Reading's Other Lost Medieval Castle: Beaumys Castle

There's some debate over the site of Reading's castle, which stood, depending on which source you read, near the abbey, at the Forbury or somewhere around Castle Hill. I wrote a blog post weighing up all the potential sites of the lost castle here

But did you know that Reading had another castle, built in the fourteenth century, which was also short-lived? 

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

It was built, according to a number of nineteenth-century sources, in 1338 by Nicholas de la Beche, one of the de la Beches of Aldworth in Berkshire. The family had their mansion house in the village on the site of Beech Farm, but they also owned a castle, called Beaumys, which they were given permission to fortify and crenellate by Edward III. 

The castle was the site of the abduction of Nicholas' wife Margery in 1347, when she was forcibly taken from the property with her valuables and married to a man whose motivation seems to have been her considerable fortune (Margery was widowed by this time). It had fallen into ruin by the sixteenth century. The site was said to have been near the River Loddon in the parish of Swallowfield. 

The reason the castle fell into disrepair is not clear. It may be that it was not well maintained by the de la Beches, and after Margery's abduction her new husband didn't bother keeping it up. The castle also seems to have not served any other purpose than as a family home. I could find no evidence of sieges or other military action relating to it, and of course just because de la Beche was given permission to crenellate the building it doesn't mean he did it. As far as I can tell too, there are no surviving images of the castle. 

An interesting mystery, I've lived in Reading now for nearly fifteen years and have only just come across this forgotten castle. Do you know anything about it? Share it with me in the comments below, if you do! 

Liked this? You might also like: The Aldworth Giants at Aldworth Church, 10 Everyday Objects from Tudor Times and Walking in the Footsteps of the Tudors in Reading

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See Sources here and also James D. Mackenzie, The Castles of England Their Story and Structure, volume 1. (1897)