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Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Quercus Castelli

In the civil parish of Coleshill.
In the historic county of Warwickshire.
Modern Authority of Warwickshire.
1974 county of Warwickshire.
Medieval County of Warwickshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP19048834
Latitude 52.49287° Longitude -1.72078°

Coleshill has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


There may have been castles at: Coleshill (Dugdale, War., ii, 1006). (King 1983)

Woods by particular names; amongst which, in describing them by boundaries there is this expression — Et ultra aquam (which is on the North side of the River Cole) boscum à quercu qui vocatur Quercus Castelli, usque ad Luttlehaie; From whence I observe that in antient time there had beena Castle thereabouts, though where it stood I cannot well guess, except in that feild on the North side of the town, called Grimeshill -feild; for there, on the right hand the road leading towards Lichfeild, have of late times been digged up certain foundations of buildings, accidentally discovered; amongst which a piece of Roman copper-coin was found, on the one side whereof is the head of Trajan the Emperor... So that 'tis not unlike that there hath been very antiently some notable Fort or Castle there, the place being so proper for such a thing, in regard of it's height, though tract of time hath thus overwhelmed its very ruins with the Common arable land. (Dugdale)

Coleshill (non-existant) According to Gough this place had a castle which belonged to the de Clinton family (temp. Henry II.), and passed from them by an heiress to the Mountforts. But Sir Simon Mountfort, in Henry VI I. 's reign, having been a zealous Yorkist, favoured the pretensions of Perkin Warbeck, believing him to be the son of Edward IV., as he pretended, and forwarding a sum of money; for this he was attainted by Henry, and was executed at Tyburn, when his large property was confiscated. There are no traces of the castle now remaining. The manor was at once given by Heinry VII. to Simon Digby, Deputy Constable of the Tower, in whose family, ennobled by the title of Earl Digby, Viscount Coleshill, it still remains. (Mackenzie)

The four-sided north east half of a now dry homestead moat, north of Coleshill Hall Farm, measures 150.0m across, overall, and extends south-westwards for 90.0m. The arms reduced and spread by the plough average 18.0m in width and 1.0m in depth. A causeway across the north west side is probably modern. The River Cole possibly formed the south west side of the moat or has eroded it away. Farm buildings occupy the south side of the site. The feature is under pasture and no traces of buildings are visible within the enclosed area (F2 ASP 02-FEB-76).
The half that survives is polygonal, with a complete north-eastern arm 15m long, and shorter north-western and easern arms also seemingly surviving intact. Traces of two further sides vaguely paralleling each other on the west and south-east suggest that originally, if symmetrical about a NW-SE axis, the shape may have been octagonal. The R Cole, on whose flood plain the moat lies, could have been utilized as one or more of the missing arms of such an arrangement. However, it is perhaps more likely that the moat existed as a separate entity, with water leaked in from and out to the river. No surface evidence for any of this now survives.
Along the NE arm in particular, the moat island is upto 1m higher than the external ground surface. The northern and western boundaries of the field in which the moat lies are also marked by scarps or lynchets averaging 1m high, rising up to the fields beyond. It is unclear whether this lowering of the land in between is natural topography emphasised by the later land-use history around the moat, or whether it represents a deliberate act of quarrying. However, if deliberate, some 8m beyond the NE arm are the very spread remains of an outer retaining bank, which would indicate that the lowering predates or is contemporary with the moat's construction. Central to this arm there are also the remains of what appear to be bridge abuttments, no doubt representing the original access onto the island. In line with this and running from the field boundary some 12m towards the moat, is a rectangular flat-topped mound 0.8m high which may be part of a causeway crossing the depressed area in front of the island. The existence today of "Hall Walk" approaching the site from the SE could indicate that there was originally access across the moat from this direction also. The causeway across the north-west arm is undoubtedly modern.
The farmer, Mr Lucas, said that his father was told as a lad that the old Hall on the site was destroyed by fire last century, and that the present farmhouse at SP 19078825 was originally the stable-block to the house. The standing Colehill Hall at SP 185893 (now in use as a hospital) was built in 1873. The Digby family who acquired the Manor in 1495 were subsequently ennobled, later also becoming Earls of Bristol. This together with evidence for the existence of a Loggia at Coleshill Park in the 17th century, plus the documented existence of a deer park (SP 18 NE 4), should imply that the old Hall and its grounds were the subject of architectural treatment of some pretension (F3 HMJ 13-SEP-1988).

Dugdale's site is now called Grimstock Hill and was the site of a Roman temple and bathhouse but not a fortress.
Coleshill was Seignorial borough created before 1290. There is little to suggest an early castle here, but the possibility can not be dismissed. The later manor house probably had the usual domestic defences of any high status house and is also likely to have had decorative martial elements such as crenellations, it was associated with a deer park.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s) 331620; 331588.
  • County Historic Environment Record (or Sites and Monuments Record) number(s) 289.
  • Books
    • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 486 (possible)
      Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1947, VCH Warwickshire Vol. 4 online transcription
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 348 online copy
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
    • Dugdale, Wm., 1656, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (Thomas Warren) p. 727 online copy
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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