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Hartland Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Hartland.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Devon.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SS258244
Latitude 50.99272° Longitude -4.48310°

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

There are no visible remains.


In 1201 Alan of Hartland was granted licence to crenellate his house (domus) of Hertiland' nominally because of the danger from the notorious pirate William de Marisco based on Lundy Island. There are castle field names in Hartland parish (although these may relate to a lost Iron Age fort) and this, combined with misunderstanding about licences to crenellate, has lead to the suggestion there was a castle in Hartland. This Alan of Hartland was probably a member of the Dinham family who, at this time, had a complex genealogy with two competing branches. The court scribe may have used the de Hartland suffix to clarify the complexities of several Alan Dinhams although, from 800 years later, it has obscured the situation. 19th century genealogies of the Dinham family are not reliable. It has been suggested that Blegberry, a C16/C17 house may be at or close to the licenced domus but this suggestion is weak. Extensive modern research by Stephen Hobbs details the manorial history and he suggests a location 'on the perimeter of the present settlement of Hartland'. Hartland was a high status landscape with deer parks, a monastic foundation and a (failed) borough and it must have had a high status manor house probably dressed up with martial symbols, such as the battlements. However, the lack of any remains, particularly the lack of a moated site, suggests the house was not one of any great strength. The Dinhams moved their caput to Kingskerwell in south Devon in the C13 so the manorial site was not developed and it may have been used as the base for the borough founded in 1290. (Stephen Hobbs)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1201 March 24 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


Given map reference for centre of Hartland town but it should be noted that Hartland was a dispersed settlement and the parish church was some 2km west at Stoke - see Stephen Hobbs for full discussion of the medieval manorial structure.
Gatehouse thanks Stephen Hobbs for the information about his research.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:04

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