Beverston Castle

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Beverston Castle
Gloucestershire, England
Beverston castle.jpg
Beverston Castle south tower of western range
Beverston Castle is located in Gloucestershire
Beverston Castle
Beverston Castle
Coordinates51°38′37″N 2°12′08″W / 51.6437°N 2.2023°W / 51.6437; -2.2023Coordinates: 51°38′37″N 2°12′08″W / 51.6437°N 2.2023°W / 51.6437; -2.2023
Grid referencegrid reference ST861939
Site information
OwnerPrivate
Open to
the public
No
ConditionInhabited
Site history
MaterialsLimestone
EventsEnglish Civil War

Beverston Castle, also known as Beverstone Castle or Tetbury Castle, was constructed as a medieval stone fortress in the village of Beverston, Gloucestershire, England. The property is a mix of manor house, various small buildings, extensive gardens and the medieval ruins of the fortified building.[1] The castle was founded in 1229 by Maurice de Gaunt.[2] Much of the castle was in the state of ruin by 2011, but a portion of the structure is occupied, and a handsome, expansive garden is part of the estate. The castle is situated in the centre of Beverston village, approximately 200 metres north of the A4135 road transecting Beverston.

Description[edit]

The original castle was laid out in pentagonal plan. In the early 14th century, a small quadrangular stronghold was added, along with a twin-towered gatehouse. Beverston Castle is situated approximately three kilometres west of the town of Tetbury and about two kilometres east of the medieval abbey annex, Calcot Manor. The castle is in the Cotswolds, a designated AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

History[edit]

Beverston Castle gatehouse viewed from the inside

Early Roman remains have been found nearby, at Calcot Manor, indicating habitation of this area as early as the 5th century,[3] although it is likely that earlier Iron Age peoples would have also been in this locale. In the Middle Ages it was called Beverstane, and in medieval times the site was known as Beverstone. Another early name for this site was Bureston, derived from the large number of blue stones found here.[4]

The site was the location of an important battle circa 1140 AD between the opposing English armies of King Stephen and Empress Matilda.[5]

One source traced the history back to 1225 when Maurice de Gaunt built a fortified manor house without a royal licence, but was granted a licence to crenellate.[6] This early castle was fortified by a T-shaped ditch, part of which is still intact in the survival of a partial moat on the south side of the castle. In 1530, the castle was extensively remodeled Thomas, Lord Berkeley (1293–1361), who erected a small quadrangular stronghold, with a twin-towered gatehouse. A smaller square tower was added in the late 15th century. At an unspecified later date, the adjoining house was added, using parts of the original manor.[7]

The woollen industry was central to the medieval economy of the Cotswolds, and in 1336, according to former R A Lister and Company employee A S Bullock, 5000 Cotswold sheep were shorn in the courtyard of Beverston Castle, which he thought might have been a record.[8]

In the 16th century, Sir Michael Hicks (son of Robert Hicks, a merchant of London and Bristol, and Julia Arthur) owned Beverston Castle and passed the Beverston holding to his son Sir William Hicks, 1st Baronet. The estate remained in the Hicks family through to at least the early 19th century. As a result of the English Civil War (mid-seventeenth century), much of Beverston Castle was destroyed.[9] Roundhead forces attacked the castle twice during the War, but the greatest damage was from an order from Parliament to slight its defensive works. The two major attacks occurred in 1644 and in 1691.[10] The western and southern ranges along with the gatehouse with one of its original D-shaped towers have survived.

Architecture[edit]

The massive extant west range of Beverston Castle is flanked on its angles with square towers, and it contains a solar above a vaulted undercroft. The pentagon-shaped masonry castle has two surviving, albeit ruined, round towers from the original 13th-century construction of de Gaunt. The dressed bluish limestone appears to be from the same quarry as the stonework of nearby Calcot Manor. The two-storey gatehouse, with one extant D-shaped tower, was added by Lord Berkeley in the 1350–1360 era. The gatehouse arch, totally intact as of 2006, would have originally been protected by an immense portcullis. Above the archway was a sizable first-floor (US = second floor) chamber. The ruined northwest square tower dates to the 14th century (Lord Berkeley's work), further modified in the late 15th century.

The southern domestic range, occupied as of 2006, was built by the Hicks family in the early 17th century, reflecting an age of growing security for large manor houses. This range was originally occupied by a medieval great hall from either the de Gaunt or Berkeley era. In 1691 a fire damaged this southern range, but it was restored soon thereafter. Since the restoration, the property has been continually occupied.[11]

Garden at Beverston Castle looking south

Developments since 1950[edit]

In September 1954, "Beverston Castle, including gazebo and bridge" received Grade I listed status, List Entry Number:1304508.[12] The Gatehouse received Grade I listed status in March 1987, List Entry Number:1089720.[13]

A 1974 report provided this information:[14]

The castle includes medieval, post-medieval and modern components and is partially occupied. Some areas of the castle survive largely in their original medieval form, while others are now occupied by more recent structures. Those parts of the castle which survive as upstanding masonry are Listed Grade I. The western wing, which remains unoccupied, constitutes the best surviving section of the original castle. This survives as a three storey building attached to a rectangular corner tower at each end. The southern range is now largely occupied by an 18th century house, built of rubble with a Cotswold stone roof, while in the east the only upstanding remains are those of the gatehouse. The former northern wing has been replaced by modern structures. The monument has a well recorded history of construction. The earliest surviving parts of the castle relate to the fortifications developed by Maurice de Gaunt ...

