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Broughton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Broghton

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SP41803817
Latitude 52.04036° Longitude -1.39198°

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

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Broughton Castle is a fine example of a late medieval fortified house, exhibiting a range of both typical and more unusual alterations and additions relating to changing fashions and technology. The castle is well-documented and is known to have played an important role in a number of historical events including the Parliamentarian intrigues prior to the English Civil War. Despite having been besieged at this time it suffered little damage and the structure and grounds have subsequently escaped many of the modernisations to which similar sites have been subjected. For these reasons buried archaeological remains of the earlier house as well as its ancillary buildings and gardens can be expected to survive well. This evidence will provide insights into the organisation and daily life of the inhabitants of this site and similar ones which have not survived. In addition, recent temporary lowering of the water level in the moat has demonstrated the survival of substantial archaeological remains relating to the earlier appearance of the monument.
The monument includes the site of a moated and fortified manor house, largely 14th century with 16th century additions. The site, known as Broughton Castle, lies in a small valley at the intersection of a west to east flowing stream and the old Banbury road, approximately 4km south of Banbury. Broughton Castle is located within a small park which is included in the Register of Parks and Gardens. The park also contains a large rabbit warren complex which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The house was first built in the early 14th century and and it is believed to have been built for Sir John of Broughton who died in 1315. The original fortified house included a large hall of traditional plan with the private apartments at one end and the kitchens and ancillary rooms at the other. The house is situated on a large island measuring some 120m from east to west and approximately 134m from north to south. This is enclosed by a broad moat measuring from approximately 19m wide to over 35m wide at its greatest, present extent. Stonework in the moat, visible when the water level is lowered, indicates that it was originally more regular in width with angled corners (rather than the slightly rounded appearance seen today) forming an octagonal plan. The moat was originally crossed at two places, one being the site of the present bridge and gatehouse, located at roughly the centre of the northern arm, facing the Church of St Mary. The original gatehouse in this position is believed to have been rebuilt in the late 14th century, probably by Bishop William of Wykeham who bought the manor in 1377. The later gatehouse still stands, although partially rebuilt. It had no portcullis but was provided with a drawbridge which was later removed when a permanent bridge was built. The second crossing point was in the south eastern corner of the moat spanning the eastern arm. This bridge is no longer standing although stone footings are clearly visible in the side of the moat just below the water line. Stonework visible in the corner of the island at this point probably indicates the foundations of some form of gatehouse or postern gate associated with this entrance. In the mid-16th century Richard Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele, extended the original house to provide a more contemporary and comfortable Elizabethan mansion. However, much of the earlier house was incorporated into the remodelling. The range of original buildings, including the kitchen at the western end, were partially demolished and their foundations lie below the present structure. Surrounding the house, to the north and west, were large gardens enclosed within the boundary created by the moat. These included kitchen and herb gardens, areas of lawn and courtyards with stables. The original open court and ancillary buildings lie partially beneath the 16th century kitchen wing at the eastern end of the house. Beyond the moat substantial foundations along the outer bank are believed to represent the remains of external crenellated walls. These may only have been built on the northern side and along part of the east and west moat arms in order to enhance the visual appearance and grandeur of the approach from the north. Broughton Castle was the centre of many Parliamentarian meetings prior to and during the English Civil War, and it later suffered a brief siege although the garrison surrendered before any major damage occurred. The house, the gatehouse and the stable block, which are all Listed Grade I. (Scheduling Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1406 March 19 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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