Remains of Codnor Castle, viewed from the north-west.
Codnor Castle is a ruined 13th-century castle in Derbyshire, England. The land around Codnor came under the jurisdiction of William Peverel after the Norman conquest. Although registered as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II Listed Building the site is officially, as at 2008, a Building at Risk.
The castle is a stone keep and bailey fortress and was established by William Peverel. The present fragmentary remains represent a three-storey keep and a strong curtain wall and ditch, flanked by round towers. The outer bailey is on a lower level and was constructed at a later period. The castle overlooks the Erewash valley and the counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. It originally had a deep moat and on its eastern side there was once a considerable abundance of trees, which have now been cut down. On the west side there was a courtyard that was strongly fortified by huge round towers, which had battlements. In other parts of the ruins there is evidence that the outer walls had loopholes included to allow bowmen to use them if necessary.
Henry de Grey
By 1211 it was owned by Henry de Grey, a descendant of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye. Henry's descendants include the long line of Lords Grey of Codnor, the Lords Grey of Ruthyn, Wilton and Rotherfield, Lady Jane Grey and the Earls of Stamford, and the extinct families of the Dukes of Suffolk and Kent. His son Richard settled in Codnor and was a loyal Baron to Henry III. Along with his brother John they served the King in the Holy Land. John Grey distinguished himself in the Scottish wars and found himself in great favour with Edward III. Together with William D'Eincourt, the Lord Grey commanded all the knights of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in case of an invasion. Henry the last of the family, died during the reign of Henry VII, without a legitimate heir. He left part of his lands to his illegitimate sons, Henry and Richard, and part to his widow, Katherine Stourton.
The remainder went to his aunt Elizabeth Grey, who in 1429 married Sir John Zouche, the youngest son of the fourth Baron Zouche of Harringworth. Sir John Zouche of Codnor was three times High Sheriff of Derbyshire. The castle remained in the hands of the Zouche family for two hundred years until they sold up and emigrated to Virginia in 1634.
The castle today
Today the remnants of Codnor Castle are a fragile ruin, its few remaining high walls supported by scaffolding. Signs at the perimeter fence indicate that the site is now owned by UK Coal Mining Ltd and that public access is prohibited. However, good views of the castle's remains are possible from nearby public footpaths.
In June 2007, Channel 4's Time Team programme carried out an archaeological dig around the castle, with some interesting results. A perfectly preserved medieval gold coin was found in the moat, which is now displayed at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
- Codnor - the Domesday Book Online accessed 6 January 2008
- Historic England. "Codnor Castle (1007047)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "Remains of Codnor Castle (Grade II) (1109025)". National Heritage List for England.
- CastleUK.net accessed 6 January 2008
- William D'Eincourt was the son of Walter D'Eincourt, who held "sixty-seven lordships", of which Blankney was his "principal seat." - sourced from this book extract
- Time Team at Channel Four: Codnor Castle, first broadcast 6 January 2008, accessed 4 July 2008
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Codnor Castle.|
- Codnor Castle - official website
- Bibliography of sources relating to Codnor Castle
- Heanor & District Local History Society covers the Codnor area, and their site contains a page (with photographs) of the castle
- Codnor & District Local History & Heritage website - Codnor Castle webpage
- "Time Team arrives at Codnor Castle" - Ripley & Heanor News (June 14, 2007)
- Earthwork Analysis English Heritage Research Reports (contains maps)