NEWCASTLE CASTLE

Looking for a different Newcastle Castle? Try Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Newcastle Bridgend or Newcastle Emlyn.

Newcastle Crugyn Castle was a small motte fortification located on the banks of the River Clun. Who raised it and when is uncertain but it was probably an outpost linked with Clun Castle. Its purpose may have been to control movement along the river and/or to provide protection for agricultural workers in this once hostile border country.

History

 

Newcastle in Shropshire is a small hamlet on the River Clun. A nearby artificially created mound is now generally accepted as being the remains of an earth and timber motte fortification which has become known as Newcastle Crugyn. The fortification was presumably raised in the late eleventh or twelfth century as an outstation of Clun Castle which was the caput of the region. The site may originally have been called Matefelun, in which case it was built in 1195 when William de Boterell was granted 10 marks to fortify his house there. The origins of the name Newcastle are unclear. Whilst the obvious answer may be the construction of the (new) castle itself, it could equally have originated from the (Iron Age) forts at Fron and Castle Idris that overlook the site.

 

The castle was located directly adjacent to the River Clun, a key communications artery that provided access east to Ludlow. The site was overlooked by (significantly) higher ground to both the north and south but neither of these rises were close enough to pose a threat to the castle as the effective range of contemporary artillery was less than 200 metres. The fortification itself consisted solely of a motte which may originally have been surrounded by a ditch. There is no evidence of any bailey - it is possible this may have been destroyed by ploughing but it is equally likely it never existed as the fortification's purpose was probably simply to control movement along the river before arrival at Clun and//or to protect agricultural/economic assets. It is likely the castle was abandoned no later than the late thirteenth century.

 

 

Bibliography

 

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 English Historical Documents Vol 3 (1189-1327).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

Duckers, P (2006). Castles of Shropshire. Tempus, Stroud.

Eyton, R.W (1860). Antiquities of Shropshire. John Russell Smith, London.

Hogg, A.H.A and King, D.J.C (1963). Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list. Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112.

Jackson, M.J (1988). Castles of Shropshire. Shrewsbury.

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

Salter, M (2001). The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire. Folly Publications, Malvern.

What's There?

Newcastle Crugyn Castle is located on private land with no public access but the site can be seen from the adjacent road. There is public access to the hillfort at Fron.

High Ground. The castle was overlooked by high ground to the north which starts a steep rise at a range of around 200 metres from the motte. This was just outside the effective range of twelfth century artillery. Although it seems a sub-optimal position for the fortification, the priority was access to the river which provided a means of embarking supplies as well as a key source of potable water.

Oak Tree. The motte is in a poor state of preservation as it has suffered some subsidence and has been undermined by a badger sett. An old Oak tree has also caused damage and established itself on the summit.

Getting There

Newcastle is located on the B4368, three miles to the west of Clun. There is a small lay-by nearby.

Car Parking Option

SY7 8QW

52.433736N 3.109679W

Newcastle Castle

No Postcode

52.431293N 3.113514W