Reports of Newbury Castle have been vastly overstated. It is unfortunate for the town, which has always displayed the building with pride on its coat of arms. It has recently been shown that there is only one definite record of the castle's existence. John D'Earley's biographically poem, "The History of William the Marshal," gives the fullest known account of the castle's besieging by King Stephen in 1153. Subsequent references made by Henry of Huntingdon and Gervase of Canterbury would seem to be drawn directly from this source.
The many unofficial castles erected in King Stephen's reign, both to aid and hinder his cause, were very lightweight motte and bailey affairs. The one at Newbury could have disappeared shortly after its capture. However, archaeological investigation has shown no signs of it around the traditional site, down at the Wharf, and references to the ruins in the early 17th century appear to relate to the cloth factory which was also sometimes called 'the Castle'. The real 'Newbury Castle' may have stood anywhere in the local area, though it was probably the stronghold at Hamstead Marshall.
|Text: © Nash Ford Publishing 2003. All Rights Reserved.|