Aldford Castle

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Aldford Castle in Cheshire was built in the medieval period. Nothing survives above ground today, and the site consists of grassy earthworks, although below the surface are the remains of a stone castle.

At the time of the Domesday Survey the manor of Farndon, of which Aldford was probably a part, was valued at £6, making it one of the most valuable areas of Cheshire.[1][2] The first mention of the castle in medieval records is from a charter dated to 1276. When it was built, however, is uncertain. The Sites and Monuments record for Cheshire offers a mid12th century date for the foundation of the castle, though does not explain why.[3][4] Aldford's position close to the border between England and Wales was taken by historian B M C Husain as evidence that it was built in the late 11th century to protect the area conquered by the Normans from the Welsh to the west.[5] The buildings of Aldford Castle were initially timber, although later in the castle's history parts were rebuilt in stone. The tower on the mound at least was built in stone, and dates to the 13th century.[6]

Though archaeological investigations have the potential to provide information on issues such as the date Aldford Castle was founded and how long it was in use, it has been the subject of only small-scale works. The earliest such investigation was a dig performed by two schoolboys in 1959. The next excavations on the site were at least carried out by professional archaeologists, who in 2000 and 2002 opened multiple trenches. Finds from the work dated from the 13th century, but did not provide evidence for the founding of Aldford Castle as documents suggest the site is older.[7]  

References

  1. Swallow, Rachel (2012). “Landscape of Power: Aldford Castle, Cheshire”, Cheshire History Journal 52. p. 7.
  2. Husain, B. M. C. (1973). Cheshire under the Norman Earls, 1066–1237. Chester: Cheshire Community Council Publications Trust. p. 33.
  3. Swallow, “Landscapes of Power: Aldford Castle, Cheshire”, p. 9.
  4. Shaw, Mike & Clark, Jo (2003). Cheshire Historic Towns Survey: Aldford Archaeological Assessment. Chester: Cheshire County Council and English Heritage. p. 4.
  5. Husain, Cheshire under the Norman Earls, 1066–1237, p. 102.
  6. Swallow, “Landscapes of Power: Aldford Castle, Cheshire”, pp. 11–12.
  7. Shaw & Clark, Cheshire Historic Towns Survey: Aldford Archaeological Assessment, pp. 2–3.