Information for record number MWA4251:
Brandon Castle

Summary Brandon Castle, the site of a Medieval Castle, with associated Castle keep and moat complex. Documentary evidence exists for some of its history, and some of the earthworks have been patially excavated. The Castle is situated 300m south of Brandon.
What Is It?  
Type: Castle, Keep, Moat, Earthwork
Period: Medieval (1066 AD - 1539 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Brandon and Bretford
District: Rugby, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 40 75
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Scheduled Monument (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

1 Very extensive earthworks marking the site of an important Medieval castle which formerly stood here. Defences appear to have consisted mainly of broad moats and sheets of water dammed by artificial banks and fed by sluices from the Avon. earthworks cover 1.8 or 2.1 ha. The central moated mound, upon which the castle itself stood, is an almost square plateau which contains 0.4 ha; it has irregular additions and another small square on the E side; only fragments of walls of masonry now survive, and Dugdale wrote of it as 'moats and heaps of rubbish'.
2 Built in the 12th century and long the seat of the Verdon family; it was garrisoned in 1195. It is said to have been 'pulled down' by the baronial troops from Kenilworth castle in 1265 because John de Verdon was an active supporter of the king. In 1279 a castle and a park are recorded and it was still used as a residence in 1309, but how much later it continued to function is uncertain.
3 earthworks consisting of three moated enclosures, presumably always more or less filled with water. Traces of the channels bringing water to the castle survive. Waterworks were probably strengthened in 1226 by Nicholas de Verdon. In 1947 an excavation located a rectangular keep, probably of 13th century date. excavation in the E moat failed to locate 12th century material, but quantities of domestic material including a coin of Stephen were found. There may have been timber buildings here. A concentration of green-glazed ridge tiles and roofing slates in the W enclosure suggest a building 'of some importance though small'. This could have been erected after destruction of the keep. The exact nature of the 12th century castle is uncertain. excavation in the E and W enclosure produced pottery. Arrowheads and other iron objects were also found.
5 In the court to the W of the keep foundations of a minor building can be traced.
8 The Edwards archive is lodged with the Field Archaeology Section of Coventry Museum. Some of the finds may also be there.
9 Brandon castle survives well and is unencumbered by modern development. excavation has shown that the tower keep and its wards retain important information concerning the construction of the castle and related activities. The partly watterlogged deposits are potentially important as sources of information.
11 A 3m wide curvilinear ditch with banks on either side extending from the moat on the castles northern side to the road was mapped as part of the English Heritage National Mapping Project. A rectangular bank which appears to be the remains of a building apparent in the western bailey of the castle was also mapped. These features do not appear on the current mapping for the site. Monument boundary extended.
12 Brandon castle was rebuilt in stone in the 13th century from its origins as a motte and bailey construction.

Source No: 11
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Title: SP4075 Frame 17
Author/originator: CUCAP
Date: 29 Jun 1952
Page Number: Frame 17
Volume/Sheet: SP4075
Source No: 6
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Author/originator: J Pickering
Date: 1962
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP4489 C/D/E/X
Source No: 12
Source Type: Article in serial
Title: Symbols of Status in Medieval Warwickshire (1000-1500)
Author/originator: Hook D
Date: 2014
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 117
Source No: 1
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Victoria County History, vol 1, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Doubleday H A & Page W (eds)
Date: 1904
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 1
Source No: 10
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Moated Sites Research Group
Author/originator: Mackenzie I
Date: 1985
Page Number: 29
Volume/Sheet: 12
Source No: 2
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Victoria County History, vol 6, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Salzman L F (ed)
Date: 1951
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: VI
Source No: 3
Source Type: Excavation Report
Title: TBAS vol 73
Author/originator: PBC
Date: 1955
Page Number: 63-83
Volume/Sheet: 73
Source No: 5
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card 47NW21
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1971
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 47NW21
Source No: 9
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Brandon Castle
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1994
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: SAM list
Author/originator: DoE
Page Number:
Source No: 7
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: SAM list
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1985
Page Number:
Source No: 8
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Unpublished document
Author/originator: PJW
Date: 1991
Page Number:
A Medieval moat at the site of Brandon Castle on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map
Copyright: Open
Date: 1886
Click here for larger image  
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Word or Phrase
none Scheduled Monument Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) are those archaeological sites which are legally recognised as being of national importance. They can range in date from prehistoric times to the Cold War period. They can take many different forms, including disused buildings or sites surviving as earthworks or cropmarks.

