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Linton: Eccleswall Castle

HER no. 802, OS grid ref: SO 6527 2330

Eccleswall is in the extreme south-east of the county. Eccleswall Castle is south-east of the Roman town of Ariconium and four miles east of Ross-on-Wye.

Description of the site

The earthworks of the castle have been much damaged by cart tracks. The mound is flat topped with no scarp to the west. There are the remains of a ditch on the south side and on the east is a slight terrace.

Nothing now exists of the castle except for a grass-grown moat and low earthen mound. Some fragments of masonry built into the farmhouse now occupying the site are thought to have come from the castle, as are some stones present in the garden wall.

History

In the Domesday Survey Linton is recorded as being held by King William. It consisted of five hides and paid the fourth part of one night's revenue. There were ten villagers and five smallholders with twelve ploughs (Frank and Caroline Thorn (eds.), Domesday Book 17: Herefordshire, 1,1, Phillimore, 1983).

In the reign of Henry II Richard de Talbot obtained a grant of lordship of Eccleswall and Linton; this would have given him licence to erect a castle although there is no record of his having done so.

1216: King John is thought to have visited the castle in this year.

During the insurrection of the Welsh leader Llywelyn, Gilbert Talbot the Second was one of the king's most loyal supporters. He died in 1274 leaving a son, Richard, as his heir. This Richard signed himself Dominus de Eccleswall in a famous letter sent to the Pope, in which the Barons supported the right of King Edward to the superior power in Scotland.

Richard's son Gilbert was one of the Herefordshire Barons who supported Thomas, Earl of Lancaster in the execution of Piers Gaveston and in the impeachment of the Despensers. Under the rule of Edward III he was made Lord Chamberlain to the King and Justice of South Wales. He also obtained the privilege of free warren in the manors of Eccleswall and Credenhill in the county.

1342: The Talbots obtained ownership of Goodrich Castle and Sir Richard Talbot (son of the previous Sir Gilbert) moved the family seat to this larger and grander castle.

1616: Eccleswall Castle remained in the ownership of the Talbots until this year, when Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury died without male heir and the castle passed to his second daughter Lady Elizabeth, wife of Henry Grey, 8th Earl of Kent.

1718: The estates of the Earl of Kent were sold to George Bonnar. Eccleswall was soon after purchased by Lord Ashburton.

A substantial farmhouse now stands on the site where Eccleswall castle once would have stood. Traces of the original building are too slight to form a basis on which to estimate its size and extent.