Record Details

NHER Number:8671
Type of record:Building
Name:Caister Castle and Caister Hall


A moated brick castle built by Sir John Fastolf in about 1432, and altered by the Paston family later in the 15th century. The castle stands on the site of an earlier manor house and chapel. The castle is divided into two courtyards, separated by a spur of the moat, and has a six storey tower in the northwest corner. The remains of the hall and domestic buildings are still standing. The remains of buried walls are visible as parchmarks on aerial photographs. Detailed building accounts from the 15th century record the various rooms and buildings within the complex. The 15th century outbuildings of the castle, which may have formed part of an outer court, are now known as Caister Hall which was rebuilt in the 1830s. A 15th century gold betrothal ring was found in the moat in 1881. Between December 2009 and March 2010 an archaeological watching brief was conducted during clearing, dredging and restoration works to the moat. The south-west facing wall of the castle was observed in tests pits at a depth of 0.7m below the water level of the moat. There was also evidence for significant demolition and collapse of the wall that may have taken place during the 1700s.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5044 1226
Map Sheet:TG51SW

Full description

The castle was built on the site of an existing castle by Sir John Falstoph between AD 1432 and 1443 with finishing touches being added in 1468 when in possession of Sir John Paston. The castle is unusually well documented with the building accounts from 1432-5 surviving. Parts of the north wall and the solar tower survive to full height and emerge directly from the moat. The solar tower is unusual at that time as it is built almost entirely from brick. The solar tower is 96ft high and is attached to the end of the former hall of which the gable-end survives. In the lower part of the solar tower are some early gun ports.
See (S1).
S. Howard (NLA), 15 June 2010.

The hall rebuilt mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is possibly site of chapel or college.

19th century.
Neolithic flint found.

Medieval ring found

Post medieval jug found.

Human skull found
See details in file.
E. Rose (NAU) 27 September 1982.

June 2005. Norfolk NMP.
Earthworks, parchmarks and standing walls associated with Caister Castle are visible on aerial photographs (S1 and (S2). The castle is centred on TG 5048 1229.
The castle moat is rectangular in plan and is largely extant and water filled. It has external dimensions of 122m by 78m and is up to 18m wide. Two spurs from the main moat divide the inner court in the southwest from an outer courtyard to the northeast. These are not extant and are visible on aerial photographs as shallow earthworks and cropmarks (S1) and (S2). A parchmark crossing between these two infilled spurs appears to mark the position of a bridge or causeway. This parchmark continues along the northeast side of these sections of former moat indicting the presence of a track or road within the courtyard. Positive cropmarks cutting across the area of the bridge or causeway may represent drains leading into the moat. A single linear parchmark, probably marking the position of a wall is present in the eastern part of the outer courtyard. It extends for 11m on a northwest to southeast alignment parallel to the outer wall of the courtyard and may be part of a lean-to type structure.
Extant remains of walls are clearly visible around the inner courtyard of the castle (S1) and (S2). These are the exterior walls of a range of buildings that surrounded the courtyard. Two square parchmarks, representing buried walls, are present either side of the causeway or bridge leading to the outer courtyard (S1). The castle itself is visible on a large number of aerial photographs (S1) to (S9).
J. Albone (NMP), 13 June 2005.

In the early 1970s the Tree Walk from the Battersea Park Festival gardens, London, was moved to the castle. If it still exists it is an important relic of the Festival of Britain 1951.
E. Rose (NLA), 22 May 2006.

The castle is now the site of a motor museum.
M. Dennis (NLA), 9 November 2006.

11 March 2009.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning borehole works, de-silting and brickwork repointing.
See (S10) for more details.
H. White (NLA), 29 April 2009.

