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Homme Castle, Clifton upon Teme

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Ham Castle; Home; Castellum de Hamma; Homm; Hommecastel

In the civil parish of Clifton upon Teme.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO73476197
Latitude 52.25526° Longitude -2.39001°

Homme Castle, Clifton upon Teme has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Ham Castle, a motte and bailey, is mentioned in 1207. The motte is a flat-topped oval hillock, rising 17ft above a scarped platform, which is more or less level and an acre in extent. The site is on the bank of a small stream about a quarter of a mile from the River Teme. A hoard of gold and silver in a chest was found in the middle of the 17th century in a vault in the middle of "an ancient fort made in the fashion of a half moon" (VCH).
An oval motte, 56.0m by 40.0m, orientated NE-SW and standing 4.2m above the surrounding ground. The bailey was probably to the NW but its location and extent are indefinite. The site is under plough (F1 MHB 26-OCT-70).
Homme castle. First documented in 1207 and last documented in 1308. The mound is now 12 feet high from the base of the surrounding ditch (Remfry). (PastScape)

Ham Castle Farm, in the north-east of the parish, near the Teme, is on the site of the ancient Ham Castle (also known as Homme Castle or Home Castle), which, from its commanding position, must at one time have been a stronghold of importance. Historically, little is known of this castle, which is mentioned for the first time in 1207. It evidently belonged to the owners of the manor of Ham, but seems to have been forfeited for some reason by one of them and given with many of their other estates by King John to Thomas de Galweya. Thomas was ordered in 1207 to deliver the castle (castellum) to William de Cauntelow to keep during the King's pleasure. No other direct reference to it has been found. It evidently followed the descent of the manor, but in 1275 and a hundred years later the dwelling at Ham is returned as a capital messuage. A stronghold of some kind seems, however, to have survived. The house was partly burnt in 1605, and greatly injured during the Civil War. Tradition says it was besieged and much damaged by the Parliamentary army, whose cannon balls were long preserved here. A cannon ball which was dug up on the bank opposite Ham Castle is now in the possession of the vicar. The diary of Mistress Joyce Jeffreys, who took refuge there from the Parliamentary forces, contains various entries of fees paid for burying and digging up trunks and other property, according to the movements of the enemy. This upon one occasion seems to have led to the discovery by William Jeffreys, then owner of Ham Castle, of a chest containing 'gold and silver and other kind of mettalls,' buried in some longforgotten earlier alarm. The vault in which this chest was found was in the middle of 'an ancient fort made in the fashion of a half moon.' From this diary it appears that General Gilbert Gerrard, Governor of Worcester, came to Ham Castle on 12 July 1645 and left the next day. Habington describes Ham Castle as 'now ruinated.' The 17th-century house which replaced the castle was burnt to the ground in 1887. The dates 1677 and 1680 with the Jeffreys arms on the hopper heads of the rain-water pipes in the large half-timbered mansion of Ham Castle, then destroyed, showed that rebuilding was done in those years by Henry Jeffreys. Though much defaced and altered before its final disappearance, the old house retained traces of ancient stateliness in its massive staircase, the oak bookshelves of the old library in the roof, and its beautiful garden terraces. On 1 March 1680 Henry Jeffreys paid 15s. hearth tax for fifteen hearths in his house at Ham Castle. The ruins at Ham Castle were reserved in a lease of 1759, and the castle is mentioned in conveyances of the manor in 1805 and 1810 (VCH 1924: Aston M. 1970. Mick Aston's notes on Ham Castle)
Parts of a double moat fed from a spring and the river, which at one time appears to have extended round the castle, can still be traced (Personal Comment: Boldrini N. 2001).
Large mound, 3 metres high, surrounded by a raised, 1 metre high, platform, on the south. Bailey ploughed, mound untouched. Earlier site of Ham Castle, dating to the 13th century. The monument is in a field with a considerable slope from north to south. The motte is very large and could well have a rock outcrop as its original core. It appears high on the south, where the bailey is the lowest. The motte is oval, the north west to south east being the narrowest points, though depressions in the sides at these points could exaggerate the affect. It is flat on top, with no apparent footings. Some stones are showing in places (Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1986).
The monument is in a field with a considerable slope from N to S. The motte is very large and could well have a rock outcrop as its original core. It appears highest on the S where the bailey is the lowest. The motte is oval, the NW to SE being the narrowest points, though depressions in the sides at these points could exaggerate the affect. It is flat on top, with no apparent footings, and covered by grass and weed. The weed has been burnt off on NE & S. Some stones are showing in places. There is little slippage. A platform appears to run right round the motte though it is wider on the S. The bailey is formed almost by a continuation of the motte slope on SW, which is steep. The bailey N to W is flatter, but E to N ground rises steeply. Bailey on N is at its highest and motte this side is only about 2m above the bailey. On E there is shelving at the base of the motte, and the bottom "step" has a cut of about one foot depth from the unploughed motte to the ploughed bailey. The margin left by the plough is 2-3ft round parts of the motte but on SW and S several cuts from the plough have gone into the grass and it is possible that, as there is no clear line, the ploughing could be advancing up-the slope. There is a rabbit burrow at the base of the motte on NW. The bailey is ploughed to a depth of 6 to 9 inches in a rotation with pasture for cattle/sheep (Dept of Environment. 1974. Schedule Update for Motte and Bailey, Ham Castle). (Worcestershire and Worcester City HER)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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