The earthwork remains of a moated site of manorial status and associated enclosures, fishponds, building platforms and terraces within the field known as Ruins Field. The moated site comprises a square platform, 42 metres across, containing earthworks which reflect the positions of previous buildings. It is surrounded by a deep moat, on average 15 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep. (Pastscape)
This was the ancient seat of the Chidiocks, an old family of knight’s degree (temp. Edward II. and III.), who acquired it and the lands from John Mandeville (4 Edward I.). They married heiresses of the houses of Robert Fitz-Payn, Sir John St. Loe, and Sir John FitzWarren, families of note in those parts. Sir John Chidiock, the last of his race, who died 28 Henry V1. (1450), left two daughters, Mary, married to Sir William Stourton, amt Katherine, married (1) to Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Devon, and (2) to Sir John Arundel of Lanherne, in the W. of Cornwall, one of a noble race known as the “Great Arundels”, who came to Lanherne in 1231. Their son John married Elizabeth, third daughter of Thomas Grey, first Marquess of Dorset (buried in Chidiock church), and his descendant was Sir John, married to Anne, daughter of Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, whose son, Sir John, in Thoroton’s time (1774), was owner of the castle, and “resided here in the ancient castle, or castle-like house of Chidiock”: Sir Thomas, second son of the second Sir John, was grandfather of Lord Arundel of Wardour, created by James I.
The castle was standing when Buck published a drawing of it; it was deeply moated on all sides, enclosing an area of about 4 acres. On the E. side are some remains of a rampart and trenches, and on the S., before the place where the gatehouse stood, are the remains of a bridge. In the Civil War this castle was taken and retaken several times by each party; it became a check upon the garrison of Lyme, and a party from that garrison, under Captain Thomas Pine, took Chidiock in March 1643, capturing fifty prisoners and two pieces of ordnance. In December 1644 a force under Major-general Holburn retook it, but in the succeeding July another force from Lyme recaptured it, taking 100 prisoners, thirty horses, three barrels of powder, with arms, ammunition, and provisions. The order was then passed for the slighting of the castle, and in October of the same year, 1645, Colonel Ceely, the Governor of Lyme, charges £1 19s. for the work of demolishing the place.
(Castles Of England, Sir James D. Mackenzie, 1896)
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