Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle

Infobox Historic building

caption=The gate to the inner bailey of Beeston Castle, with a modern bridge for visitors
name=Beeston Castle
location_town=Beeston, Cheshire
client=Ranulph de Blondeville
construction_start_date=c. 1220
style=Bailey castle

Beeston Castle is a castle in Beeston, Cheshire, England (gbmapping|SJ537593), perched on a rocky sandstone crag nowrap|convert|350|ft|m|0|sigfig=2Fry, "The David and Charles Book of Castles", p. 186.] above the Cheshire Plain. It was built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, (1170–1232), on his return from the Crusades. In 1237, Henry III took over the ownership of Beeston, and it was kept in good repair until the 16th century, when it was considered to be of no further military use, although it was pressed into service again in 1643, during the English Civil War. The castle was partly demolished in 1646, to prevent its further use as a stronghold. During the 18th century the site was used as a quarry.

It is rumoured that treasure belonging to Richard II lies undiscovered in the castle grounds, but the many searches that have been carried out have failed to find any trace of it. The castle, now in ruins, is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. [cite web |url= |title=Beeston Castle: Sources |accessdate=2008-03-17 |publisher=Pastscape ] It is owned by English Heritage.


Beeston crag is one of a chain of rocky hills stretching across the Cheshire Plain. Pits dating from the 4th millennium BC indicate the site of Beeston Castle may have been inhabited or used as a communal gathering place during the Neolithic period. [Brennand and Hodgson, "The Prehistoric Period Resource Assessment", p. 32.] Archaeologists have discovered Neolithic flint arrow heads on the crag, as well as the remains of a Bronze Age community, and of an Iron Age hill fort.cite web |url= |title=Beeston Castle |publisher=English Heritage |accessdate=2008-02-19] The rampart associated with the Bronze Age activity on the crag has been dated to around 1270–830 BC; seven circular buildings were identified as being either late Bronze Age or early Iron Age in origin.Brennand and Hodgson, "The Prehistoric Period Resource Assessment", p. 37.] It may have been a specialist metalworking site. The siting of the castle's outer bailey walls was chosen to take advantage of the fortifications remaining from the earlier Iron Age rampart.cite web |title=Beeston: Castle of the Rock |last=Hickey |first=Julia |year=2005 | |url= |accessdate=2008-03-17]


Beeston was built by Ranulph de Blondeville, 4th Earl of Chester, as an impregnable stronghold and a symbol of power. In medieval documents the castle is described as "Castellum de Rupe", the Castle on the Rock. It was one of two major castles built by Ranulph in the 1220s, shortly after his return from the Fifth Crusade, the other being Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire. [Fry, "The David and Charles Book of Castles", p. 191.] Unlike many other castles of the period, Beeston does not have a motte as its last line of defence. Instead the natural features of the land together with massive walls, strong gate houses, and carefully positioned towers made the baileys themselves the stronghold. The defences consisted of two parts. Firstly, a small inner bailey, or fortified wall, on the summit of the hill, with a sheer drop on three sides and a defensive ditch up to convert|30|ft|m|0 deep in places cut into the rock on the fourth side. Secondly, an outer bailey was built on the lower slopes, with a massive gatehouse protected by a convert|16|ft|m|0 wide and convert|10|ft|m|0 deep ditch.cite web |title=Beeston Castle: Information for Teachers |publisher=English Heritage |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-03-17]

The outer bailey was roughly rectangular, with convert|6|ft|m|0 thick walls faced in sandstone and infilled with rubble. The walls, parts of which still remain, contain a number of D-shaped towers, an innovation in English castles at that time. The towers allowed defenders to fire across the walls as well as forwards, and their open-backed design meant that they would not offer cover to any attackers who gained access to the outer bailey. The inner bailey was situated on the rocky summit at the western end of the crag.

To provide the castle's inhabitants with a supply of fresh water two wells were dug into the rock, one of them, at convert|370|ft|m|0 deep, one of the deepest castle wells in England. Ranulph de Blondeville himself is thought to have been responsible for the castle's design, inspired by the fortifications he had seen during his time crusading in the Holy Land, but he did not live to see its completion.

Royal castle




*cite journal |author=Brennand, Mark and Hodgson, John |date=2006 |title=The Prehistoric Period Resource Assessment |journal=Archaeology North West|volume=8 |pages=23-58 |issn=0962-4201
*cite book |last=Dore |first=R. N.|year=1966|title=The Civil Wars in Cheshire: (Volume 8 of "A History of Cheshire" edited by J. J. Bagley)|publisher=Cheshire Community Council
*cite book |last=Fry |first=Plantagenet Somerset |authorlink=Plantagenet Somerset Fry |title=The David & Charles Book of Castles |publisher=David & Charles |year=1980 |isbn=0-7153-7976-3
*cite book |last=Ormerod |first=G. |coauthors=(ed. Helsby T.) |title=History of the County Palatine and City of Chester |edition=2nd edition|year=1882

Further reading

*cite book |last=Osborne |first=K.|title =Beeston Castle |publisher=English Heritage |year=1995 |isbn=1-85074-541-2

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beeston Castle — p3w1 Beeston Castle Beeston Castle, Südansicht …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Beeston — may refer to People * Beeston (surname) Places United Kingdom *Beeston, Bedfordshire *Beeston, Cheshire **Beeston Castle *Beeston, Leeds West Yorkshire * In Norfolk: **Beeston, Norfolk **Beeston Regis **Beeston St Andrew **Beeston St Lawrence… …   Wikipedia

  • Beeston — ist der Name folgender Orte: Beeston (Bedfordshire) Beeston (Cheshire) Beeston (Norfolk) Beeston (Nottinghamshire) eines Stadtteils von Leeds, siehe Beeston (Leeds) Beeston ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alfred Felix Landon Beeston… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Beeston, Cheshire — Beeston is a village and civil parish in the Chester District in the county of Cheshire in the north of England. It is south of Tarporley, and close to the Shropshire Union Canal.Beeston Castle nearby is a spectacular clifftop ruin in the care of …   Wikipedia

  • Castle — This article is about medieval fortifications. For other uses, see Castle (disambiguation). For a list of all castles, see List of castles. For similar but unrelated structures in Japan, see Japanese castle …   Wikipedia

  • Castle class corvette — The Castle class corvettes were an updated version of the much more numerous Flower class corvettes of the Royal Navy, and started appearing during late 1943. They were equipped with radar as well as asdic.The Admiralty had decided to cease… …   Wikipedia

  • Beeston, Nottinghamshire — Infobox UK place official name= Beeston country= England region= East Midlands population= 21,000 (2001 census) os grid reference= SK5236 latitude= 52.91891 longitude= 1.22807 post town= NOTTINGHAM postcode area= NG postcode district= NG9 dial… …   Wikipedia

  • Castle College Nottingham — Infobox University name = Castle College Nottingham established = 2006 type = Public FE principal = Nick Lewis vice principal = Sarah Dennis vice principal = Keith Dennis vice principal = Simon Eaton city = Nottingham state = Notts country =… …   Wikipedia

  • Castillo de Beeston — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Castillo de Beeston …   Wikipedia Español

  • Peckforton Castle — Infobox Historic building name = Peckforton Castle caption = Peckforton Castle from the courtyard showing the hall and the round tower map type = Cheshire latitude = 53.1175 longitude = 2.6990 location town = Peckforton, Cheshire location country …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.