STAPLETON CASTLE

Stapleton Castle was built in the twelfth century by Baldwin de Meisy. Also known as Stapeleton-in-Legharness Castle, it was probably built to provide security for the manor following the outbreak of the civil war between Stephen and Matilda over the English succession.

History

 

Stapleton Castle stands on high ground overlooking the Cound Brook, a waterway that connected the site to the River Severn, and also commanded a major road to Shrewsbury. A small manor was recorded there in the Domesday survey on 1086 when it was held by tenants of Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury. By the mid-twelfth century it was in the hands of Baldwin de Meisy and it was probably he who built the castle, possibly influenced by the Anarchy, the civil war between Stephen and Matilda over the English succession.

 

The castle consists of a circular motte with a flat summit approximately twenty metres in diameter which would have been topped with a timber tower and/or palisade. The mound was surrounded by a ditch. No bailey has yet been located but could well have been in the area now occupied by St John's Church.

 

Also known as Stapeleton-in-Legharness Castle, it was held by Baldwin de Meisy's descendants who took the surname de Stapleton. Records show that it was in the hands of King John in 1207 but went out of use no later than the early fourteenth century. A fortified manorial site, one mile south-west of the castle, was probably its direct successor. This was held by the Stapleton family, who held a number of prestigious offices including Sheriff of Shropshire in 1391 and 1441, until the male line of the family ended with the death of Sir John Stapleton in 1450.

 

 

Bibliography

 

Cranage, D.H.S (1908). An Architectural Account of the Churches of Shropshire.

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 English Historical Documents Vol 3 (1189-1327).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

Eyton, R.W (1887). Antiquities of Shropshire.

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

Historic England (1995). Castle motte 50m south east of St John the Baptist's Church, List entry 1013492. Historic England, London.

Montgomerie (1924). Ancient Earthworks. VCH Worcestershire.

Salter, M (2000). Castles of Shropshire. Folly Publications, Malvern.

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

What's There?

Stapleton Castle survives as an overgrown earthwork motte. It is found within the grounds of St John’s church, a structure built concurrently with the castle (although substantially rebuilt in later centuries).

Stapleton Motte. The castle's motte is now heavily wooded.

Motte Summit. Five grave markers have been set upon the motte's summit.

St John the Baptist Church. The church was probably built within the bailey of Stapleton Castle. A church was recorded on the site in 1086 but the current structure dates from circa 1190 and was remodelled in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Getting There

Stapleton Castle is found on an unnamed road accessed from the A49. On-road car parking is possible directly outside the church.

Stapleton Castle

SY5 7EH

52.635399N 2.783060W