History

 

Rochford Castle was a motte and bailey fortification raised during the latter half of the eleventh century. At the time of the Norman invasion the manor was held by Leofnoth, an individual who was also lord of the Herefordshire manors of Broadward, Clehinger and Eaton. Little is known about him nor his fate following the Norman Conquest but it seems likely the castle was imposed upon his estate by Richard le Scrope, Sheriff of Shropshire. He was a Norman Knight who had come to England in the late 1040s at the invitation of King Edward the Confessor and had raised several fortifications at this time including Homme Castle, Richard's Castle and Tenbury Wells Castle - all of which were part of an integrated scheme of fortifications designed to secure control of the River Teme. This system provided a militarised line from which to halt Welsh raids into England as well as to prevent the local populace from launching an insurgency against the Normans. Rochford was probably an extension of this scheme perhaps built due to the threat posed by the rebellion of Edric Silvaticus (Eric the Wild) in 1068.

 

The castle was built on the south bank of the river possibly near a ferry crossing point. The fortification would have been an earth and timber structure dominated by the motte. This would have been topped by a wooden palisade or tower whilst the base of the mound was protected by a ditch. No evidence remains of a bailey although it may have occupied the area to the south-west of the motte which is now the site of the parish church. Little is known of the castle's history and it is likely occupation was short-lived. By the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 it was held by Widard of Farlow, a minor landowner, which suggests the castle had been decommissioned by this time.

 

Bibliography

 

Dalwood, H (2010). Archaeological assessment of Tenbury Wells, Hereford and Worcester (including part of Burford, Shropshire).

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 English Historical Documents Vol 3 (1189-1327).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

Higham, R and Barker, P (1992). Timber Castles. Batsford.

Historic England (2015). Motte castle 50m north east of Rochford church Listing Number 1008393. 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?

Rochford Castle survives as an earthwork motte although this has been eroded by subsidence and erosion caused by the River Teme. There is no evidence of a bailey but this might have occupied the area on which the church of St Michael now stands.

Motte. The motte is the only portion of the castle to survive.

Church of St Michael. Parts of the parish church date from the twelfth century suggesting Rochford was a focal point for the surrounding area possibly due to an adjacent crossing over the River Teme

Court House Farm. A seventeenth century half-timber farmhouse stands near the castle site.

ROCHFORD CASTLE

Looking for a different Rochford Castle? Try Rochford Tower (nr Boston)

Rochford Castle was one of a series of motte-and-bailey fortifications built in the eleventh century along the length of the River Teme. Little is known about its history and it seems likely occupation was short-lived. A church was built nearby no later than the twelfth century.

Getting There

Rochford Castle is found off Rhyse Lane two miles east of Tenbury Wells. Take the turning marked 'Rochford Church 12th Century'. On-road parking is possible.

Car Parking

WR15 8NJ

52.313091N 2.544436W

Rochford Castle

No Postcode

52.313772N 2.545178W