The ruins, earthwork and buried remains of the moated site known as Caludon Castle no within Caludon Castle Park, one of Coventry’s Formal Parks. It is a pleasant stretch of open grassland, with a Children’s Playground.
The estate of Caludon, comprising about 200 acres, with a small park, a large pool, and tiro watermills, became the property, after the Conquest, of the Earls of Chester, and was given by the last Earl, Ralph, to Stephen de Segrave.
A Segrave was Chief justice of England in the reign of Stephen, and the family continued here, and bore the title of Baron as long as the male line lasted. Gilbert de Segrave married the heiress of Chancumb (Berkeley), and his son, Nicholas, was succeeded by a son, John de Segrave, who, in 1305 (33 Edward I.), obtained a licence to crenellate his house of Calvedon, and protect it with a moat and a wall. This, therefore, may be taken as the date of erection of the castle, which his son afterwards enlarged by a chapel and other buildings. His grandson, John, the last of his line, married Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk, daughter of Thomas de Brotherlon, son of Edward I. (created Earl Marshal, 1315), and had a daughter Elizabeth, who carried the rank of Earl Marshal of England and Duke of Norfolk to her husband, Thomas de Mowbray, a powerful Lincolnshire baron fron Ancholme.
Then occurs the incident connecting Calucion with the history of the country. Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, the son and successor of ‘the above, was living here in 1398, at the time when he accused Henry of Bolingbroke, afterwards Henry IV., of treason against King Richard II., as so powerfully described by Shakespeare. The King, having failed to reconcile the two nobles, ordered the combat between them, claimed by Henry, to take place near Mowbray’s castle of Caludon, at lists prepared at Gosford Green, between the castle and Coventry. Here took place the scene which ended in the banishment of Norfolk for life, and of Henry for ten years (see also BAGINTON). Mowbray, on the accession of his enemy, died after several years of exile, and was succeeded by his son John, whose daughter and heiress, Anne, was married at the age of seven to Richard,
Duke of York, murdered in the Tower. She died, still a child, and her vast inheritance went to the families of her two aunts, Caludon being possessed by William, Marquis of Berkeley, the son of Lady Isabel Mowbray, and continuing; in the Berkeley family until 1632, when the castle and manor were sold by Lord George, to Thomas Morgan, of Weston, a scion of the family. From the Morgans the place passed by a daughter to Sir John Preston, and from his family, by marriage, to Lord Clifford of Chadleigh, whose descendant in 1800 built, with materials from the ruins, the present farmhouse. The owner (1896) is the Rey. E. H. Garrard, of Marston Sicca, Warwick.
The plan of the original castle was oval, enclosing about an acre of ground, surrounded by an embattled wall with towers, and having an exterior moat, which is still visible on three sides, though dry. The entrance was on the E. side by a gatehouse and bridge, and the chief apartments were built on the N. and W. of the enclosure, the kitchens and offices lying on the S. and E. sides, with farm buildings beyond the moat. A bowling-green and gardens appear to have lain about 200 yards S. from the moat. A field of three acres still retains the name of “The Pool”.
In the reign of Elizabeth the old castle appears to have given way to a more modern mansion, said by Mrs. Hodges (“Some Ancient English Homes”, 1895) to have been erected about 1580, when there remained the porter’s lodge, the buildings towards the great pool on the N.W. of Caludon House, with the brewing-house, stables, and many other out-houses, both within and without the moat; the roofs of those old castle buildings were taken down, and so altered was the whole house that it might be said to have been moulded and made new, but for the banqueting house on the N. side of the said pool, which was the work of the Lady Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Berkeley, in the .40th and 41st years of Elizabeth”.
The solitary massive fragment of wall which alone has survived, is a part of this hall; it is 41 feet thick, and 6o feet in height, having two fine Late Perpendicular windows remaining of the hall lights, and two lower windows of the ground floor rooms below the hall, with a fireplace. The chapel, which was on the W. side of these apartments, has disappeared of late years.
Caludon is said to have been dismantled and destroyed during the Civil War between King Charles I. and the Parliament. (Castles Of England, Sir James D. Mackenzie, 1896)