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 

Hanley Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Henley; Hanleg'; Herleg'; Henleg'

In the civil parish of Hanley Castle.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO83834138
Latitude 52.07096° Longitude -2.23750°

Hanley Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Hanley Castle, of which there are no traces ..." was a large square building with four towers, surrounded by a moat; the keep was placed in the northwest corner" (Nash 1799).
The castle stood within a double moat, but only the inner remains the northern side of which was filled in during the late 19th century. The only remains of the castle is a circular concave pit in the north east corner of the moat. This is walled in and has the remains of a grating at the bottom and is said to have been an outdoor oven. Foundation walls, 9ft thick, have been found nearby. The existing Hanley Castle is of early 17th century date (Lawson 1884).
Hanley Castle was a royal castle commanding the high road from Worcester to Upton. It was built by King John between 1206 and 1212. In 1216 it was granted to Gilbert de Clare and remained in that family until 1314. Between 1322 and his death in 1327 Edward II carried out extensive work which included, in 1324, the digging of a great ditch round the castle, 60ft wide and 7ft deep. A schedule of building materials, taken in 1327, suggests that the work was incomplete at that date (HKW).
Three sides of a sub-rectangular dry moat mark the site of Hanley Castle. The fourth side, the northern sector in front of and to the E of, the now derelict Hanley Castle House, has been rendered indefinable by landscaping. The ditch is now some 1.5m deep and varies between 28.0m and 38.0m wide. The central platform shows no trace of any building foundations (F1 FKB 05-JUN-70).
The moat at Hanley Castle itself may have been the fish pond, but there is a reference in 1172-3 to the cost of repair of a fish pond which implies a separate construction which no longer exists (Aston and Bond 1988). (PastScape)

The castle at Hanley, which stood to the south of the village in the south-east corner of the parish, about half a mile from the right bank of the Severn, was built by King John. The work was probably begun about 1210, for from that date until 1212 sums are entered on the Pipe Rolls as having been expended in work at the king's houses of Hanley. King John stayed here in July 1209 and November 1213. In 1211–12 assizes were held at the castle. It was excepted from the grant of the manor to Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1214, and its custody was granted in 1216 to Roger Clifford, jun. It was given by Henry III to Gilbert de Clare, and then followed the descent of the manor until it was surrendered by Hugh le Despencer to King Edward II, who appointed Malcolm Musard and William Payn wardens in 1321. A letter written by Edward I from Hanley is preserved, and from 1291 to 1327 there are accounts for work done at the houses of Blackmore and Hanley. During the rebellion against the Despencers Hanley Castle was attacked and damaged. The king appointed wardens till 1328. A schedule dated 1327 gives a list of arms and ammunition in the castle and includes 'nails and wood prepared for raising a chapel' there. The castle was granted with the manor in 1330 to Roger Earl of March, and apparently restored in 1331 to William la Zouche and his wife, though it is not mentioned in the Patent, for Eleanor died seised of it in 1337. Some extensions were apparently made about 1349, when houses are mentioned as having been lately built there. The castle was at that time assigned to Elizabeth widow of Hugh le Despencer as her dwelling-place. In 1416 Eleanor widow of Richard le Despencer had a third of it assigned to her in dower, viz., a great room at the end of the hall to the west with two towers of stone and a third of the pantry and buttery under the said room, two rooms called 'les Guestenchambres,' three towers in the south with a fourth in the corner of the castle towards the south, a third part of the bakehouse and kitchen also in the said corner, and a third of the palisade and moat adjacent to the said four towers towards the south. She was also to have free access to the chapel. Henry, afterwards Duke of Warwick, was born here in 1425 and died here twenty-one years later. Constables of the castle were appointed by the Crown during the minority of Edward son of George Duke of Clarence. In 1480–1 the gate-house, drawbridge, pool, mill and floodgate were repaired, the sum spent amounting to £4 17s. 10d. The chapel is again mentioned in the next year, when it and the kitchen were repaired. The castle was surrendered with the manor to the Crown in 1487, and the last entry of repairs occurs in the following year. Constables were appointed until 1512, but soon after this the castle must have fallen into decay. Leland describes it as much dilapidated. Hanley, he says, 'is an uplandisch Towne. The Castelle standith in a Parke at the Weste Parte of the Towne. Syr John Savage and his Fauther and grauntfather lay much aboute Hanley and Theokysbyri as Keepers of Hanley. The Erles of Gloster were owners of this castel and lay much there. Mr. Cometon clene defacid it yn his tyme beyng keeper of it after Savage.'. The castle is not mentioned in the grant of the manor to Lord Clinton or in subsequent deeds, but the ruins are said to have belonged to Roland Badger in the 16th century. Habington writes of the castle in the middle of the 17th century, 'This Castell where the Earls of Gloucester lived, and the Duke of Warwick dyed, is so vanished as there appearethe nothinge in that place but a littell rubbyshe and a seelly barne.' No traces of the building now remain. Nash states that it was a large square structure with four towers, surrounded by a moat, with the keep in the north-west corner. The masonry of the only remaining tower is said to have been removed in 1795 by Thomas Hornyold to repair the bridge at Upton upon Severn. The line of the moat is still visible. A modern house which stood on some portion of the site was destroyed by fire in January 1904. (Worcestershire and Worcester City HER)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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