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Alberbury Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Abberbury; Fitzwarine Tower

In the civil parish of Alberbury With Cardeston.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ358144
Latitude 52.72343° Longitude -2.95198°

Alberbury Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Alberbury Castle is a good example of this class of monument. The structural details that are evident from the standing remains provide valuable evidence about the changing nature of military architecture and the domestic requirements of the nobility in the Welsh Marches during the 13th and 14th centuries. The proximity of Alberbury Castle to Wattlesborough Castle allows comparisons and distinctions to be made about the roles tower keep castles played in this region. At Alberbury, structural features and associated deposits within the interior of the tower keep and around the exterior are expected to survive well, buried under fallen masonry. These deposits are likely to contain artefacts and organic remains which will provide significant information about the activities and lifestyles of those who inhabited the castle. In addition, documentary sources provide information about the castle's owners in the 13th and 14th centuries. During the post-medieval period the remains of the castle assumed a new importance as a feature within the recently created designed landscape of Loton Park. The castle remains a prominent feature within the landscape.
The monument includes the standing structural and buried remains of Alberbury Castle. It is situated very close to the present border between England and Wales, on a gentle rise above the flood plain of the River Severn, and is overlooked by higher ground to the south. The castle is located 70m south west of the Church of St Michael and All Angels, which dates from the 12th century. The standing cross in the churchyard is the subject of a separate scheduling. The castle also lies 1.78km to the north of Wattlesborough Castle, a tower keep castle, dating from the 12th or 13th century, which is also the subject of a separate scheduling. Alberbury Castle was probably built by Fulk Fitz Warin (III) in the early 13th century, when it appears to have been the centre of the manor of Alberbury. Descendants of Fulk Fitz Warin (III) are known to have retained the lordship of the manor until the mid-14th century. Fulk Glas (II), who was apparently resident at Alberbury in 1327 and 1332, is known to have been lord of the manor until 1347. In the late 14th century the descent of the manor becomes obscure, and it is also unclear how long the castle continued to be occupied. A map of 1579 clearly shows the castle as an unenclosed, rectangular roofed structure. Documentary sources indicate that in the early 17th century there was a large house nearby at Loton. This house appears to have been replaced by Loton Park Hall, located 350m to the north west, built in the late 17th century. It would seem likely that by this time the castle had little function other than possibly as a lodge adjacent to the main drive to the Hall. A drawing of the castle indicates that by the late 18th century the structure was roofless and in ruins. The tower keep is constructed of irregularly coursed Alberbury breccia, a locally derived stone. Dressed sandstone was used around the window openings and as corbels (upper floor supports). The building is rectangular in plan and measures approximately 13.5m by 17m. The walls, which are about 2.3m wide at ground level, stand to a maximum height of about 9m. The structural evidence suggests that the building was originally two storeys high. The hall, used for ceremonial and public occasions, and the private chambers were situated on the first floor. The ground floor was probably used mainly for storage. There is no evidence on either floor of internal masonry cross walls or sub-divisions. The configuration of the window openings, their irregular heights and sizes, suggest changes in the arrangement of rooms as the need for defence became secondary to comfort and convenience as a dwelling. These structural alterations probably relate to the more peaceful conditions in the region following the conquest of Wales by Edward I in the late 13th century. The castle is a Listed Building Grade 2star. Probably between the mid-17th and the mid-18th century a substantial stone wall was built to enclose the remains of the tower keep and the ground towards the church. This enclosure, previously viewed as part of the castle's defences, is now considered to have been constructed as a way of enhancing the visual impact of the castle as a feature within Loton Park Hall estate. The enclosure wall is a Listed Building Grade 2star (with the castle), and the estate wall adjoining the tower keep to the south is a Listed Building Grade II. (Scheduling Report)

Clearly a building in the tradition of the C12 Norman keep but actually of C13 date when the fashionable castle would have been an enclosure castle with a drum towered gatehouse, however there are a number of similar 'Norman revival' buildings in Shropshire such as Hopton and Clun.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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