Berkeley Castle

Gloucestershire, England

City/Town/Village: Berkeley
District: Stroud
County: Gloucestershire
Latitude/Longitude: 51.6886, -2.45677
Postcode: GL13 9BG
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)

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Berkeley Castle is an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by William fitz Osborn. In the 12th century, Robert fitz Hardinge founded the stone castle and completely encased the motte in a shell keep, flanked by half-round towers. Built in the Norman layout of two baileys with the motte in-between, the outer bailey has been reduced to its foundations.

Berkeley Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:


4/44 Berkeley Castle



Castle keep, with curtain wall and inner bailey. Late Cll, altered
mid C12 and mid C14. Original circular keep to north west begun
cl067 by Fitz Osborn, Earl of Hereford, with base of shell keep
remaining of this period. Shell keep enlarged 1153, Curtain wall
to east and south built 1160-90, including walls of Great Hall, and
altered to south west in C14. The whole castle is in an original
and good state of preservation and retains most original features
down to doors, arrow slits and windows, iron catches etc.
Interior completely remodelled 1340-50 by Thomas, Lord Berkeley,
although the work of this period only survives in the inner bailey.
Remained largely unaltered until 1920s when 8th Earl of Berkeley
modernised and altered the interior and installed many artefacts
from elswhere, for example fireplaces, stained glass. Local pink,
grey and yellow Severn sandstone, roofs mainly in Cotswold stone
slate or lead, scattered ashlar flues, singly and in groups,
cylindrical or polygonal. Scattered fenestration, mostly stone
mullion and transoms, some latticed. Keep retains cell said to
have been site of murder of Edward II in 1327, and semi-circular
dungeon about llm deep. Wall breached to north west in 1645 during
seige by Cromwell's troops. Curtain wall includes the following
main rooms: Great Hall, with mid C14 ceiling of 8 bays and tiered
windbracing, wooden screen of C15 brought from Wales in 1920s and
retaining original painted decoration, C15 stone fireplace said to
have come from Wanswell Court (q.v.), very fine examples of linen-
fold panelling on oak doors, and several examples of the "Berkeley
Arch" - polygonal with 4 or more straight sides enclosing a cusped
inner arch. Hall said to have been site of meeting of West Country
Barons before going to Runnymede to sign Magna Carta. Screens
passage at east end has 3 Berkeley arches and leads to service area
retaining hexagonal kitchen with 3 fireplaces and original medieval
star timber roof, and Bakehouse spanned by 2 large flat stone
arches; upstairs the Morning Room, former Chapel of St. Mary until
1923, has cusped arcades and retains painted ceiling decoration of
John Trevisa's 1387 translation of Book of Revelation; Long Drawing
Room, containing C15 wooden gallery originally in Chapel with
projecting bay carved with arms of Henry VII; Little Drawing Room,
originally accessible from Long Drawing Room only via projecting
octagonal lobby on inner wall, has very fine ceiling of many
closely set large chamfered cambered beams. Private apartments of
Berkeley family beyond, round to gatehouse adjoining Keep on west
side. (David Verey, Buildings of England - Gloucestershire: the
Vale and Forest of Dean, 1980).

Listing NGR: ST6845899091

Information from British Listed Buildings

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