Record Details

NHER Number:6620
Type of record:Monument
Name:Gresham Castle


The remains of a medieval castle. It was built by Sir Edmund Bacon after he was granted a licence to fortify in 1319, but stood on the site of an earlier castle. Very similar in shape to nearby Baconsthorpe Castle (NHER 6561), the castle was forty metres square with rounded corner towers and a surrounding moat. It was taken over by the Paston family in the mid 15th century, later being looted by Lord Moleyn's men. Nothing of the castle now stands to any great height, and until recently the site was swamped with trees and vegetation. However, it is understood that limited clearance has recently begun.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1666 3807
Map Sheet:TG13NE

Full description

Licence to fortify granted by Edward II to Sir Edmund Bacon in 1319, but earlier castle of De Stuteville family stood on site. Bacon's castle was 40m or 130 feet square with a round tower 11m or 36 feet in diameter in each corner.
Castle was later possessed by the Pastons and held by Margaret [1] Paston from 1448 to 50.
Information from (S1) and (S2). See (S3-S5) and (S17-S19) for further details.
Amended by A. Beckham (HES), 12 January 2022.

1844. Casual Observation.
Moat cleaned out leading to discovery of "…the old drawbridge (formed of massive timbers), the keel of a boat, a few articles of pottery, and the entrance to a subterraneaous passage" (S5).
These discoveries are also mentioned in (S6), which notes the presence of a "subterranean passage or culvert".
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 24 January 2016.

Gresham Castle is also noted in (S7)-(S10).

17 March 1977. Visit.
Ordnance Survey mark walls as exisiting on the north, west and east sides only. However the only masonry visible now is on west side,the southeast tower, and east side: walls about 1.9m or 6 feet high now acting as revetting to interior flint and mortar.
Moat water filled with a causeway of logs giving access to interior, where all is overgrown by trees and bushes.
One fragment of worked stone on surface. Nothing in roots of fallen trees.
Causeway suggested by J. Goldsmith (NCM) running north towards 'Chequers'.
This is doubtful; it is visible on the north side of a stream, but there are other parallel rises in the ground, and south of stream it is very faint.
E. Rose (NAU).

For notes on clearance work undertaken by CP team, see note on plan by F. Healy (NAU) and schedule in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 15 October 1985.

June 2001.
Site heavily masked by trees and undergrowth.
Moat wet, access to interior is impossible.
Some masonry visible on corners of platform.
Owners may consider entering a stewardship scheme. Any work will have to be undertaken with great care.
H. Paterson (A & E), 2 July 2001.

December 2001.
Under winter conditions, much of the flint wall circuit now visible standing up to 1 to 1.5m in places. Owner interested in a Countryside Stewardship Scheme to include scrub removal, tree surgery and clearing of old willow from the wet moat. Also possible arable reversion of field surrounding castle site.
H. Paterson (A&E), 20 December 2001.

20 January 2004.
Whole site heavily masked by scrub and mature trees. Extensive masonry walls show some large saplings growing in the fabric. It is hoped to implement a Section 17 Agreement to cut the damaging items to preserve the masonry from further deterioration.
H. Paterson (A&E), 27 January 2004.

March 2004.
Section 17 Agreement (S9) signed 5 March 2004.
H. Paterson (A&E), 19 March 2004.

January 2005. Visit.
Scrub and trees all felled on and adjacent to standing masonry, except for the northwest tower.
Relevant extracts of (S12) and (S13) in file. (S14) in file.

March 2009.
5 year Section 17 agreement signed, backdated to 5 March 2009.
See (S15).
D. Robertson (NLA), 1 April 2009.

April 2009.
It has been reported (S16) that during the late 1970s/early 1980s, surveys of the site were conducted, but no further information on this has been traced. See [2].
D. Gurney (NLA), 10 June 2009.

See [3].

Monument Types

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TUNNEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Website: Paston Footprints project. 2018. This is Paston. 12 January 2022. [Accessed 12 January 2022.
---Aerial Photograph: TG1638 A,B,C,F-J,K,L,P-T.
---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF8.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 13 NE 5 [3].
<S2>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Gresham.
<S3>Serial: Gairdner (ed.). 1983. The Paston Letters.. Vol 1, p 10.
<S4>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1808. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol VIII. 548. p 126.
<S5>Directory: White, W. 1864. History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk, and the City and County of Norwich. pp 647-648.
<S6>Article in Serial: 1936. The Proceedings of the Society during the year 1935. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXVI Pt I pp v-xvi. pp xiiiI-xiv.
<S7>Article in Serial: 1926. The Proceedings of the Society during the year 1925. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXII pp xlv-lxxiii. p lix.
<S8>Publication: Ketton-Cremer, R.W.. 1953. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition: The Pastons, May-August 1953, Norwich Castle Museum. p.11. p 11.
<S9>Article in Serial: Cozens-Hardy, B. 1961. Some Norfolk Halls. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXII pp 163-208. p 180.
<S10>Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 530.
<S11>Unpublished Document: H. Paterson (A&E), MPP. Section 17 Management Agreement.
<S12>Designation: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
<S13>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1049530.
<S14>Photograph: Two untitled..
<S15>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. 2008-2009. Section 17 Management Agreement.
<S16>*Verbal Communication: Mr Wright. 2009. [unknown].
<S17>Documentary Source: Paston. 15th Century. Paston letters and Papers. British Library. Add MS 34888. f. 29.
<S18>Publication: Davis, N. (ed.). 1976. Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century. Part 1. Letter 130.

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