Dorchester Castle

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A 1771 map of Dorchester, showing the green where the castle once stood at the north of the town.

Dorchester Castle was a motte and bailey castle in the market town of Dorchester, Dorset, southern England (grid reference SY692909).

History[edit]

The date that the castle was built is unclear.[1] Between 1154 and 1175 it was in possession of the Earl of Cornwall and it had become a royal possession by 1185.[2] Both Henry III and John spent money on the castle.[3] It appears to have been disused from about 1290 and there are references to its stonework being reused by the Chidlock family to build Dorchester Greyfriars in 1309.[4][2][3][5] Certainly it was abandoned by 1422.[6]

Dorchester Prison occupies its site - originally to the north of the town, with an Franciscan Priory further east, but nothing of the castle or the priory remain.[7] However, in 1720, two underground passages were discovered while building a chapel: these once connected the castle to the town proper.[8] In the 1800s, a bastion-like rampart still existed, and a small rampart and ditch were visible on the north and east sides.[8] The gatehouse was built in 1790 and has been designated as a Grade II listed building.[9]

Great Western Railway Castle-class locomotive No. 4090 was named after the castle.

Governors[edit]

There are some records of people associated with the castle:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Draper, Jo (1982-01-01). Dorchester Excavations: Excavations at Wadham House 1968, Dorchester Prison 1970, 1975, and 1978, and Glyde Path Road 1966. Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society. p. 91. ISBN 9780900341106. 
  2. ^ a b "Dorchester Castle". Gatehouse Gazetteer. Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  3. ^ a b Fry, Plantagenet (2005-10-15). Castles: England + Scotland + Ireland + Wales. David & Charles. ISBN 0715322125. 
  4. ^ Timbs, John (1872-01-01). Abbeys, castles and ancient balls of England and Wales, their legendary lore, and popular history. Re-ed. by A. Gunn. p. 440. 
  5. ^ Hutchins, John (1868). The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (3rd ed.). pp. 362–4. 
  6. ^ Schofield, John; Leech, Roger, eds. (1987). "Urban Archaeology in Britain". Archaeology Data Service. ISBN 0906780594. Retrieved 2016-08-03. 
  7. ^ "British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1970. Retrieved 2016-08-03. 
  8. ^ a b c d Mackenzie, James Dixon (1896). The castles of England, their story and structure. p. 246. ISBN 9781153325301. 
  9. ^ "The stone gateway forming the north elevation of the gatehouse of the former Her Majesty's Prison Dorchester". National heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 

References[edit]

  • Fry, Plantagenet Somerset, The David & Charles Book of Castles, David & Charles, 1980. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°43′01″N 2°26′13″W / 50.717°N 2.437°W / 50.717; -2.437