The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Bolebec Castle, Whitchurch

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Whitchurch.
In the historic county of Buckinghamshire.
Modern Authority of Buckinghamshire.
1974 county of Buckinghamshire.
Medieval County of Buckinghamshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP79972082
Latitude 51.87989° Longitude -0.83964°

Bolebec Castle, Whitchurch 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.


Bolebec Castle, a motte and bailey with a tradition of a masonry keep, is listed as a ringwork by Chateau Gaillard. An artificially scarped natural mound forms the motte with traces of building foundations on the summit. The bailey to the north on higher ground is triangular shaped; consists of a ditch and 15 ft high rampart both now partly destroyed. Built probably by Hugh de Bolebec during the reign of Stephen (1135-54). The ruins were demolished at the end of the Civil War. (PastScape)

A castle mound with bailey, situated in a commanding position at the end of a spur, bounded on the south east and west sides by natural slopes. The name Bolebec Castle is applied locally to the stone-built castle which formerly occupied the earthwork, and not the earthwork itself. Presumably the castle comprised a curtain wall around the summit with interior dwellings and outbuilldings, but nothing remains of this and the only stonework observed is an interrupted line of footings, 24.0m long, which just protrudes through the turf towards the south side. The south east part of the interior is flat, and is the only logical position for the main castle building. The castle mound, preserved under permanent pasture, is scarped out of the natural slope of the spur to enclose a sub-oval area about 80.0m north-south by about 60.0m east west. Only in the north arc is an inner counter-scarp bank 0.8m maximum height. At about 5.0m below the level of the enclosed area is a moat, now dry except for a marshy area around a spring in the south east arc. This spring was undoubtedly the water source for the moat. The north part of the moat is now occupied by Castle Lane, and the west arc is mutilated by later ground disturbance. There is no obvious entrance; the two ways up to the summit from the west and north east appear to be modern. The bailey lies to the north of the castle in the garden of Bolebec Place, and has been severely mutilated by landscaping. On the east side the rampart is reduced to an outward-facing scarp, and in the west, the massiveness of the bank suggests it has been enlarged and altered in recent years. (PastScape–ref. F1 NKB 24-JUL-1977)

The suggestion of a construction date during the reign of Stephen seems to be one of received wisdom rather than something based on historical or archaeological evidence. As with many such castles it is just as likely to have been constructed on the site of an already existing defended Saxon thegnal burh in the immediate post-Conquest periods although refurbishment and enlargement are possible at any time after this.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
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.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact