Sources for Stokesay Castle

The following lists provide a summary of the main sources for our knowledge and understanding of Stokesay Castle.

Britton engraving of Stokesay Castle
An engraving of Stokesay Castle, published in John Britton's 'Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain' (1813) © Shropshire Archives (PR/2/487)

Written Primary Sources

The National Archives (TNA), Kew

Chancery records of inquisitions post mortem, TNA, C 133/7 no. 1 (5); TNA, C 134/55 no. 6; TNA, C135/24 no. 7 (2); TNA, C 136/19 no. 16; TNA, C 136/103 no. 11; TNA, C 136/67 no. 1 [basic information about the Stokesay estate, 1274–1398]

State papers, SP 46/59, 46/175 [papers of Henry Vernon, lord of Stokesay 1563–98; only briefly and intermittently illuminating about the castle but much more informative about its owner’s occupations and lifestyle] 

Shropshire Archives, Shrewsbury

Shropshire Archives, deeds 6000/7139, 7444, 7446, 7522, 7526, 8400, 9732, 9733, 9734 [accounts relating to Stokesay and the other Shropshire estates of the Ludlow family, sometimes containing references to the castle, and interesting information about the lives of its owners in the later Middle Ages]

1141/Box 178, Clark & Co (Major Phillips) [includes the will of Thomas Tunstall, 1788] 

Bodleian Library, Oxford

Craven deeds: a collection of nearly 300 volumes covering all the Craven estates is held in the Bodleian Library. Of particular importance for Stokesay are:

  • Vol 4 – inventories and other papers relating to the Civil War period
  • Vol 5 – includes payments for building works in 1640/41
  • Vol 14 – contains parliamentary survey of 1652
  • Vol 245 – records payments for works in 1855.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

Two files relating to Stokesay from 1901 (include reports on the building made in 1924, 1945 and 1954)

The licence to crenellate granted to Lawrence of Ludlow by Edward I in October 1291 is listed in Calendar of Patent Rolls 1281–1292, 450 (accessed 28 Sept 2012).

Visual Sources

  • Nathaniel and Samuel Buck, 1731, ‘The south west view of Stoke Castle, in the county of Salop’ (dubiously accurate in some of its details, including the water-filled moat)
  • Francis Grose, 1787, engraving of the castle from the east, in Antiquities of England and Wales, vol VIII, facing p 121 (shows fragments of the curtain wall standing higher than today to the south of the gatehouse, itself very inaccurately represented; accessed 28 Sept 2012)
  • Anon, 31 August 1790, watercolour drawing of the castle from the south-east, Shropshire Archives 6001/372/52 (shows the kitchen and well still in situ, but with no sign of the buildings attached to the solar block)
  • Revd Hugh Owen, 1804, engraving of the castle, in W Pearson, Select Views of the Antiquities of Shropshire (Shrewsbury, n.d.), unpaginated (shows the south tower, part of the hall, and the gatehouse, the last again with a portion of wall attached to it, to a height greater than today)
  • J Nightingale, 1813, engraving of the castle from the south west, in The Beauties of England and Wales, vol XIII, part I, facing p 255 (shows all the hall windows still intact)
  • J Britton, 1 December 1813, engraving of the castle from the south-west, in The Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain, vol IV (1814), facing p 144 (shows the fourth hall window replaced by the existing rectangular doorway; see illustration above)
  • TH Turner, Some Account of Domestic Architecture in England from the Conquest to the End of the Thirteenth Century, 2 vols (JH Parker, Oxford, 1851–3), 1.157–61 (accompanied by engravings of the east face and interior of the hall, the fireplace in the ‘solar’ of the top floor of the north tower, a chimney and three windows, along with a ground plan; accessed 28 Sept 2012)
  • F Stackhouse Acton, The Castles & Old Mansions of Shropshire (Shrewsbury, 1868) (illustrations including plate facing p 22, reproducing engravings of 1794, the castle yard with the well, kitchen and buildings adjoining the solar block, and 1815, showing the north tower and a few feet of adjoining wall considerably higher than they are now; accessed 28 Sept 2012).

