Information for record number MWA359:
Astley Castle

Summary Astley Castle which was originally built during the Medieval period. It is situated in Astley, 100m east of Church Lane.
What Is It?  
Type: Castle, Manor House, House
Period: Medieval - Post-Medieval (1066 AD - 1750 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Astley
District: North Warwickshire, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 31 89
(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: )
Listed Building (Grade: II)
Sites & Monuments Record

Source Number  

1 The original fortified manor house was the home of Sir Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk and his daughter Lady Jane Grey. The house was dismantled in 1555, but almost immediately rebuilt. The existing house, still moated, is almost entirely 16th century, but there is evidence of 12th century work. There were substantial alterations in 17th century and again in 1820 when it was restored. The building is roughly rectangular, of 2 storeys, with embattled parapets throughout. The principal front, in which 17th century and 19th century inteference is marked, has 5 large stone transomed-mullioned windows, all restored, 2 of them having arched traceried heads of early 19th century character. On W side is a little timber framing. The interior is wholly modernised and has no early features except for a Jacobean fireplace.
2 There are only scanty remains, in grey and red sandstone, of the original curtain wall and gatehouse. Some portions appear to be 14th century, but may date from 1266, when a grant was made to inclose a house in Astley with a dyke and wall and to crenelate it. The bailey is level and the present house is on its W side with outbuildings lining the W curtain wall
3 There was a manor house here from quite early times; the Astleys lived here from the time of Henry II (1154-89). There is no certainty that a castle was built here in 1266.
4 In 1963 it was a hotel.
5 The hotel has moved out and the house is now abandoned and is falling down.
6 Photograph taken in 1977.
7 Astley castle and associated features (see PRNs 357, 362 amd 7224) was Scheduled as an Ancient Monument in April 1994.
8 Astley castle surveyed during 1996, includes plans, photographs and elevations.
9 A substantial amount of archaeological monitoring was carried out during below-ground works associated with the conversion of the standing remains of Astley castle into accomadation by the Landmark Trust. The report includes substantial information on the historical background of the site, together with detailed reporting on the results of monitoring of work, which recorded substantial medieval and post-medieval remains. The foundations of the fortified medieval manor house were recorded at two locations during the watching brief. Evidence of the late-medieval castle was uncovered in the threshold stone outside the wide four-centred arched doorway located in the north wall of the c.16th century addition to the medieval west range. A similar construction date is attributed to a stone wall outside this range and a further section which appears to have formed a boundary wall on the northwest corner of the 16th/17th century castle above the moat. A stone drain of similar date was observed in the excavation of a service trench across the moat bridge, overlain by a cobblestone surface. The double-barrel vaulted cellars, believed to date to the 1820s, were recorded, together with an earlier smaller cellar. Few finds were recovered from the site, and were mainly residual, redeposited during the successive stages of rebuilding and restoration that the castle has undergone since the mid 13th-century.
10 Analysis and dating by dendrochronology was requested by English Heritage as a part of a recording program. Three constructional phases were considered worthy of tree-ring analysis; the first of these was an area of close-studded wall-framing from the originally jettied first-floor of the early seventeenth century north-wing. The second phase to be sampled was the late eighteenth or ealy nineteenth-century roof. Thirdly there were two loose timbers retrieved from the cellar that are thought to have been originally from the great hall. Overall, 25 oak timbers were sampled and the findings of the chronology showed that all timbers in the area were felled simultaneously in AD 1627, mirroring a date which is inscribed on a date-stone found in the debris, however samples from the other two phases remain undated, due to having rather short growth-ring sequences.
11 Astley castle was the earliest building in Warwickshire to be granted a license to crenellate in 1266.

