Found west of Tugford, off Sandy Lane on the A49-B4371-4368 juncture
a remaining tower of Holdgate
Three miles northeast of Broncroft, a remaining tower of an 11th century motte and bailey earthwork, Holdgate Castle, founded by Helgot de Reisolent, can be found on the northern end of Holdgate village. Helgot also held sixteen other manors besides the castle which was known as Stanton during his occupation. His superior, of course, was Roger de Montgomery and this castle was Helgot’s main residence- among three of the earliest to be documented in Shropshire!
The ovular motte on the grounds of Hall Farm stands nearly thirty feet high and the farm actually sits on the former northeast bailey. A few stones remain visible where a tower keep once resided on the flat summit of the motte. A large 13th century semi-circular flanking tower is fused with the farmhouse and is purported to have been built by Robert Burnell, the Bishop of Bath and Wells (and Lord of Acton Burnell, of course.) During that period it housed a college of secular clergy which dissolved by 1373. Its appearance is that of an abbey with medieval features. Some 12th century fabric of a previous church survives at the still present Holy Trinity Church which resides on the former castle grounds. This Royalist ecclesiastical stronghold was besieged during the Civil War and was recorded as being left desolate by 1645. The D-shaped tower which remains was refaced in the 19th century but is well representative of the original structure.
Foundations of the walls can still be clearly seen and what is left of the rectangular tower on top of the motte along with remnants of castle amongst the farm buildings which have taken over the area. Earthworks and ditches remain in evidence and southeast of the motte and bailey, rectangular earthworks with enclosures are believed to have been an area of formal gardens associated with the castle.
The site is visible from the road. Car parking is by the side of the road.
Only a little downstream south of Bridgnorth in the Severn Valley Quatford Castle happens to be the older settlement of the two, at a ford in the river near Quatt. It began life as a bridge and eventually perhaps a lookout point for Bridgnorth and by the late 11th century a small castle was built up high above the bridge. This was the work of Roger Montgomery and was most likely built sometime between 1066-86. Seated an incredible 930 feet high and 35 feet across it was perfect for its purpose. If you visit the site you’ll find a rock-cut ditch three meters deep on the eastern side. The castle was completely demolished rather early but visiting the motte is an adventure if you’re not afraid of heights.
Castle Pulverbach was once a castle of incredible size. It is actually two motte sites one of which can be seen from Wilderley Hall Farm. If you look in the photo album for Shropshire you’ll see its position on Shropshire’s map. It is referred to as a manor in the books of the 12th century and was held by Roger Venator in 1086. Its situation is in a small valley where a route from Shrewsbury to Bishops Castle existed. It may have already been nearly demolished by 1202.
Most of what you would see on the dangerous site is the outline of two rectangular buildings in the north angle of the inner bailey. The earthworks are extensive and quite interesting with two mottes and two bailies with amazing counterscarps. To imagine what must have been here in the way of stonework will be more work than you would want to put into it. As I have said before, bring your imagination with you. The aerial photo link* will be interesting for true enthusiasts.
As a part of the Welsh Marches a regulated village surrounded it like those of which were controlled by the new castles such as Cheney Longeville and More. There are many more such examples all over England. Domestic houses often occupied the enclosure or bailies of a castle. Just as in towns, castles were also placed in rural settlements, at first made of timber, but later (in lesser amount) in stone.
Cleobury Castle remains at Cleobury Mortimer are seated in the highest hills of Shropshire, Clee Hills, and the Wyre Forest not far from the border with Worcestershire. As you might guess, the town gets part of its name from Roger de Mortimer whose dynasty held land here throughout the middle ages. There were once two castles here but the chief seat castle was destroyed in 1155 and mere earthworks remain. A smaller motte and bailey, referred to as Castle Toot, most likely housed a timber fortification but its role seems to be very confused with the chief manor occupied by the Mortimers in the 12th century. This castle still existed in some form clear up to the 18th century and foundations plus coins and artifacts have been discovered during archaeological investigations carried out in 1993. A kiln, Roman and medieval pottery have also been found. The larger castle was captured along with Bridgnorth by Henry II and destroyed.
Middlehope Castle has been highly questioned by experts because investigations revealed nothing substantial for earthworks and the outlines were obscured from plowing. A rampart and ditch are barely visible and much of its area is only a low mound and trees. It is, however, supposed to have existed on the northeast side of Middlehope Village very close to Rushbury and Holdgate Castles. There are many such sites in Shropshire.
With kisses and high hopes,
The Castle Lady
Full size photos can be found of these castles and more in the new Shropshire album ! Take a look !