Tamworth Castle

Staffordshire, England

City/Town/Village: Fazeley
District: Tamworth
County: Staffordshire
Latitude/Longitude: 52.6326, -1.69686
Postcode: B79 7NA
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)


Privately Owned

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Tamworth Castle is a Norman earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Robert le Despenser. In the 12th century, Robert Marmion founded the stone castle, when he crowned the motte with an impressive polygonal shell keep and protected its entrance gateway, with a small square flanking tower. Inside the keep, is a delightful range of Tudor and Jacobean buildings, built around a medieval Banqueting Hall and a courtyard. A massive curtain wall with herringbone masonry, leads from the keep to the lower part of a late 13th century twin towered gatehouse. Flanking the bailey ditch, the gatehouse is all that remains of Civil War slighting.

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


670-1/9/75 (East side)
11/05/50 Tamworth Castle
(Formerly Listed as:
The Castle)


Castle, now museum. Late C11 motte and bailey castle; rebuilt
C12,early C13 repairs or reconstruction; C12-C13 north wing,
probably with 1st floor hall; early C15 hall range; C16
warder's lodge; early C17 south wing; c1800 alterations. Stone
rubble with ashlar and brick with ashlar dressings; tile and
flat lead roofs. Shell keep with north-east tower with
warden's lodge to south, and later ranges forming H-plan
house. Curtain walls have embattled parapets. Tower has
battered base, flat buttresses and rounded turrets; C14
two-light traceried window and top window with label mould
over 3 round-headed lights with transom. Warder's house to
left has C14 pointed entrance in canted bay under gable; late
C16 double-chamfered-mullioned windows of 3 and 4 lights.
South wing has c1800 facade; ashlar; ground floor windows of 3
pointed lights; 5- and 7-light 1st floor windows with
transoms, similar 3-light windows to 2nd floor. North range
has 2 square projections forming bases of bay windows
demolished c1800; 3-light transomed windows in splayed
surrounds with brattishing; 6-light and 3-light windows above;
similar windows to right, with French window, and to left,
over corbelled base to oriel. Inner court has warder's lodge
to south east: 2 storeys with attic; renewed
double-chamfered-mullioned windows with leaded glazing; coped
gable with kneelers. South range: brick with ashlar dressings;
2 storeys; 2-window range; quoins, plinth, platt bands and C19
embattled parapet; entrance to right in doorcase with
4-centred head, remains of paired pilasters to entablature
with cresting and armorial panel; ground floor has 3-light
windows with pegged casements; 1st floor 4-light transomed
ovolo-mullioned windows; 2nd floor has 3-light
double-chamfered-mullioned windows. Hall has brick plinth,
exposed wall post and large C17 wood-mullioned and transomed
windows with leaded glazing, forming glazed wall; stair turret
to right has 2-light hollow-chamfered-mullioned windows; east
end of north range mostly brick; blocked 1st floor door to
west end.
INTERIOR: hall has tie beam and double collar trusses with
struts and wind braces, ovolo-mouldings with fillets to posts
and soffits of trusses; enriched doorcases and fireplace with
Mannerist detail, moved from house in Kent, c1822.
Tudor-headed main entrance with studded door. Closed-well
stair to north wing, which has 3 rooms with fireplace and
doorcases from house in Kent. South wing has two 1st floor
rooms with C17 panelling and contemporary fireplaces with
pilasters and entablatures and enriched overmantels, one with
flanking figures and relief carving of biblical scenes;
armorial panels, c1800. Warder's house has similar 1st floor
room with panelling and fireplace overmantel. Tower has stair
with strapwork panels and top splat balusters; room with
panelling and Tudor-arched fireplace. The castle has been
inhabited since the Norman conquest, with a break in the mid
C19, when it was used in connection with the nearby mills
(dem); it was bought by the local council in 1897 and opened
to the public. James I stayed at the castle; Sir Walter Scott
referred to it in his poem Marmion.
(Ballard E: Tamworth Castle Museum: Tamworth: 1987-; The
Archaeological Journal: Meeson R: The Timber Frame of the Hall
at Tamworth Castle, Staffs: London: 1983-; Buildings of
England: Pevsner N: Staffordshire: London: 1974-: P. 277-8).

Listing NGR: SK2061303913

Information from British Listed Buildings

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