The earthworks of a motte-and-bailey castle built upon a natural knoll. The site offers good views over the surrounding area and is accessed via an adjacent public right of way.
NO OFFICIAL SITE
Car Parking Option
Notes: The castle is found between the villages of Upper and Lower Brailes off Castle Street Lane. It is not sign-posted but the earthworks are visible from the road. A small lay-by provides sufficient parking for one car.
Brailes Castle was an earth and timber motte-and-bailey castle built in the late eleventh or early twelfth century to administer the adjacent manor. Little is known about its history and it seems to have had a relatively short period of occupation.
HISTORY OF BRAILES CASTLE
Brailes has been an important location for thousands of years due to its proximity to the nearby River Stour, which provided access through Warwickshire, and the Fosse Way - the major Roman Road between the South West and Lincoln. Such a well connected site means it is possible then that the high ground that is today known as Castle Hill was fortified long before the Normans first arrived in England. The remains visible today however appear to be Norman although little is known about the structure and its origins are uncertain. Known as Brailes Castle, although it is actually located adjacent to the village of Upper Brailes, the remains are typical of a motte-and-bailey fortification. The mound occupies a natural knoll which has been artificially scarped to create a flat shaped platform on its summit presumably for a timber palisade and/or tower. The motte is set within an oval shaped earthwork presumed to be a bailey whilst a series of complex earthworks to the north and west are assumed to be outworks with either a defensive or economic function.
Prior to the Norman Conquest Brailes was owned by Edwin, Earl of Mercia and was retained by William I who held it at the time of the Domesday Book (1086). By 1130 it had been granted to Roger Beaumont, Earl of Warwick as a charter of that year recorded that he had to pay 200 marks to the King for hides from the manor of Brailes (ut rex perdonaret ei superplus' hidarum de manerio de Brailes). It seems likely it was he who built the castle to protect and administer Brailes which, by contemporary accounts, was an important manor that generated significant income for the Earldom. Indeed by 1315 the manor was only worth marginally less than the main seat at Warwick itself. Despite this prosperity however it seems the castle was only occupied for a relatively short period. It was never rebuilt in stone and was probably abandoned no later than the thirteenth century.