Thornbury Castle

When and why was the site first created?

  • It was near to an ancient fort, and the earthworks of this remain near the A38; this provided settlers with some basic defence and a good vantage point across the land.

  • The area had a good water supply from streams coming off the River Severn; this drew people to settle there because they had easy access to water for drinking, fishing and powering mills.

  • The area had fertile, estuarine soil, meaning that crops could grow, producing a good supply of food for settlers.

  • Filnore Wood was nearby and provided an abundance of wood that would have provided fuel and building materials for settlers.

  • A Roman road (the current A38) ran nearby.

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What evidence do we have about the manor house?

  • Archaeological findings at the site.

  • Surveys from the 14th and 16th century - may have been exaggerated for tax reasons.

  • A mention of the manor house in a description by John Leland in 1541.

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What did the manor house look like?

  • Most sources agree that it was mostly made of oak timber.

  • It had a hall with a tiled floor.

  • There were two floors.

  • There were rooms jutting out from the main hall.

  • There appears to have been an external stone staircase.

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Who owned the manor house?

  • The manor house was owned by many noble families (and even Kings) during its existence.

  • In the Medieval period of time, it was owned by the Stafford family.

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Who was present in the manor house?

  • The Lord and Lady.

  • The household (people who did various jobs in the house).

  • The Bailiff and Reeve.

  • Peasants.

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The turning point/importance

The manor house was important locally as a place where local issues were settled and a base from which the Lord of the manor could manage his estate.

The manor house was important nationally when it was a base for soldiers to control rebellions in Wales, and possibly the location of a plot to dethrone King Richard III.

TURNING POINT - Lord of the manor, Edward Stafford, got a licence from the king to build a castle at the site.

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