Moreton Corbet Castle (Shropshire, England)
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Moreton Corbet comprises of two distinct eras; medieval stronghold and elaborate flemish-inspired Elizabethan Manor. Today the site’s most distinguished feature is the stunning and highly decorated Elizabethan range on the south of the site.
The castle started off known as Moreton Toret (or Turret) after the Toret Family and was known locally by this name well into the 1500s.
The keep was likely built by Bartholomew Fitz Toret (born 1162) but the castle was taken from him by King John in 1215 as a result of the First Barons’ War. It was given back by Henry III in 1217 but in the 1235 (or possibly 1239) it passed by marriage to the Corbet family. Bartholomew’s son-in-law Richard de Corbet renamed the castle Moreton Corbet, although the castle’s old name stuck around despite this.
The Elizabethan mansion on the south side of the site was begun in the 1560s by Sir Andrew Corbett, although the work was not yet completed upon his son’s death in 1583.The medieval gatehouse was also much repaired during the 16th century, concurrent to the building of the Elizabethan mansion. Above the doorway there is Andrew Corbet’s monogram and the date 1579, when he died.
The Elizabethan Mansion was likely built just south where the original great hall of the medieval stronghold was and probably incorporates some of old hall in the building materials. In the present day the north face of the building is mostly destroyed, however it was a two-story building with elaborate fireplaces and many beautiful carvings, which can still be seen.
In 1644 the postern in the curtain wall and several windows within the wall were hastily blocked up when the castle was garrisoned by Royalists. Parliamentary troops captured the castle in September 1644 and burnt it upon leaving the castle in 1645. It was subsequently sold to Sir Vincent Corbet but never re-occupied.
Since 1949 it has been a registered Ancient Monument and is now under the care of English Heritage.
An apocryphal story says that during the reign of King James the 1st during the presecution of Puritans Sir Vincent Corbet took in his neighbour, a Puritan named Paul Holmyard. However, the Puritans ideals became increasingly fanatical and Corbet asked Holmyard to leave. When he was forced to leave he cursed the Corbet family so that the building would never be finished.
Rumour has it that the ghostly spirit of Paul Holmyard stalks Morton Corbet's walls, ensuring that no building work goes on.
Dun dun duuuuun!
But seriously, a lot of the construction was never truly completed. So maybe the moral is don’t upset Puritans? Haha ;)
Site visited December 2018.
Photos © Completely Castles 2018