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Betchworth Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bechesworth; Bettisworth; Bletchworth

In the civil parish of Brockham.
In the historic county of Surrey.
Modern Authority of Surrey.
1974 county of Surrey.
Medieval County of Surrey.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ19035005
Latitude 51.23723° Longitude -0.29634°

Betchworth Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

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*.


The fortified medieval house known as Betchworth Castle survives comparatively well, despite subsequent remodelling, and retains substantial amounts of standing medieval and later masonry. The monument also illustrates the adaptation of an important medieval residence to the changing needs and fashions of later centuries. The monument includes a fortified medieval house with later alterations and additions, and part of its landscaped garden, situated on a sandstone spur which overlooks the western bank of the River Mole, around 1.5km to the north east of Dorking. The NNE-SSW aligned, roughly rectangular house, known as Betchworth Castle, is Listed Grade II. Its north eastern end built of sandstone and brick survives in a ruinous state to approximately 9m in height, whilst the south western end survives only largely below ground. Projecting from either end of the eastern side of the ruined building is an attached, now dilapidated, NNE-SSW aligned, stone-revetted garden terrace wall dating to the 18th century. Historical records indicate that Betchworth Castle dates to at least 1377, when Sir John Fitzalan, Marshal of England, was granted licence to crenellate his residence there. It is likely that the fortified house was constructed on the site of an earlier castle, traces of which may survive beneath the later buildings. The monument subsequently underwent several phases of alteration and redevelopment, including a major remodelling of the house and surrounding grounds during the mid-15th century. A 17th century pen-and-ink drawing by John Aubrey shows that the house then survived as a large, NNE-SSW aligned, rectangular, two and three storeyed sandstone building with embattled parapets and tall chimney stacks. At least two projecting corner towers were also depicted. The house and its park were bought in 1791 by William Fenwick, who arranged for the demolition of the south western end of the building, turning the remaining north eastern end into a smaller country residence. In 1798 the architect Sir John Soane was commissioned by the then owner, Henry Peters, to design alterations and new additions to the house and park, the original drawings for which survive. The house was bought by Henry Hope in 1834, who, because it formed only a peripheral part of his larger estate, allowed much of the reusable masonry to be removed from the house, the remainder of which gradually fell into picturesque ruin. (Scheduling Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1379 July 26 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1448 Dec 10.

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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