SAMs are protected by law from unlicensed disturbance and metal detecting. Written consent from the Secretary of State must be obtained before any sort of work can begin, including archaeological work such as geophysical survey or archaeological excavation. There are nearly 200 SAMs in Warwickshire.
source OS Card Ordnance Survey Record Card. Before the 1970s the Ordnance Survey (OS) were responsible for recording archaeological monuments during mapping exercises. This helped the Ordnance Survey to decide which monuments to publish on maps. During these exercises the details of the monuments were written down on record cards. Copies of some of the cards are kept at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. The responsibility for recording archaeological monuments later passed to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments. back
source SAM List Scheduled Ancient Monument List. A list or schedule of archaelogical and historic monuments that are considered to be of national importance. The list contains a detailed description of each Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and a map showing their location and extent. By being placed on the schedule, SAMs are protected by law from any unauthorised distrubance. The list has been compiled and is maintained by English Heritage. It is updated periodically. back
source TBAS Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society is a journal produced by the society annually. It contains articles about archaeological field work that has taken place in Birmingham and Warwickshire in previous years. Copies of the journal are kept by the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. back
technique Documentary Evidence Documentary evidence is another name for written records. The first written records in Britain date back to the Roman period. Documentary evidence can take many different forms, including maps, charters, letters and written accounts. When archaeologists are researching a site, they often start by looking at documentary evidence to see if there are clues that will help them understand what they might find. Documentary evidence can help archaeologists understand sites that are discovered during an excavation, field survey or aerial survey. back
technique Earthwork Earthworks can take the form of banks, ditches and mounds. They are usually created for a specific purpose. A bank, for example, might be the remains of a boundary between two or more fields. Some earthworks may be all that remains of a collapsed building, for example, the grassed-over remains of building foundations.

In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky than during the other seasons, earthworks have larger shadows. From the air, archaeologists are able to see the patterns of the earthworks more easily. Earthworks can sometimes be confusing when viewed at ground level, but from above, the general plan is much clearer.

Archaeologists often carry out an aerial survey or an earthwork survey to help them understand the lumps and bumps they can see on the ground.
technique excavation Archaeologists excavate sites so that they can find information and recover archaeological materials before they are destroyed by erosion, construction or changes in land-use.

Depending on how complicated and widespread the archaeological deposits are, excavation can be done by hand or with heavy machinery. Archaeologists may excavate a site in a number of ways; either by open area excavation, by digging a test pit or a trial trench.
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period Modern The Modern Period, about 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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period Medieval 1066 AD to 1539 AD (the 11th century AD to the 16th century AD)

The medieval period comes after the Saxon period and before the post medieval period.

The Medieval period begins in 1066 AD.
This was the year that the Normans, led by William the Conqueror (1066 – 1087), invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex.
The Medieval period includes the first half of the Tudor period (1485 – 1603 AD), when the Tudor family reigned in England and eventually in Scotland too.

The end of the Medieval period is marked by Henry VIII’s (1509 – 1547) order for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the years running up to 1539 AD. The whole of this period is sometimes called the Middle Ages.
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period modern About 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument BUILDING * A structure with a roof to provide shelter from the weather for occupants or contents. Use specific type where known. back
monument STONE * Use only where stone is natural or where there is no indication of function. back
monument PARK * An enclosed piece of land, generally large in area, used for hunting, the cultivation of trees, for grazing sheep and cattle or visual enjoyment. Use more specific type where known. back
monument KEEP * The major tower of a fortification, often acting as its last defence. back
monument BOUNDARY * The limit to an area as defined on a map or by a marker of some form, eg. BOUNDARY WALL. Use specific type where known. back
monument TOWER KEEP * A fortified keep in the form of a tower, used as a last refuge or defence. If a component of a larger site, use KEEP. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument MOAT * A wide ditch surrounding a building, usually filled with water. Use for moated sites, not defensive moats. Use with relevant site type where known, eg. MANOR HOUSE, GARDEN, etc. back
monument WATERWORKS * Buildings, engineering constructions and machinery, used for the purpose of supplying a town, etc, with water distributed through pipes. back
monument ROAD * A way between different places, used by horses, travellers on foot and vehicles. back
monument CASTLE * A fortress and dwelling, usually medieval in origin, and often consisting of a keep, curtain wall and towers etc. back
monument SEAT * An external structure used to sit on. back
monument WELL * A shaft or pit dug in the ground over a supply of spring-water. back
monument FIELD * An area of land, often enclosed, used for cultivation or the grazing of livestock. back
monument MUSEUM * A building, group of buildings or space within a building, where objects of value such as works of art, antiquities, scientific specimens, or other artefacts are housed and displayed. back
monument DEFENCE * This is the top term for the class. See DEFENCE Class List for narrow terms. back
monument MOTTE AND BAILEY * An early form of castle consisting of a flat-top steep-sided earthen mound, supporting a wooden tower, and a bailey. back
monument ENCLOSURE * An area of land enclosed by a boundary ditch, bank, wall, palisade or other similar barrier. Use specific type where known. back
monument DITCH * A long and narrow hollow or trench dug in the ground, often used to carry water though it may be dry for much of the year. back
monument SQUARE * An open space or area, usually square in plan, in a town or city, enclosed by residential and/or commercial buildings, frequently containing a garden or laid out with trees. back
monument SLUICE * A dam which can be raised or lowered to regulate the flow of water. back
monument BAILEY * The courtyard of a castle, ie. the area enclosed by the rampart or curtain. Use with wider site type where known. back
monument MOUND * A natural or artificial elevation of earth or stones, such as the earth heaped upon a grave. Use more specific type where known. back
monument WALL * An enclosing structure composed of bricks, stones or similar materials, laid in courses. Use specific type where known. back
monument DOMESTIC * This is the top term for the class. See DOMESTIC Class List for narrow terms. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record