Dymock Castle Tump, which is also known as Aylesmore Castle, was an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification that was probably raised in the mid-twelfth century by Robert, Earl of Gloucester. It guarded a key road connecting the Welsh Marches with Gloucester.
Dymock Castle, which is also known as Castle Tump or Aylesmore Castle, was built to command a (formerly Roman) road connecting central Wales and the Welsh Marches with Gloucester. It may have been constructed in the late eleventh century but it seems more likely it was raised following the outbreak of the Anarchy, the civil war between Matilda and Stephen over the English succession. When that conflict started in 1139, Matilda's military commander was Robert, Earl of Gloucester. Whilst he could command extensive support across South Wales and South West England, Gloucester itself was uncomfortably close to the Midlands where support for Stephen was strong. Accordingly Dymock Castle was probably raised by Robert as part of a defensive scheme designed to protect Gloucester and its hinterland.
The castle was an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification. The steeply side motte would have been topped by a timber tower and/or palisade but, with its summit consisting of a flattened diameter of just eight metres, this would have been a relatively small structure. The base of the motte was surrounded by a wet ditch fed from a fresh water spring. The castle’s bailey extended to the south and is now occupied by Castle Tump house.
Little is known about the history of the site. The first recorded reference, which refers to the castle of 'Dimoc', dates from 1148 when Robert granted it to William de Braose, another Marcher Lord. He held it until 1154 by which time the Anarchy had ended following the accession of Matilda's son, Henry II. He commenced restoring Royal authority and suppressed castles that had been constructed without the King's authorisation during the civil war. It is likely Dymock Castle was one of the structures destroyed at this time. Given its prominent position on the Gloucester road, it is believed the motte may have served as a meeting place for Botloes Hundred. The present house, which occupies the former castle's bailey, was built in the seventeenth century.
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Dymock Castle Tump survives as an impressive earthwork. The site is enclosed within private property and shielded from view by a thick hedge. However, glimpses of the mound can be seen from Welsh House Lane.
Dymock Castle. The steeply sided motte would have been topped by a small timber tower and/or palisade. The bailey extended to the south (left of the motte). Its perimeter is marked by the treeline.
Castle Site. The view of the castle is hidden behind a thick hedge. Adjacent to the motte is Castle Tump house, a timber frame structure built in the seventeenth century.