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Sudeley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sudley; Sudleagh; Sudleie

In the civil parish of Sudeley.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP031276
Latitude 51.94712° Longitude -1.95644°

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Re-built in the reign of Henry VI on the site of a Norman castle dating from the reign of Stephen. It is very unlikely that any of the earlier castle now remains (Dent-Brocklehurst 1950), although in 1854 Sir Gilbert Scott thought there were indications of it below an apartment known as Katherine Parr's lodging (Dent 1877). The 15th century castle probably consisted of two courtyards surrounded by a moat, all traces of which were obliterated in the 19th century. It was extensively altered and added to during the 16th century, but suffered severely in the Civil War, and was later neglected and used for building material until the 19th century, since when it has been gradually restored (Dent-Brocklehurst 1950).
Sudeley Castle mid 15th c, though manor house on this site since Saxon times. Castle rebuilt later 15th c, altered c 1572 and slighted 1649. Major restoration and additions 1837-40 and again John D Wyatt 1863-89. Lesser improvements 1901-07 and again 1930s by W H Godfrey. Extensive modernisation to interior and parts of exterior carried out by the present family. (English Heritage Register of parks and gardens)
Sir Ralph Boteler (1396-1473), Lord Sudeley, was responsible for building Sudeley Castle. In 1441 he returned from France and in 1443 he succeeded Cromwell as Treasurer. He is likely to have started building his castle on his return. The castle was crenellated in 1458 without a license. Boteler was forced to sell to the crown, Edward IV in 1469. The ornate suite on the east side of the building is usually attributed to Richard, Earle of Gloucestershire during his ownership (1469-78) (AJ 1985; Platt 1984). (PastScape)

Former castle, now country house. Mid C15 for Ralph Boteler; late C15 for Richard III; much altered c1572 for Lord Chandos, mid C19 for J. Dent by Sir G.G. Scott, later C19 for Mrs. E. Dent by J.D. Wyatt, early C20 by M. Anderson, 1930's by W.H. Godfrey for Major Dent-Brocklehurst. Coursed, squared stone and ashlar, stone slate roofs, lead flats, probably Welsh slate roofs. ... Last home of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's widow; castle slighted 1649, purchased by Dents in 1837 and restored by them. (Listed Building Report)

In § 483 it tells of Earl Robert's capture of Harptree, Sudeley and South Cerney (Potter 1955 p. xli)
Ubicumque tamen commode fieri posse uidebat, et militis et ducis probe officium exequebatur: denique munitiones, que potissimum partibus susceptis nocebant, strenue debellauit, scilicet Harpetreu, quam rex Stephanus a quibusdam militibus comitis, antequam in Angliam uenisset, ceperat; et alias multas, Sudleie, Cernei, quam rex, ut dixi, militibus suis impleuerat; et castellum quod idem rex contra Valengeford offirmauerat, solo complanauit. Finally he reduced with vigour the fortifications that did most harm to the cause he had adopted, for example Harptree, which the king had taken from some of the earl's knights before he came to England, and many others. Sudeley Cerney which the king as I said had filled with his knights and castles the king had made against Wallingford. (Historia Novella)

A royal pardon and licence to crenellate was granted in 1458 May 5 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


Malmesbury Historia Novella is a slight reference but it does seem reasonable to suppose that there was some earthwork and timber based fortification at Sudeley in 1140. The assumption this was on the same site as the later licenced house of Ralph Boteler is also reasonable but is only supported by analogue with other sites. The resent building is C15 quadrangular castle rebuilt in the late C15 and altered circa 1572. It fell into a period of disuse and ruin after 1649. It was restored as a country house in 1837-40 and 1868-89. Further improvements took place in 1901-07 and in the 1930s. Sir Ralph Boteler received a pardon for crenellating without licence in 1458.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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