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Parishes: F (castles)

Foy: possible site of Eaton Tregoz Castle, Campfield

Historic Environment Record reference no. 850, Ordnance Survey grid reference: SO 6054 2820

Foy is a parish 5km to the north of Ross-on-Wye. Half a mile to the east of the parish church of St. Mary at Foy is a site named Campfield. The area is locally known as Hill of Eaton or Eaton Tregoz.

Description of the site today

An L-shaped length of scarped hillside with arms projecting north-east and south-west, which appears to be largely natural. Below the northeast arm is a smaller scarp, probably of a later date and constructed in connection with cart track. The area is known locally as Camp Field,  and it has been suggested that this may be the site of a possible Iron Age fort, but there is little definite evidence for the existence of such a site.

The site offers a good situation for a castle earthwork, but again there are no apparent remains of one. There is a possibility that this is the site of Eaton Tregoz Castle, which was built by John de Tregoz. His family were lords of Ewyas Harold and were of considerable importance during the 13th century. Robinson records that in 1280 John de Tregoz was permitted to endow a chapel within his castle to St. John the Baptist. The castle later passed through the family line to the de Grandisons, who in 1309 were granted a licence to crenellate by King Edward II. By 1375 the castle was in the hands of Hugh Waterton. An Inquisition on Hugh de Waterton dated 1420 details the castle buildings as: a hall with buttery and pantry; a great chamber above; a parlour; a chapel; several other chambers; a kitchen, bakehouse and brewery; stables and barns; a lower and outer gate, both with chambers over; two mills and a deer park of 144 acres. Another Inquisition, of 1433, lists the deer park as 1,000 acres enclosed.

The castle continued to be used by the Abrahall family, who gained possession of the castle in the 15th century. The last male heir of the Eaton branch of the Abrahall family was the Revd. George Abrahall, who died in 1673; his co-heirs divided the property.

Second possible site of Eaton Tregoz Castle

OS grid ref: SO 6120 2870

This site is close to the hamlet of Hole-in-the-Wall on the opposite bank of the River Wye from Foy, and not far from the other suggested castle site.

A description of 1805 notes that "At a place called Hole-in-the-Wall are the remains of some ancient building, consisting of the foundation of some well built walls with huge stones lying about. The site is now occupied by many cottages" (Brayly & Britain, Description of Herefordshire). Kelly's Directory for 1891 is more definite: "There once existed here a strongly fortified castle, dismantled and left ruinous during the feudal wars; only a portion of its walls now remains". It has been suggested that Court Farm and the adjoining cottages are all parts of the "castle" complex. The Archaeological Research Section of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club made visits in 1971 and 1995, and noticed many re-used dressed stones. Court Farm contains a stone-vaulted cellar and an ogee-arched doorway. In 1971, dressed stones found in the area included transoms and others with moulding and chamfers, some of which were being used as kerb stones.

References

Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, Herefordshire Archaeological News, Volumes 25 (1971) and 64 (1995)
Revd. Charles J. Robinson, The Castles of Herefordshire and their Lords, re-published edition, undated