A 2006 article indicated that Beverston Castle was in private ownership. The ancient moat had been incorporated into the expansive and well-cared-for garden. The gardens are considered a good site for viewing orchids.[15] The southern entrance to the castle was by way of a bridge over the vestigial moat. Vehicle access to the north side of the castle was through the ancient gatehouse arch.

A 2019 report provided more specifics. In 2018, the owner of the estate was Jane Rook (until her death in the spring), who had purchased the property in 1959 with her husband; they later acquired additional land from Park Farm. (The previous owners, since 1939 were Vice-Admiral the Hon Arthur and Mrs Strutt.) Jane Rook and the late Maj Laurence Rook were strong supporters of the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt and welcomed many guests, especially during the Badminton Horse Trials week.[16]

While the property was occupied by the Rooks, the gardens were impressive, incorporating parts of the medieval moat, a paved terrace, herbaceous and shrub borders and a walled kitchen garden. They were open to visitors occasionally under the National Gardens Scheme. [17] The castle itself was not open to visitors.[18]

After Jane Rook's death, the property was listed for sale in 2019;[19] it was only partly habitable. In addition to the seven bedroom manor house, the 693 acre property included four estate cottages, a flat, an estate office, a large stableyard, a walled kitchen garden and lawns.[20] Many of the contents (80 lots) were listed for sale by auction (Bonhams) in October 2018.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=g7EXvaDEYioC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=filming+at+Beverston+Castle&source=bl&ots=IjZiqDFl5r&sig=ACfU3U3rVKQK4YuCS6-3-7ZSqLxnCmdFvQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjxuIbdkIfiAhUQQq0KHSUQDzY4ChDoATAEegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=filming%20at%20Beverston%20Castle&f=false |page=67
  2. ^ Beverstone Castle
  3. ^ "C. Michael Hogan and Amy Gregory. History and Architecture of Calcot Manor, Lumina Technologies, prepared for Calcot Manor, 5 July 2006". Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  4. ^ Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, Volume 5, Edited by W.P.W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L., first published in 1894
  5. ^ The Gatehouse Gazetteer
  6. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=g7EXvaDEYioC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=filming+at+Beverston+Castle&source=bl&ots=IjZiqDFl5r&sig=ACfU3U3rVKQK4YuCS6-3-7ZSqLxnCmdFvQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjxuIbdkIfiAhUQQq0KHSUQDzY4ChDoATAEegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=filming%20at%20Beverston%20Castle&f=false |page=67
  7. ^ "A stunning Cotswold estate with a historically significant 13th century castle, an adjoining manor house and over 400 acres of land Read more at https://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/stunning-cotswold-estate-historically-significant-13th-century-castle-adjoining-manor-house-400-acres-land-195567#O8rm1uJTEBACvBGI.99". Country Life. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019. line feed character in |title= at position 132 (help); External link in |title= (help)
  8. ^ Bullock, Arthur (2009). Gloucestershire Between the Wars: A Memoir. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-4793-3. (Page 159)
  9. ^ House of Commons Journal Volume 4, London, 28 July 1646
  10. ^ "A stunning Cotswold estate with a historically significant 13th century castle, an adjoining manor house and over 400 acres of land Read more at https://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/stunning-cotswold-estate-historically-significant-13th-century-castle-adjoining-manor-house-400-acres-land-195567#O8rm1uJTEBACvBGI.99". Country Life. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019. line feed character in |title= at position 132 (help); External link in |title= (help)
  11. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=g7EXvaDEYioC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=filming+at+Beverston+Castle&source=bl&ots=IjZiqDFl5r&sig=ACfU3U3rVKQK4YuCS6-3-7ZSqLxnCmdFvQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjxuIbdkIfiAhUQQq0KHSUQDzY4ChDoATAEegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=filming%20at%20Beverston%20Castle&f=false |page=70
  12. ^ https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1304508
  13. ^ https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1089720
  14. ^ http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/English%20sites/1187.html
  15. ^ Lorna Parker, Seasonal Guide to Gardens and Nature Preserves in the Cotswalds, The Cotswalds Review, 2006
  16. ^ "A stunning Cotswold estate with a historically significant 13th century castle, an adjoining manor house and over 400 acres of land". Country Life. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  17. ^ https://www.parksandgardens.org/places/beverstone-castle
  18. ^ http://www.cotswoldjourneys.com/4-cotswold-castles-palaces-winter-visit/
  19. ^ https://search.savills.com/property-detail/gblhralar190001
  20. ^ "A stunning Cotswold estate with a historically significant 13th century castle, an adjoining manor house and over 400 acres of land". Country Life. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Treasures from Important Estates and Houses:Bonhams to auction lots with direct links to Churchill and royals - and from Lady Lucan's estate". 1 October 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2019.

External links[edit]