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The Victoria Playing Field

Kingsbury Castle - Part 1

The following extract is reproduced from "A History of Hertfordshire" pp. 124-5.

St. Michael’s – Kingsbury Castle (O.S. xxxiv, 7 and 11)

This castle or fortified village lies to the south-west of the city of St. Albans . It covers about 27 ½ acres, and is about 1,370 ft. in length and 880 ft. in width. It stands upon a natural hill, the top of which has been levelled and the soil thrown outwards so as to form steep ramparts or banks, 1 which were protected by palisades, the remains of which are said to have been found in making the Verulam Road in 1833. The rampart on the north side was partially thrown down to form the Verulam road above referred to, and the steepness of the upper part of it has been lessened by the houses with their gardens erected on the side of the camp. The banks on the north-east, adjoining New England Fields, have also been much damaged 2 as far as Dagnell [sic] Street. This street enters the castle by the original entrance, as can be seen by the curve inwards of the bank on the south side of the road. To the south of Dagnell Street the eastern rampart shows a fine scarp, rising very steeply from 15 ft. to 20 ft. from the ground below. Before the rampart reaches the southern boundary of the castle it curves round to the east a forms a projecting bulwark, described in one of the St. Albans chronicles as a propugnaculum or municipiolum extending as this does almost into the middle of Fishpool Street. 3 The rampart can be traced at the back of the houses. On this account it has been to some extent destroyed, although it was never so heavy here as elsewhere around the castle, owing probably to the Fishpool, which formed a defence on this side. The rampart can be traced on the western side of the castle along the east side of Branch Road, but here again some of it was apparently thrown down to make this road in 1826. It is doubtful, from the conbtruction of the earthworks as now seen, if a fosse ever existed around the castle; if it did all evidence has now been obliterated. The castle was destroyed and levelled in the tenth century The clay-pits on the north side of Kingsbury Castle are said by tradition to be the site of the Roman brickfields. They were in existence in 1643, when Benjamin Hare made his plan of St. Albans.4 except the propugnaculum, which was destroyed about 1152. 5

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