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 

Heighley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Audley; Healey; Heeley; Heley; Healy; Heyley; Helih; Helyh

In the civil parish of Madeley.
In the historic county of Staffordshire.
Modern Authority of Staffordshire.
1974 county of Staffordshire.
Medieval County of Staffordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ77234674
Latitude 53.01745° Longitude -2.34081°

Heighley Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also 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*.


Heighley Castle occupies a prominent position on the edge of a steep sandstone escarpment overlooking the Checkley Brook. The monument includes both the standing and buried remains of the castle, which are also Listed Grade II, and the massive dry ditch cut out of the rock. The slope of the escarpment forms the defences and boundary to the castle on its eastern and southern edges. The western and northern defences of the enclosure, along the two accessible sides of the castle have been strengthened by a large rock-cut ditch, isolating the castle promontory from the escarpment. The ditch measures approximately 15m wide and 9m deep, and quarry marks are visible on the faces of the ditch which were created during its construction. Stone from the cutting of the ditch was used for the internal features of the castle. The castle has an irregularly shaped enclosure which measures approximately 100m north-south and up to 50m west-east. The enclosure was originally surrounded by a curtain wall, of which the lower courses of masonry are visible at the south-eastern edge. At the northern edge are further remains of the curtain wall, where a section survives to a height of 2.5m. Much of the curtain survives beneath the ground surface. On the western edge of the enclosure fragments of masonry and slight traces of stone foundations are visible. These remains represent a pair of towers which projected slightly beyond the curtain wall. The wall towers were clearly visible until the mid- 20th century and are known to measure approximately 6.5m square. The foundations of the towers will survive as buried features. Access into the enclosure was originally by means of an earthen causeway across the north- western section of the ditch. There is no surface evidence of the gatehouse which would have defended the gateway passage although it will survive as a buried feature at the north-western corner of the enclosure. The ground surface within the enclosure slopes markedly down towards its southern end where a suite of domestic apartments are known to have been located. Recent disturbance has exposed a 4m length of walling in the south- eastern part of the enclosure. The section of walling stands up to four courses high and two springers from an arcade are visible. The exposed wall stands on a east-west alignment and is considered to be the south wall of a vaulted undercroft. Heighley Castle was constructed in the first quarter of the 13th century by Henry de Audley, who is also credited with the foundation of Hulton Abbey in Stoke-on-Trent. In 1223 de Audley was given 12 hinds from the royal forest of Cannock to stock the park at Heighley. Early 14th century estimates of the value of the castle suggest it was then neglected. It appears, however, to have been still sufficiently in repair to be used as a prison in 1534, and to warrant demolition by the Parliamentarians in 1644. (Scheduling Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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.
*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 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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