gatehouse with flanking towers to the west, towers in the middle of the other sides, moat, outer bank and perhaps an outer ditch. (Listed Building Report)

Little is known about the early history of the site. Sir John Beauchamp is recorded as owning a residence here in the early 15th century and his son, Richard Beauchamp, was granted a licence to empark and crenellate in 1449, which was renewed in 1460. The majority of the surviving remains date from the mid 15th century, though the inner moat and fishponds may be earlier and the post-1460 mansion is thought to incorporate some earlier buildings. The remains represent an impressive residence, though of little defensive capability, with the moated island encircled by a curtain wall rising sheer from the water. The four corners were marked by octagonal towers and there were further towers in the centre of the north, south and east walls. The centre of the western wall was occupied by a gatehouse with octagonal flanking towers. The castle may have been burned during the Civil War and it was certainly ruinous by the early 18th century. The site was landscaped in the mid 19th century to create a romantic ruin, and a stone bridge was built over the western arm of the moat. The surviving earthworks include traces of an external bank and part of an outer moat. East and south east of the inner moat lie the remains of a series of five linked ponds, probably originally fishponds, and possibly modified to form an ornamental feature in the mid 15th century. The earthen bank between the two moats may have acted as a walkway from which the mansion and its landscaped surroundings could be viewed. Partial clearing of the moat circa 1840 produced numerous finds including weapons, buckles and spoons. Little survives above ground on the moated island. The standing remains of the house comprise a number of masonry fragments, including part of the north tower of the gatehouse and a section of newel stair in the north eastern corner of the site. (PastScape)

It has been incorrectly suggested that a Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1449 (Click on the date for details of this supposed licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1460 Sept 11.

Comments

The only reference to a licence to crenellate Bronsil in 1449 occurs in Robinson book of 1869, the citation is unclear and, at best, is typographical inaccurate. No such licence occurs in printed calendars usually accepted as a reliable source. Richard was a child in 1449 making it unlikely he was granted such a licence. The house certainly was licenced in 1460 and it is reasonable, by analogue, to suppose there was major building work at this time, although such licences were often obtained at the end of building and were, certainly, not required to start such building so the building may be pre-1460, although only by a few years.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 29/09/2016 06:02:43

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