December 2009 - March 2010. Watching brief.
The south-west facing wall of the castle was observed in tests pits at a depth of 0.7m below the water level of the moat. The presence of very hard mortar could indicate the use of hydraulic lime which would have been water resistant and fell out of general use in the medieval period to be reintroduced in the 17th century. There was also evidence for significant demolition and collapse of the wall that may have taken place during the 1700s. The presence of rubble probably of AD 1700 to 1800 in date indicates that this area of the moat had not been dredged in recent years and that the moat probably was selectively dredged in the past. Other parts of the moat indicate that it was probably used as a rubbish dump for domestic waste such as animal bones. The moat was extensively remodelled in the mid to late 19th century according to 19th century maps with the central moat dividing the inner and outer courts of the castle being infilled and part of the moat on the south-east side was also altered. The oldest artefact recovered was a mid to late 17th century clay pipe.
See (S12).
S. Howard (NLA), 19 August 2010.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • CASTLE (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 2050 AD)
  • CHANTRY COLLEGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COURTYARD HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FOOTBRIDGE (Cold War to Unknown - 1953 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Unknown date)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BRICK (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1650 AD to 1699 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Barnes, H. D. and Simpson, W. D. 1952. The Building Accounts of Caister Castle (A.D. 1432-1435). Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXX pp 178-186.
---Publication: Archaeologia.
---Article in Serial: Barnes, Simpson. 1952. Caister Castle.. Antiquaries Journal. Vol XXXII, pp 35-51. pp 35-51.
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
---Publication: Brown, A.. 1954. English Medieval Castles. pp.131-2.
---Serial: Bryant, T.H.. Norfolk Churches..
---Monograph: Liddiard, R.. 2000. Landscapes of lordship: Norman castles and the countryside in medieval Norfolk, 1066-1200.. pp 113-115.
---Article in Serial: Glendenning, S. E. 1952. Caister Castle, Norfolk. Notes on the Bricks and Workmanship of the Castle Walls. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXX pp 186-188.
---Photograph: Ashley, H..
---Photograph: National Buildings Record. Caister Castle (AA51/3159, 3160, 3162).
---Illustration: Cotman, J. S.. Falstaff's Tower, Caistor Castle.
---Unpublished Document: Schedule Report.
---Unpublished Document: 1955. Great Yarmouth and District Archaeological Society notes.
---Article in Serial: Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Vol XIV, p 123?.
---Article in Serial: Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Vol XXXVI, p 22.
---Publication: Martin, T.. 1726. Church Notes.
---Article in Serial: Palmer, C. J. 1872. The Star Hotel, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VII pp 249-255. p 255.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Unique to Norfolk. 16 March.
---Article in Serial: Sladen, H. G. 1980. Caister Castle. Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 295-298.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Caister.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Caister (West).
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S.. Historic building report for Caister Castle, Castle Lane, West Caister, Norfolk..
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1983. NHER TG 5012S-U (NLA 137/ATQ21-23) 29-JUL-1983.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1992. NHER TG 5012Y-Z (NLA 311/GMB7-8) 15-JUL-1992.
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1995. NHER TG 5012AA-AD (NLA 354/HEG26-29) 27-JUL-1995.
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1974. NHER TG 5012A-F (NLA 5/ABF19-24) 20-JUN-1974.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1979. NHER TG 5012K (NLA 73/AMS16) 17-JUL-1979.
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1990. NHER TG 5012N (NLA 92/APS7) 11-JUL-1990.
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1979. NHER TG 5012P (AAF 200/18) 30-JUL-1979.
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1984. NHER TG 5012V (NLA 154/AXK9) 16-JUL-1984.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1956. NHER TG 5012AH (CUCAP SP82) 28-MAY-1956.
<S11>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2009. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S12>Unpublished Document: Green, F.. 2010. NAU Archaeology Report No. 2318. An archaeological watching brief at Caister Castle Moat, Norfolk.. August.
<S13>Leaflet: Ernest D. Smith ARIBA. The story of Caister Catle & Car Collection. Posterity Plates, Melton Mowbray.

Related records

8688Parent of: Medieval to post medieval brickworks, Caister Brick Pits (Monument)

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