Codnor Castle

Codnor Castle
Aldercar and Langley Mill, Amber Valley, Derbyshire

Remains of Codnor Castle, viewed from the north-west.
Codnor Castle
Coordinates 53°02′43″N 1°21′17″W / 53.0454°N 1.3548°W / 53.0454; -1.3548
Site information
Condition Ruined
Site history
Built 13th century
Materials stone
Official name Codnor Castle
Reference no. 1007047
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name Remains of Codnor Castle, Castle Lane
Designated 25 November 1963
Reference no. 1109025
Managed by The Codnor Castle Heritage Trust

Codnor Castle is a ruined 13th-century castle in Derbyshire, England. The land around Codnor came under the jurisdiction of William Peverel after the Norman conquest.[1] Although registered as a Scheduled Ancient Monument[2] and Grade II Listed Building[3] the site is officially, as at 2008, a Building at Risk.


William Peverel

The castle is a stone keep and bailey fortress and was established by William Peverel.[4] 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. The castle 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 if necessary.

Henry de Grey

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 III. 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,[5] 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 VII, without a legitimate heir. He left part of his lands to his illegitimate sons, Henry and Richard, and part to his widow, Katherine Stourton.

Zouche family

The 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 Derbyshire. The castle remained in the hands of the Zouche family for two hundred years until they sold up and emigrated to Virginia in 1634.

Streynsham Master

Sir Streynsham Master, High Sheriff of Derbyshire, who bought the Codnor Castle estate in 1692, is reported as the last resident of the castle. He lived there until his death in 1724.

The castle today

View from NE

Today the remnants of Codnor Castle are a fragile ruin; its few remaining high walls are well visited. The site is now privately owned. Public access is managed by The Codnor Castle Heritage Trust; access can be arranged by contacting the Trust.

There are public footpaths to the Castle from Codnor Market Place, where there is an information board in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, as well as public footpaths from the east in the Erewash valley.

In June 2007, Channel 4's Time Team programme carried out an archaeological dig around the castle. A perfectly preserved gold noble of Henry IV was found in the moat and is now displayed at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.[6]

See also


  1. Codnor – the Domesday Book Online accessed 6 January 2008
  2. Historic England. "Codnor Castle (1007047)". National Heritage List for England.
  3. Historic England. "Remains of Codnor Castle  (Grade II) (1109025)". National Heritage List for England.
  4. accessed 6 January 2008
  5. William D'Eincourt was the son of Walter D'Eincourt, who held "sixty-seven lordships", of which Blankney was his "principal seat." – sourced from this book extract
  6. Time Team at Channel Four: Codnor Castle, first broadcast 6 January 2008, accessed 4 July 2008

External links

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