Tamworth Castle

  • Tamworth, Staffordshire
  • OSGB – SK 2062 0392
  • Scheduled Monument.
  • Grade I Listed Building.


Medieval motte castle with the motte measuring 111ft in diameter with its base measuring240ft in diameter.

Saxon Holy Well on the site.


910-921                         Site fortified.

1066                              c: Held by Robert le Despenser.

1100                              Henry I held his Court at the castle.

1114-1115                     Robert Marmion, who had married a relative of Robert le Despenser, inherited the castle.

1139                              Legend has it that the 3rd Baron Marmion was visited by the ghost of St. Editha in the room now called the ‘haunted room’.

1158                              Henry II visited the castle with Thomas Becket.

1180’s                           Curtain wall built.

12th C                            Stone keep and tower built.

1215                              Sir Robert Marmion, 5th Baron, sided against King John. The king sent an army to destroy the castle.

1257                              Henry III visited the castle.

1291                              Philip Marmion, 8th Baron, died and the castle went to Lay Jane Marmion.

1291                              After: The castle was granted by Edward I to Sir Alexander de Fravile, relative of Lady Jane Marmion, when she died.

13th C                            Arched doorway in keep dates from.

1325                              Edward II visited the castle.

1423                              Passed to Thomas Ferrers of Groby when the last of the de Freville line died out.

15th C                            Early: Banqueting Hall built.

1541                              Itinerary of John Leland: Derelict.

1619                              James I stayed at the castle with Prince Charles, later Charles I.

1621                              James I stayed at the castle.

1624                              James I stayed at the castle.

1642                              Civil War: Held by a Royalist garrison.

1643                              Oliver Cromwell seized the castle and installed Cpt. Waldyve Willington as Castallian following a two day siege. Orders were given for the demolition of the castle.

1645                              July:  Garrison included 10 officers and 77 soldiers commanded by Governor Waldyve Willington.

1649                              July: Some demolition took place.

1650                              The roof was repaired.

1688                              Inherited by the Shirley family of Chartley, when the female line of the Ferrers family married into them.

17th C                            House built within the walls. South wing added and an oak staircase.

1715                              Passed through marriage to the Compton family, Earls of Northampton.

1751                              Passed through marriage from the Campton family to the Townsend family of Raynham.

1783                              c: Extensive alterations carried out. The Banqueting Hall was whitewashed, covering up a mural of St. Lancelot de Luc and Sir Tarquin.

1783-1811                     Windows in the south wing removed by George, 2nd Marquis of Townsend.

18th C                            Neglected.

1807-1811                     Chimney added.

1828                              Sir Walter Scott stayed at the castle.

1897                              The last of the Townsend family owned the castle.

1897                              The Marquis of Townsend sold the castle to Tamworth Corporation for £3,000.

1899                              22nd May: Opened to the public.

19th C                            Additions included windows. The 2nd Marquis of Townsend rebuilt the second floor.

1953                              Field Investigation.

1972-1974                     Excavated

1976                              Field Investigation.

1977                              Bailey excavated

1986                              The door to the State Dining Room had its castings restored and some of the beams in the ceiling of the Banqueting Hall were replaced.

1987                              New floor laid in the Banqueting Hall.

1988                              The Princess Royal, Princess Anne visited the castle.

1989                              Excavated

1990                              The battlement wall walk was opened to the public.

1992                              The stone window mullions and transoms were reinstated.

1994                              Excavated  Unit.

1995                              Watching Brief

1995                              Watching Brief

1997                              Watching Brief

1998                              Watching Brief

1999                              Watching brief

2001                              Watching Brief

2003                              Architectural Survey


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