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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. The castle was founded in 1229 by Maurice de Gaunt.
Much of the castle remained in a state of ruin according to a 2019 report, and had been uninhabitable since the 17th century. Several buildings on the 693-acre property, including five cottages and the 17th century house with seven bedrooms, were in use as residences, however.
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).
Early Roman remains have been found nearby, at Calcot Manor, indicating habitation of this area as early as the 5th century, 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.
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. On 29 July 1229, Henry III of England signed a document allowing the castle to stand and remain for ever. Maurice de Gaunt was also known as Maurice de Ghent or de Gant, and as Maurice Paynel; Beverston was called Beverestan in the July 1229 document which was written in Latin. A report from 1865 states that Maurice had inherited the property from his father Robert Fitzharding.
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.
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. The castle was remodelled in 1348–1349, the second phase of a renovation that began in the 1330s.
Lady Frances (born Poyntz) and Sir John Berkeley were living here in 1555 when their daughter Joanne Berkeley was born. Joanne would grow up to be Joanna the abbess of the Convent of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady in Brussels.
At the end of the 16th century, Sir Michael Hicks (son of Robert Hicks, a merchant of London and Bristol, and Julia Arthur) bought 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. 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. The western and southern ranges along with the gatehouse with one of its original D-shaped towers have survived.
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.
Developments since 1950
In September 1954, "Beverston Castle, including gazebo and bridge" received Grade I listed status, List Entry Number:1304508. The Gatehouse, by then a free-standing structure, received Grade I listed status in March 1987, List Entry Number:1089720. The bridge, and possibly the gazebo, were built in the 18th century.
The Quadrangular castle at Beverston, also built by Maurice de Gaunt, was first listed as a Scheduled Monument on 9 October 1981 (amended 8 August 1994), List Entry Number:1008620.
A 1974 report provided this information about Beverstone Castle:
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. 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 with her husband Laurence, had purchased the property in 1959, from Vice-Admiral the Hon Arthur and Mrs Strutt; they acquired additional land from Park Farm in 1992. The Rooks were strong supporters of the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt and welcomed many guests, especially during the Badminton Horse Trials week.
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.  The castle (ruin) itself was not open to visitors.
After Jane Rook's death, the property was listed for sale in 2019. 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. Many of the contents (80 lots) were listed for sale by auction (Bonhams) in October 2018.
- Emery, Anthony (9 March 2006). Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300–1500: Volume 3, Southern England. p. 67. ISBN 9781139449199.
- "Beverstone Castle". gatehouse-gazetteer.info. Gatehouse. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- Keel, Toby (26 September 2019). "A castle in the Cotswolds that could pass as a backdrop from Downton Abbey". Country Life.
- Beverston Castle Estate
- "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.
- Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, Volume 5, Edited by W.P.W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L., first published in 1894
- Emery, Anthony (27 March 2006). Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300–1500: Volume 3, Southern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-521-58132-5.
- "The Gatehouse website record of a licence to crenellate for Beverstone granted on 1229 July 29". www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info.
- "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/10460. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Taylor, Richard Vickerman (1865). The biographia Leodiensis; or, Biographical sketches of the worthies of Leeds and neighbourhood. [With]. pp. 61–62.
- "Discovering Leeds - Industrial Leeds". www.leodis.net.
- "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.
- Bullock, Arthur (2009). Gloucestershire Between the Wars: A Memoir. The History Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7524-4793-3.
- "Berkeley, Joanne [name in religion Joanna] (1555/6–1616), abbess of the Convent of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady, Brussels". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/105817. ISBN 9780198614111. Retrieved 11 February 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- House of Commons Journal Volume 4, London, 28 July 1646
- Emery, Anthony (27 March 2006). Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300–1500: Volume 3, Southern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-521-58132-5.
- Emery, Anthony (27 March 2006). Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300–1500: Volume 3, Southern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-521-58132-5.
- Dixon Mackenzie, James (16 October 2018). The Castles of England: Their History and Structure, Volume 1. Franklin Classics. p. 372. ISBN 978-0-343-52029-8.
- Wesley Brown, Thomas (10 September 2010). Voices from old Beverston, castle and rectory (1884). Kessinger Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-169-54422-2.
- "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 26 July 2019.
- https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1304508, BEVERSTON CASTLE, INCLUDING GAZEBO AND BRIDGE
- https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1089720, GATEHOUSE TO BEVERSTON CASTLE
- Historic England. "Beverstone Castle (209116)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 15 May 2021.
- https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1008620, Quadrangular castle at Beverston
- http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/English%20sites/1187.html, BEVERSTONE CASTLE
- Lorna Parker, Seasonal Guide to Gardens and Nature Preserves in the Cotswalds, The Cotswalds Review, 2006
- https://assets.savills.com/properties/GBLHRALAR190001/LAR190001_LAR19000036.PDF, beverston castle estate – Savills
- Gardens (en), Parks and. "Beverstone Castle". Parks & Gardens.
- "Savills | Beverston Castle Estate, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8TU | Properties for sale". search.savills.com.
- "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.
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