Weobley Castle

Venue Type & Location

Private Residence

Site Name: Weobly Castle
Location: Weobly
County: Herefordshire
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


Situated off the southern end of the village centre, on the edge of the limestone plateau which forms the Gower peninsula, Weobley Castle held a strategically ideal position for defence.

Castle plans show it had a rectangular keep with round corner towers and walls 12 feet in thickness. The outer walls had a gateway to the north and six round towers. Encircling the castle was a deep fosse.

Two dwelling houses were located north of the keep in the bailey area, which was oval-shaped and 75 meters long and 65 meters wide. A large rampart survives on the east side and a ditch on the west side.

The series of buildings which comprised the castle were grouped around an open courtyard entered from the west, with the hall located on the north side and the private quarters between the hall and the gateway. The completion of the hall and adjoining buildings dates to the early 14th c.

The hall was located over a basement kitchen and was entered through a porch block which was added late in the 15th c.

The entrance to the hall from the lobby was through a moulded stone arch. The fireplace was situated on the north side, opposite the window opening which was used to light the dais end. It would have resembled the opening on the east window.

This east window was made of two tall lights with cusped, weather-worn heads retaining its chamfered mullion and transom. The window bay had moulded jams and a rear-arch, wide enough for a seat on each side.

Externally it appears that the window, dating from the 14th c., was inserted into the older wall of the hall.

A small doorway was set between the fireplace and the window and other doorways led to rooms over the porch and into the turret.

Current Status

Some remains of the castle defences exist but none of the masonry walls and towers. The rampart of the bailey remains on the north, south and east sides. Traces of a fosse or moat surrounding the castle can still be seen.

History of the Venue

late 11th c. Weobley Castle built, probably by Roger de Lacy or his brother, Hugh.

1216 Castle rebuilt on a grand scale by Walter de Lacy II (d 1241).

1241 Inherited by Walter's eldest granddaughter and coheir, Margery, husband of John de Vernon.

by 1332 Castle inherited by Margery, daughter and coheir of Theobald de Vernon (d 1316), and her husband William le Blount (d 1337).

1356 Margery marries (as her third husband) Sir John de Crophill (d 1383).

1385 Sir Walter Devereux (d 1402) acquired the castle via marriage to Agnes (after the death of her mother), Sir John de Crophill's granddaughter. She married, thirdly, John Merbury (d 1438) of Lyonshall, Herefordshire, who was resident here in his later years. [Roskell et al]

1469--70 Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) resided at Weobley for fifteen months [DNB] under the wardship of Anne, sister of Walter Devereux, 2nd Baron Ferrers of Chartley (d 1485), and widow of William Herbert, 17th Earl of Pembroke.

early 16th c. Leland describes Weobley as 'a goodly castle, but somewhat in decay' and as 'a fair castle of my Lord Ferrers.'

1595 Robert Devereux, 19th Earl of Essex, leases the 'site of the castle of Weobley, with the castle ditch and the castle mill' to Richard Tomkins of Monnington, Herefordshire for 21 years.

1665 A sketch by Silas Taylor shows the elevation of two 'dwellings' to the north of the keep, at the base of the motte and within the castle walls.

1674 Frances, Duchess of Somerset, sister and coheir of Robert Devereux, 20th Earl of Essex, dies, bequeathing Weobley to Thomas Thynne, husband of her granddaughter, Frances Finch.

1940s During the Second World War, the interior of the bailey was used for huts, an air raid shelter and a tennis court.

Patrons who owned this venue

Name Dates Titles
Devereux, Walter 1411-1459 Knight
Devereux, Walter 1432-1485 2nd Baron , Knight , Knight of the
Rhys, Griffith ap 1479-1521 Knight

Bibliographic Sources

  • Royal Commission on Historical Monuments England. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire. 3 vols. London: HMSO, 1931–4.
  • Salter, Mike. The Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Malvern, Worc: Folly Publications, 1989.
  • Shoesmith, Ron. A Guide to Castles and Moated Sites in Herefordshire. Little Logaston: Logaston P, 1996.
  • Thomas, W.G. Weobley Castle. London: HMSO, 1971.