Historic England Archive

Items in the Historic England Archive at Swindon relating to Stokesay Castle include:

  • drawing by Maurice B Adams of Stokesay Castle made in 1891, part of the Gordon Barnes collection of engravings (GBA01/03)
  • three photographic albumen print views of the castle dating from 1850–1900 (OP05937, OP05953 and OP05966)
  • photographs of the exterior, 1880–1900, by W Galsworthy Davie (AL0254)
  • photographs, 1880–1920 (AL0252)
  • photographs by J Watts, 1900–10 (OP0436–44)
  • ten postcards, 1900–35 (AL0226)
  • a sequence of photographs recording the castle’s state of preservation in 1927 (BB08136–8, BB008311–4, CC001123–34).

More details of these and many other items can be found in the online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed online, including a large collection of aerial photography; for a full search, please contact the search team.

Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archives price list.

Material Sources

The only artefacts from the castle seem to be the miscellaneous items displayed in a case on the top floor of the north tower. Most of them were found when the basement of the north tower was cleared out in the 19th century.

Secondary Literature

Those items marked * are key works that have significantly altered our understanding of the castle, summaries showing the state of knowledge and theories at particular dates, or works detailing recent discoveries. 

Published Works

Britton, J, The Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain, vol IV (1814), 142–3

Chitty, G, ‘The tradition of historic consciousness: the case of Stokesay Castle’, in Managing Historic Sites and Buildings, eds G Chitty and D Baker (London, 1999), 85–97

*Cordingley, RA, ‘Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: the chronology of its building’, Art Bulletin, 45 (1963), 91–107 [contains a full bibliography of earlier studies]

Cornish, CJ, ‘Stokesay Castle: a country house of the thirteenth century’, Country Life, 8 (1900), 714–18 [followed by further accounts of the castle, with photographs, in vols 15 (1904), 270–72, and 27 (1910), 594–605; no author named]

*Emery, A, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300–1500: East Anglia, Central England and Wales, vol II (Cambridge, 2000), 574–6

Eyton RW, Antiquities of Shropshire, vol V (1857), 29–43 [accessed 28 Sept 2012]

*Forrest, HE, The Story of Stokesay Castle (Shrewsbury, 1931)

Gissing, A, Ludlow and Stokesay, with Illustrations by Edmund H New (1905)

Grose, F, Antiquities of England and Wales, vol VIII (1787), 121–2 [accessed 28 Sept 2012]

Hall, M, ‘Stokesay Castle, Shropshire’, Country Life, 188 (1994), 72–7

James, H, English Hours (1905), 219–24 [first published in Portraits of Places (1883), 281–4; the visit to Stokesay occurs in the chapter ‘Abbeys and castles’, dated 1877]

*La Touche, JD, ‘Stokesay Castle’, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 1 (1878), 311–32

La Touche, JD, Stokesay Castle, Shropshire (Shrewsbury, n.d.) [guidebook, a lightly revised version of the above article]

La Touche, JD, ‘Stokesay Castle’, Archaeologia Cambrensis, 5th series, 16 (1899), 299–304 [accessed 28 Sept 2012]

Martin, EH, ‘The history of several families connected with Diddlebury I; the Baldwyns’, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 4th series, 2 (1912), 133–85, 299–385 [only the second part is relevant to Stokesay]

Mason, JFA, Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: a unique example of a fortified manor house of the thirteenth century now the property of Lady Magnus-Allcroft (Derby, 1964)

Matthew, HCG and Harrison, BH (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004) [entries on John Derby Allcroft, William Craven, Earl of Craven, Laurence of Ludlow and Henry Vernon]

Miles, DH, ‘Lists 81–85: tree ring dates from DH Miles and MJ Worthington’, Vernacular Architecture, 28 (1997), 159–63 [results for dendrochronological survey at Stokesay Castle at 160–61; accessed 28 Sept 2012]

