Studley Old Castle

Studley Castle on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map | Open
Studley Castle on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map
Description of this historic site

The site of Studley Old Castle, a motte and bailey castle dating to the Medieval period. The motte is still visible as an earthwork. The site is located to the north of St. Mary's Church.

Notes about this historic site

1 In the Conqueror’s time the greatest part of Studley was possessed by William Fiz Corbuciones where he or some of his descendants had a castle, the ruins thereof is evident.
2 The site of the Castle is marked by a circular rampart and ditch N of Studley Church. Of its architectural history nothing is known, though some ruins of it were still standing in Dugdale’s time.
3 Whether it was William or one of his two sons who erected the castle it was of considerable importance. It would seem most likely that it was of a motte and bailey type with presumably later buildings in stone erected within the bailey, but it may have been a square stone keep; Dugdale’s ‘ruines’ plainly indicate substantial masonry. The present building stands on the E of an artificially made platform, approximately circular in shape with no definite ditch except on the side next to the road where it is about 0.7m deep with a steep bank up to the platform, which at its N end is about 0.33m high. This is known locally as ‘The Mound’; there is no sign of this being the site of the motte but it is where it might be expected. It is surmised that at some time in the 18th century the owner of the timber framed house rearranged his garden and levelled the motte and bailey enclosure bank, filling in the moat on all sides but that facing the road and removed or buried the stone foundations and thus formed the present platform.
4 The remains of a castle mound attaining a maximum height of 5m. Modern ‘improvements’ have destroyed half of the original mound and neither ditch nor bailey can now be traced.
5 The castle could have been built around 1135-40 at a time before the break-up of the Corbucion estate. Although Dugdale notes castle ruins the site now consists of a roughly circular moated platform with a deep ditch on the W and and the line of the ditch visible on the S. The house, which is 16th century and later, stands towards the rear of the circular platform. The moat remains in good condition, although dry. A trial trench through the rampart in 1967 produced mid 12th century to mid 13th century pottery and a second ditch, concentric with the moat.
6 Studley Old Castle, designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument from 17th July 1995. Documentary sources indicate that fragments of standing Medieval masonry still stood at the site during the mid-17th century.
7 Correspondence from 1995.
89 Part of the bailey may also survive to the north-east, as shown on lidar images.

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