Source No: 11
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: 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: 8
Source Type: Building Survey
Title: Astley Castle, Outline Analysis
Author/originator: Morriss R K
Date: 1996
Page Number:
Source No: 1
Source Type: Desk Top Study
Title: LBL
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1951
Page Number: 5
Volume/Sheet: Tamworth Rural
Source No: 4
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card 38NW1
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1963
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 38NW1
Source No: 6
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: SMR card: photograph
Date: 2005
Page Number:
Source No: 3
Source Type: Serial
Title: TBAS vol 67
Author/originator: Chatwin P B
Date: 1947
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 67
Source No: 7
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Astley Castle moated site, fishponds, garden remains and Astley College
Author/originator: EH
Date: 1994
Page Number:
Source No: 10
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Tree-ring analysis of timbers from Astley Castle, Astley
Author/originator: R E Howard, R R Laxton, C D Litton
Date: 1997
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 83/97
Source No: 5
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Unpublished document
Author/originator: Hingley R
Date: 1987
Page Number:
Source No: 9
Source Type: Watching Brief Report
Title: Astley Castle, Astley, North Warwickshire: Archaeological Watching Brief September 2010 - March 2011
Author/originator: Frost, P
Date: 2012
Page Number:
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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.
designation Listed Building Buildings and structures, such as bridges, that are of architectural or historical importance are placed on a statutory list. These buildings are protected by planning and conservation acts that ensure that their special features of interest are considered before any alterations are made to them.

Depending on how important the buildings are they are classed as Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II. Grade I buildings are those of exceptional interest. Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. Those listed as Grade II are those buildings that are regarded of special interest.
source LBL Listed Building List. Buildings and structures, such as bridges, that are of architectural or historical importance are placed on a list. Buildings placed on the list are protected through various planning and conservation acts which ensure that their special features of interest are considered before any alterations are made to them. The Listed Buildings List is compiled and maintained by English Heritage. It includes details of where the building is, when it was built, a description of its appearance, and any other special features. back
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 SMR Card Sites and Monuments Record Card. The Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record began to be developed during the 1970s. The details of individual archaeological sites and findspots were written on record cards. These record cards were used until the 1990s, when their details were entered on to a computerised system. The record cards are still kept at the office of the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. 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 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 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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monument HOTEL * A large building used for the accommodation of paying travellers and guests. back
monument HOUSE * A building for human habitation, especially a dwelling place. Use more specific type where known. back
monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument FISHPOND * A pond used for the rearing, breeding, sorting and storing of fish. back
monument GREAT HALL * A large communal room often occupying the full height of the building, used for functions such as meetings, entertainments etc. Traditionally found in medieval buildings but also found in later buildings emulating medieval architecture. 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 MANOR HOUSE * The principal house of a manor or village. back
monument FLOOR * A layer of stone, brick or boards, etc, on which people tread. Use broader site type where known. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument CELLAR * A room or group of rooms usually below the ground level and usually under a building, often used for storing fuel, provisions or wines. back
monument DRAIN * An artificial channel for draining water or carrying it off. back
monument CHURCH * A building used for public Christian worship. Use more specific type where known. 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 CASTLE * A fortress and dwelling, usually medieval in origin, and often consisting of a keep, curtain wall and towers etc. back
monument GATEHOUSE * A gateway with one or more chambers over the entrance arch; the flanking towers housing stairs and additional rooms. Use with wider site type where known. back
monument FORTIFIED MANOR HOUSE * A manor house, which was granted a royal licence to crenellate. back
monument BRIDGE * A structure of wood, stone, iron, brick or concrete, etc, with one or more intervals under it to span a river or other space. Use specific type where known. back
monument OUTBUILDING * A detached subordinate building. Use specific type where known, eg. DAIRY. back
monument COLLEGE * An establishment, often forming part of a university, for higher or tertiary education. back
monument TRENCH * An excavation used as a means of concealment, protection or both. back
monument GARDEN * An enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables and/or recreational purposes. Use more specific type where known. 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 BOUNDARY WALL * Any wall enclosing a building or complex of buildings, eg. prisons, dockyards, factories, etc. back
monument CURTAIN WALL * A wall between two towers or pavilions, usually surrounding a building, and often forming a major part of the defences. back
monument WALL * An enclosing structure composed of bricks, stones or similar materials, laid in courses. Use specific type where known. back
monument WORKS * Usually a complex of buildings for the processing of raw materials. Use specific type where known. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record