Scheduled Ancient Monument: CLARE CASTLE (SF52)

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Suffix SF52
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Date last amended


A large motte and double bailey castle probably founded by Richard Fitz Gilbert, first of the 'de Clares' , in the 11th century, and occupied until the later 15th century . Between 1317 and 1360 occupied by Elizabeth be Burgh who undertook extensive construction work and kept detailed records (GSB Prospection, Geophysical Survey Report 2003/14). Castle is on S side of town, 20 acres in area (R8)(S2). Motte - circumference 850 feet, height 53 feet, with remains of circular shell-keep, perhaps C12/C13, but with late footings, buttresses and battlements (S1). Inner Bailey - to SE, now almost entirely occupied by Railway Station, and part of earthworks destroyed but N rampart, with remains of curtain wall, secondary Motte with traces of C13 tiled buildings on top and S rampart survive . Outer bailey - to NE divided from inner bailey by broad, swampy moat, now cut by road and used as playground - ramparts on NE side well defined. Further swamps flank the whole E side of castle. Some excavations in 1849 - tiles, pottery etc, and supposed doorway of Church of St John Baptist "in Castello" (R5). Reckoning counter found 1960 (CLREM), in Outer Bailey - Edward II. 1950s: limited excavations by Knocker in outer bailey (R4). 1981: Whole site is now Country Park. Remains of shell keep masonry in reasonable condition. All earthworks covered in trees - scrub, difficult to define - 2nd motte impenetrable. Railway now disused - buildings house Information Centre. Some slight erosion of main motte due to children sliding. Some dead trees on ramparts (S1).

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monument file.



Grid reference Centred TL 7715 4525 (293m by 306m)
Map sheet TL74NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Record last edited

Feb 11 2013 4:25PM

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