View from NW
Codnor Castle is a
now-ruined thirteenth century castle in Derbyshire, England.
around Codnor came under
the jurisdiction of William Peverel
after the Norman conquest..
View from NE
Although registered as a Scheduled Ancient Monument
site is officially, as at 2008, a Building at Risk
The castle is a stone keep and bailey fortress and was established
by William Peverel
. The present
fragmentary remains represent a three storey keep and a strong
curtain wall and ditch, flanked by round towers. The outer bailey
is on a lower level and was constructed at a later period.
overlooks the Erewash valley and
the counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
It originally had a deep moat and on its
Eastern side there was once a considerable abundance of trees,
which have now been cut down. On the west side there was a
courtyard that was strongly fortified by huge round towers, which
had battlements. In other parts of the ruins there is evidence that
the outer walls had loopholes included to allow bowmen to use them
By 1211 it was owned by Henry de Grey
a descendant of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye
. Henry's descendants
include the long line of Lords Grey
of Codnor, the Lords Grey of
Ruthyn, Wilton and Rotherfield, Lady Jane Grey and
the Earls of Stamford, and the extinct families of the Dukes of
Suffolk and Kent. His son Richard settled in Codnor and was a
loyal Baron to Henry
Along with his brother John they served the King in
the Holy Land. John Grey distinguished himself in the Scottish wars
and found himself in great favour with Edward III
. Together with William
D'Eincourt, the Lord Grey commanded all the knights of Derbyshire
and Nottinghamshire in case of an invasion.
Henry, the last of the family, died during the reign of Henry VIII
. He left part of his lands
to his sons, Henry and Richard.
remainder went to his aunt Elizabeth Grey, who in 1429 married Sir
John Zouche, the youngest son of the fourth Baron Zouche of Harringworth.
Sir John Zouche of Codnor was three times
High Sheriff of
. The castle remained in the hands of the Zouche
family for two hundred years until they sold and emigrated to
Virginia in 1634.
Sir Streynsham Master
, High Sheriff of Derbyshire
inhabited the castle in 1712 is reported as being the last person
to live in the castle.
Codnor Castle was situated on high ground, and
commanded an extensive prospect to the East, of which a small
portion of the walls remain, and a dovecote entire. From
the walls and foundations, it appears to have been a place of
considerable extent. On the south it had a large square
court, from which were two entrances into the castle; on the east
side was a broad deep moat, and on the bank grew a double row of
trees, which were cut down about the year 1738. The park
belonging to the Castle contained about of land. In the
early part of the 13th century there was a castle here; and in the
reign of Henry III., it was the chief seat of Richard de Grey,
whose descendants, the Barons Grey, of Codnor, possessed it for
many years, the last of whom, Henry, a philosopher and alchymist,
in the reign of Henry IV. obtained a license to practise the
transmutation of metals; he died in or about the year 1526, when
the Codnor estate passed to Sir John Zouch, who had married
Elizabeth, the aunt of the last possessor. The Codnor
estate was sold by Sir John Zouch and John Zouch, Esq., his heir
apparent, in 1634, to Archbishop Neile, and his son, Sir Paul.
Their descendant, Richard Neile, Esq. sold the manor and castle
of Codnor, with its members—Heanor, Loscoe, and Langley, and the
manor of Codnor Park, in 1692, to Sir Streynsham Master, who was high sheriff in
1712, and occupied Codnor Castle, but even then it was in a ruinous
state, and since that period it has entirely fallen into ruins and
it is said six farm houses with other convenient buildings, were
raised from the materials collected from the ruins. The
Cromford and Erewash canals here unite.
White's 1857 Directory of
Today the remnants of Codnor Castle are a fragile ruin, its few
remaining high walls supported by scaffolding. Signs at the
perimeter fence indicate that the site is now owned by UK Coal Mining Ltd
and that public access is
prohibited. However, good views of the castle's remains are
possible from nearby public footpaths.
In June 2007, Channel 4
's Time Team
programme carried out an archaeological dig
around the castle,
with some interesting results. The programme was shown on 6 January
- Codnor - the Domesday Book Online accessed 6
- CastleUK.net accessed 6 January 2008
- Time Team at Channel Four: Codnor Castle
accessed 4 July 2008