Moran, M, Vernacular Buildings of Shropshire (Almeley, 2003)

Munby, J, Stokesay Castle (English Heritage guidebook, London, 1992)

Munby, J and Summerson, H, Stokesay Castle (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2002)

*Newman, J and Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, 2nd edn (New Haven and London, 2006), 610–14

Nightingale, J, The Beauties of England and Wales, vol XIII pt I (1813), pp 255–6

Pevsner, N, Buildings of England: Shropshire, 1st edn (London, 1958), pp 294–6

*Renn, D, ‘Two views from the roof: design and defence at Conwy and Stokesay’, in The Medieval Castle in Ireland and Wales: Essays in Honour of Jeremy Knight, ed JR Kenyon and K O’Conor (Dublin, 2003), pp 163–75

Stackhouse Acton, F, ‘Stokesay’, Archaeologia Cambrensis, new series 4 (1853), 39–42

Stackhouse Acton, F, The Garrisons of Shropshire during the Civil War, 1642–48 (Shrewsbury, 1867)

*Stackhouse Acton, F, The Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire (Shrewsbury, 1868) [accessed 28 Sept 2012]

Summerson, H, ‘Most renowned of merchants: the life and occupations of Laurence of Ludlow (d. 1294)’, Midland History, 30 (2005), 20–36

*Summerson, H, Stokesay Castle (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2009) [buy the guidebook]

Tipping, HA, ‘Stokesay Castle’, Country Life, 27 (1910), 594–605

*Tolley, R, Babington, C and Chitty, G, ‘Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: the repair of a major monument’, Transactions of the Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings, 15 (1990), 3–24

Train, C, The Sheepe Hath Payed for All: The Ludlows of Stokesay, Ludlow Historical Research Group, new series 2 (2005), Ludlow

Turner, TH, Some Account of Domestic Architecture in England from the Conquest to the End of the Thirteenth Century, 2 vols (Oxford, 1851–3), 1.157–61 [accessed 28 Sept 2012]

Wood, M, ‘Thirteenth-century domestic architecture in England’, Archaeological Journal, 105 (supplement) (1950)

Wood, M, The English Medieval House (London, 1965)

[Woolhope] Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club, 1886–1889 (1892), 169–70 [record of a visit to Stokesay 25 August 1887, containing what may be the earliest reference to the completion of Allcroft’s restoration of the castle]

Wright, T, Historical Sketch of Stokesay Castle, Salop (Ludlow, 1856)

Unpublished Reports

A copy of most of the reports listed below should be held by the relevant local Historic Environment Record (sometimes referred to as the Sites and Monuments Record). Many of these can be searched via the Heritage Gateway.

Bevan, L, Newton, E and Watt, S, ‘Medieval Tile Project Phase 2: Stokesay Castle, Shropshire’, BUFAU Report No. 046.10 (Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit, 1997)

Davies, J and Manning, T, ‘Wall Painting Condition Audit, Stokesay Castle, Shropshire’, English Heritage Research Department Report 26/1997 (Swindon, 1997)

Halstead, J, ‘An Archaeological Watching Brief at Stokesay Castle, Shropshire’, Report No. 692 (Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit, 2000)

Hannaford, HR, ‘An Archaeological Watching Brief at Stokesay Castle Pool, Shropshire, 2010’, Archaeology Service Report 278 (Archaeology Service, Shropshire County Council, 2010) [accessed 28 Sept 2012]

Hoverd, T, ‘Stokesay Castle: An Interim Report on a Watching Brief and Minor Excavation’ (City of Hereford Archaeology Unit, 1993)

Litherland, S, ‘A Short Report on Two Pieces of Archaeological Recording at Stokesay Castle, Shropshire, for English Heritage’ (Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit, 1998)

Morris, RK, ‘Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: Excavation of a Trench for a Telephone Cable. Interim Report on a Watching Brief’ (City of Hereford Archaeological Unit, 1993)

'step into englands story