|HCC Site ID:||1664||Parish:||St Faith’s Ward Havant|
|Designations:||CA, SMR, LB II*||Area:|
|Access:||Historic Site||Ownership:||Ancient monument|
Location and site
Warblington Castle is situated on low lying coastal land between Emsworth Harbour and the A27 Southampton to Brighton Road with the settlements of Langstone to the west and Emsworth to the east.
The site at Warblington Castle has a long history. Romanised Britons probably lived in the area, and its name is thought to have derived from a group of Saxons called the ‘Warblings’, who settled there about the 11th century, and built the church from some of the remains of a Roman villa. At this Domesday period, the manor stretched as far north as Rowlands Castle and included the land on which Emsworth is built. In 1231 the Bishop of Chichester obtained a license for a deer park.
Early in the 14th century the owner, Thomas Monthermer had royal connections through his father, Sir Ralph, who had married Joan of Acres, the sister of Edward II. In 1340 Edward II gave a licence to crenelate the manor, which then became a Castle. Thomas’s daughter and heiress married a member of the house of Montague, Earls of Salisbury. During the 14th and 15th centuries it appears the castle was rather neglected, and the estate became isolated from the village of Emsworth. Edward, the Earl of Warwick, should have inherited the estate in the late 15th century, but as Henry VII had imprisoned him, it came under the administration of the Crown. Edward was executed in 1499. The estate was restored to Margaret Pole, sister of Edward, early in Henry VIII’s reign. It is thought that when Margaret became Countess of Salisbury in her own right in 1513, she set about rebuilding the Castle immediately. Accounts dated 1517 for the building show that it was well advanced. Henry VIII visited in 1526. Margaret Pole’s opposition to Henry’s divorce led to her execution. The estate passed to Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton; then to Thomas Wriothesely, and to the Cottons in 1551, who held it until the beginning of the 18th century. Royal visitors included Edward VI, and it is most likely that Queen Elizabeth I journeyed here. In 1632 William Luffe, General Surveyor to Sir Richard Cotton, did a survey of the castle and its grounds and noted ‘ a fair green court before the gate, a spacious garden with pleasant walks adjoining’, groves of trees, 2 orchards, fishpond, barns, and stables. The Cottons were Royalist and Warblington was ‘slighted’ in 1644 by the Parliamentarians. One arm of the gate tower, part of a wall, and a gateway were all that remained. After the restoration, when the lands were returned to the Cottons, a farmhouse was built within the castle site for the tenants using the abandoned stone.
The 1st edition O.S. map of 1867 shows the Castle Farm, a moat on 3 sides of the remains of the Castle, pathways and plantings on the north and east banks of the moat, and to the east there appears to be an orchard. Aerial photographs have shown the foundations of a range of buildings, which could be the site of the old stables and dovecote. The remains of the fishpond lie to the north of the castle. Recent field archaeology has revealed that the castle was surrounded by a square moat. All that remains of the moat on the south and east sides are very shallow depressions. To the north it is still very deep, and may have been fed by tidal waters before the installation of hatches, presumably nearer the shoreline.
In 2001, the remains are in the midst of a working farm, on the southwest side is a small lawn; the farmhouse remains; to the east are small trees and shrubs, to the south the Saxon church and a cemetery with fascinating Georgian headstones. It is all within a conservation area.
An early manor house, a deer park in 1231, a licence to crenelate in the 14th century, and in the 16th century became a moated Tudor Castle re-built by Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. One gate tower, a wall, and part of an archway, are all that remain after the destruction during the Civil War in 1644. Today, a working farm surrounds the remains. It is in a conservation area.
Research from Reger’s ‘A brief history of Warblington Castle’, collated March 2001