History

 

Homme Castle, which is also known by the names Ham Castle or Home Castle, was a motte and bailey fortification. Its date of origin is not certain but it is interesting to note that the pre-Conquest owner of the manor, Osbern Fitz Richard, was not dispossessed following the conquest. Osbern was the son of Richard le Scrope, builder of Richard's Castle, who had been part of the retinue of Ralph of Mantes, Earl of the East Midlands when he had come to England in the late 1040s at the invitation of Edward the Confessor. That King sought Norman allies to offset the power of Earl Godwin and also wanted assistance securing the Welsh border. Accordingly the Normans were settled in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire where they built castles to secure their new holdings. It is entirely possible then that Homme Castle was one of these new fortifications and accordingly may date from before the Norman Conquest.

 

The Domesday Book (1086) points to Osbern prospering under the Normans as in the subsequent decades after 1066 he acquired numerous other estates throughout Worcestershire. If Homme Castle was not already in existence by this time, it may have been constructed soon after to secure control of the River Teme, a vital artery providing movement between Worcester and Ludlow. Whichever narrative is correct, a castle certainly existed there by 1207 as in that year King John ordered the then owner, Thomas de Galweya, to handover the fortification to William de Cauntelow.

 

The castle occupied a commanding position overlooking a bend in the River Teme. It was dominated by a flat-topped, oval shaped motte which was surrounded by a moat fed by a nearby stream. The bailey has been badly damaged by ploughing but traces of its ditches remain.

 

The last surviving reference to the castle dates from 1308. At some point thereafter it was replaced with a manor house which was presumably on the site of the current farm buildings. This clearly existed in 1605 when a fire reportedly damaged part of the structure but it was rebuilt and during the Civil War was held by Royalist forces. A diary of a local resident, Mistress Joyce Jeffreys, reported the site being used as a place of refuge when Parliamentary forces attacked the area and also recorded a visit to the site by General Gilbert Gerrard, Royalist Governor of Worcester. The manor house was burnt to the ground in 1887.

 

Bibliography

 

Douglas, D.C and Rothwell, H (ed) (1975). English Historical Documents Vol 3 (1189-1327). Routledge, London.

Historic England (2015). Motte and bailey (Ham Castle) Listing Number 1005278. Historic England, London.

King, C.D.J (1983). Castellarium anglicanum: an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands.  Kraus International Publications.

Montgomerie (1924). Ancient Earthworks. VCH Worcestershire.

Remfry, P.M (1999). Nine castles of Burford Barony, 1048 to 1308. SCS Publishing.

Salter, M (2000). Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Folly Publications, Malvern.

Williams, A and Martin, G.H (2003). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. Viking, London.

What's There?

Homme Castle consists of a motte located within a field. There is no public access to the earthwork but it can be seen from the adjacent road.

HOMME CASTLE

Homme Castle was probably raised in the late eleventh century in the form of a motte-and-bailey fortification. Its builder is unknown although it may have been Osbern son of Richard, a pre-Conquest landowner who seemingly prospered under the Normans. It was replaced by a manor house around the fourteenth century.

Getting There

Homme Castle is found on an unnamed road accessed from the B4204. Follow the road towards Shelsley Walsh and you will see Holme Castle Barns on your right just before the field with motte. A car park is available next to the field.

Homme Castle

WR6 6RR

52.255191N 2.389974W