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Croft Castle, Croft Estate

SMR Number
: 6347
Grid Reference
: SO 449 654
Parish
: CROFT AND YARPOLE, HEREFORDSHIRE

As early as the reign of Henry III, Hugo of that ilk held Croft by military service of the honour of Dilewe or Dilwyn. The amount of land occupied was one hide, equivalent to about 120 acres. History of the family is given. A castle may have been erected at Croft in Norman times (or even earlier) but there is no trace of a building earlier than the 14th century. Judging from the angle towers and other indications of the castle's form we should assign it to the later Edwardian era, but its destruction in the Civil Wars was so complete that it is impossible to be certain. It is a quadrilateral building with circular towers at the four corners, enclosing a courtyard. In the middle of last century [18th century] there was no wall between the two eastern towers, and access to the house was through the courtyard. In 1645 it was dismantled by the Royalists lest Parliament gained it. The portion that seems to have suffered least is the northern side, where there is a square centre turret midway between the two angle towers. 1746: Mr Knight made considerable alterations. The subsequent owner, Mr Johnes, rebuilt the east side and considerably modernised the whole fabric. The west hall is probably the original hall of the castle but is curtailed in its dimensiions at its south end. The angle towers are all that remains to testify to the earlier character of the building. (1)
The mid 18th century refurbishments are the design of Thomas Farnoll Pritchard, carried out in the 1760s; he created a domestic house within an ancient structure. The east side was filled in and a hall created, Gothick and Rococo features were added both inside and out. Full description. (5)
Ashlar-faced mansion. Three wings around a central courtyard. Four corner turrets. Set in parkland with ornamental trees, with its Home Farm to the NE. (6) (7)
Excavations carried out by Herefordshire Archaeology between 2001 and 2003 provided a considerable amount of information about the buildings. The 2001 excavations allowed the clarification of a sequence of construction from the Later 16th Century to the Early to Mid 18th Century, and many details of construction were elucidated.The 2002 excavations were designed to explore the now-vanished buildings to the east and west of the mansion. The excavations provided further evidence of the former existence of a small Medieval fortified manor to the west of the house. Also, a wall foundation was discovered to the west of the western side of the 1820s bastioned terrace, that may have originally formed part of the standing structure of the Medieval castle. Interpretation of the main sequence was rendered more complex by the results of dendrochronolgical study on the standing building, which showed that roof timbers in all the surviving ranges of the main house were put in place in 1662-3. Stylistically the mansion is early 17th Century in date. The simplest explanation of the wall foundations revealed to the west of this building is that they derive from a complex of Medieval structures that was substantially reworked in the 16th Century, before being demolished in the 17th Century. The 2003 excavations concentrated on the area to the west of the house, including evidence for formal gardens. (8) (9) (10)
AP coverage 2002 (11) (12) (13)
2003 B&W Aerial Photographs highlighting excavation by Herefordshire Archaeology. (14) (15) (16)
Chris Musson's 2003 colour slide aerial photograph catalogue. (17) (18)
C. Musson, colour negative aerial photograph survey. (19) (20)
Survey from 1992 (21)
Watching brief report (22)
Documentary research (23)

Monument Type(s)

  1. CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  2. COUNTRY HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Files

Sources and Further Reading

  1. <3> SHE10536 - Bibliographic reference: National Trust. 1960. Croft Castle.
  2. <1> SHE11721 - Bibliographic reference: Robinson, Rev C J. 1867. The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords. Pages 32-38.
  3. <2> SHE13513 - Bibliographic reference: Wright. Hist of Ludlow.
  4. <5> SHE14721 - Bibliographic reference: Ionides, Julia. 1991. Thomas Farnolls Pritchard of Shrewsbury. Architect and 'Inventor ofCast Iron Bridges'. The Dog Rose Press, Ludlow. Pages 87-98.
  5. <4> SHE15132 - Unpublished Report: Bretherton, J M. 01/10/1998. Watching Brief at Croft Castle (visitor facility), Croft.. Worcestershire Archaeological Service. 694. Rep No. 694.
  6. <22> SHE15739 - Unpublished Report: Wainwright, Jo. 12/2002. Croft Castle, Leominster, Herefordshire. A report on an archaeological watching brief.. Marches Archaeology. 267.
  7. <7> SHE15928 - Unpublished Report: Ray, Keith and Tim Hoverd. 2003. Croft Castle Estate: An Archaeological Survey 2001-2002. Volume 2. Herefordshire Archaeology. 49.
  8. <11> SHE16719 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 13/07/2002. 02-MB-0016. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2002. Oblique. B/W.
  9. <12> SHE16720 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 13/07/2002. 02-MB-0017. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2002. Oblique. B/W.
  10. <13> SHE16722 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 13/07/2002. 02-MB-0019. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2002. Oblique. B/W.
  11. <14> SHE16800 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 30/08/2003. 03-MB-1262. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2003. Oblique. B/W.
  12. <15> SHE16801 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 30/08/2003. 03-MB-1263. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2003. Oblique. B/W.
  13. <16> SHE16802 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 30/08/2003. 03-MB-1264. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2003. Oblique. B/W.
  14. <17> SHE17424 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 12/08/2003. 03-C-1067. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2003. Oblique. Colour Slide.
  15. <18> SHE17425 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 12/08/2003. 03-C-1068. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2003. Oblique. Colour Slide.
  16. <19> SHE18085 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 05/04/2006. 06-CN-0518. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2006. Oblique. Colour Print. Digital.
  17. <20> SHE18086 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 05/04/2006. 06-CN-0519. Herefordshire Aerial Archaeological Survey 2006. Oblique. Colour Print. Digital.
  18. <10> SHE18465 - Bibliographic reference: Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. 2003. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. Volume 51. 2003. 113.
  19. <6> SHE18473 - Unpublished Report: Ray, Keith and Tim Hoverd. 2003. Croft Castle Estate: An Archaeological Survey 2001-2002. Volume 1. Herefordshire Archaeology. 49.
  20. <9> SHE18760 - Article in serial: Shoesmith, Ron. 2002. Archaeology, 2002, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, Volume L 2002, Part III. 386-403. 396-7.
  21. <23> SHE18984 - Unpublished Report: Goodbury, Valerie. Croft Castle, Herefordshire. Documentary Research.
  22. <8> SHE19050 - Bibliographic reference: Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. 2001. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. Volume 50. 2001. 267.
  23. --- SHE23896 - Unpublished Report: Hoverd, T. 06/2013. Desk-based assessment for a Biomass Boiler System, Croft Castle, Croft Estate, Herefordshire.. Herefordshire Archaeology. HAR 331.
  24. <21> SHE7259 - Unpublished Report: Dalwood, C H & Waller, R. 1992. Croft Castle Estate, Survey & Archaeological Management. HWCC Archaeological Service. 107.

Associated events

Protected status

  1. Registered Park or Garden (II*) 1875: CROFT CASTLE
  2. Listed Building (I) 149433: CHURCH OF ST MICHAEL
  3. Listed Building (I) 149429: CROFT CASTLE
  4. Listed Building (II) 149430: GATEWAY AND CURTAIN WALL
  5. Listed Building (II) 149432: STABLE BLOCK
  6. Listed Building (II) 149431: TERRACE WALL TO SOUTH AND WEST OF CROFT CASTLE

Associated Historic Landscape Character Records

  1. HHE76 - Large Compass Enclosure of the Landscape - Parkland