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Somerset Historic Environment Record

11402

Site Name: Stowey Castle, Nether Stowey
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Stowey Castle, the site of St Michael's chapel and a medieval kiln site [No:33716]
Civil Parish: Nether Stowey
Comprises:
PRN 11126Medieval pottery kilns, SW of Nether Stowey Castle, Over Stowey
PRN 12708Watching brief (1996), Castle Hill, Nether Stowey
PRN 17900Earthwork Survey (2004), Nether Stowey Castle, Nether Stowey
PRN 17901Medieval Park and Warren, Nether Stowey
PRN 29806Watching brief (2010), Nether Stowey Castle
Grid Ref: ST 1870 3958 (ST 13 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 11402 - Photo by Somerset County Council (11 July 1995)
  HER 11402 - Photo by Somerset County Council (11 July 1995)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown but it should be visible from a public right of way. Please assume that the site is private property. [Information last updated on 17 December 2002]

Details:

Mount and base-court formed by scarping. The mount, which is some 25ft above the ditch which surrounds its base, is mainly natural rock, on top of which are the foundations of a rectangular keep. An oval base-court is to the E and a second smaller bailey to the N. {1}

Is an undistinguished castle mount of no historical importance. Built cC12 and all the masonry had probably disappeared by the C16. {3}

This is a large motte with two baileys. The earthworks are well preserved but only the masonry now visible are the foundations on the top of the motte, which have been exposed by excavation. No report of these works can be traced. {4}

Ditch around motte 9m wide and slightly over 2m deep, motte 6m high and flat topped with two large and two small mounds as the edge which may be sites of towers. Central area occupied by approximately square foundations 10m by 10m with internal divisions. Stone work showing through the turf at a few points. All in good condition, good turf cover and no erosion or poaching. Nettles growing in the pits between the foundations. Bailey also has good turf cover. {5}

May have been occupied before the Norman Conquest as a defended site, was possibly developed by William fitz Odo. It may have been the castle captured by Henry de Tracy in 1139 by throwing torches through the tower loopholes (although Torrington in Devon has also been suggested). {6}

Probably built in the early C12. It was the caput of an honour of 10 fees which descended with the manor and was recorded until 1624. The castle had been abandoned by 1485 when the site was let for pasture. The field was known as "Castle Hill" or "Old Castle" in 1620 when it was sold to Charles Steynings. {7}

Watching brief carried out during levelling of entrance and erection of gateposts and fences. Nothing of consequence observed. Monument in good condition with the grass being cut for hay. Brambles cut down and burnt on site. Sheep graze the site and there is no real evidence of poaching. {8}

Footpath confined by fence to the west side of the monument. In good condition with no obvious sign of erosion. {9}

Scheduling revised with new national number on 24/11/2000 (was Somerset 56). {15}

Three year management agreement by English Heritage from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2006. {16}

Photo showing damage {17}

Pottery from Castle Hill, Nether Stowey, is in the Blake Museum, Bridgwater. It may be from the nearby medieval pottery kilns (PRN 11126). {18}

Management agreement 9/7/2011 to 8/7/2013. {19}

References:

1 Mention - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 515-516.
2 Sketch plan - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 516.
3 Mention - Pounds, NJG. The old castles of Somerset. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (Bath branch).  (1934-8), 130-32
4 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 13 NE 4 (1965) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 386.
5 Detailed records - Entry found in HER database with no supporting documentation - entry just said 'in SMR file' where nothing was found. This is believed to have been a note that was typed up and then discarded. Location: Unknown or non-existant.
6 Mention - Aston, M and Leech, R. Historic Towns in Somerset.  (1977), 110-111.
7 Mention - Dunning, RW (ed). Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 5 (1985), 194-5.
8 Detailed records - Dennison, E [Ed]. Somerset County Council (23/8/1985) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 20649.
9 Verbal communication - Croft, R. Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (04/09/1986). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
10 Mention - Burrow, EJ. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset.  (1924), 122.
11 Aerial photographs - Western Archaeological Trust ST1839.1.1. (undated) Location: HER collections. HER digital source: 9876.
12 Aerial photographs - DAP SJ6-10. (1990) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
13 Aerial photographs - DAP YF26, 27. (1995) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
14 Aerial photographs - CUCAP CG 80. (16/6/1949) Location: HER files.
15 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (9/1/2001) Location: HER files
16 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (7/4/2003) Location: HER files
17 Photographs - Croft, RA. (4/11/1988) Location: HER files.
18 Museum accession number - BRWAB 86/196. Stored at Blake Museum, Bridgwater (box 210).
19 Correspondence - English Heritage to Owner. (12/7/2011) Location: HER files.

Record created in September 1986

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