Lords of Tamworth
The following summarizes the way in which the castle descended
from the first lord to its acquisition by Tamworth Corporation
in 1897. From the main Tamworth
c.1070: Robert le Dispensator, (Marmion?)
to whom the Conqueror gave the site of the castle, and adjoining
lands. The date of his death is uncertain, but is believed to
have taken place at the beginning of the twelfth century.
c.1101: Sir Roger Marmion. He entertained
King Henry I at the castle.
1129: Sir Robert Marmion, son of Sir Roger.
He is believed to have entertained Henry I; reinstated at Polesworth
the nuns who had been expelled from Tamworth by the first lord;
slain at Coventry.
1143: Sir Robert Marmion, son of Sir Robert.
Received Henry II and Thomas à Beckett at the castle;
spent much of his time in Normandy, and died there.
1185: Sir Robert Marmion, son of the previous
Sir Robert. He was a renowned student of the law and was one
of the itinerant justices appointed by Henry II in 1176, serving
in this capacity in the Midland counties for many years. Having
joined the barons in the struggle against King John, the latter
ordered the destruction of the castle, but met with such resistance
that the order was not carried out.
1217: Sir Robert Marmion, son of the previous
Sir Robert. His brother was also called Sir Robert. "Sir
Robert the Younger" held the castle for a time while "Sir
Robert the Elder" was abroad.
1241: Sir Philip Marmion, son of Sir Robert
the Elder. He entertained Henry III at the castle, and was sometime
sheriff of Warwick and Leicester. He received grants of the two
parts of the borough in 1266, and in exercising this proprietorship
he antagonised the burgesses, by encroaching on the market place
to extend his grounds and by attempting to deprive them of their
rights to elect the town bailiffs; founded the Hospital of St.
James in Ashby Road. He was the last of the male line of the
1291: Joan Mortein, eldest daughter of Sir
1294: Sir Alexander Freville, husband of Jane
Cromwell who was the niece of Joan Mortein and grand-daughter
of Sir Philip. Sir Alexander and his wife assigned the castle
to their son Baldwin in 1323 on the condition that they were
to be allowed to live in it for the rest of their lives. In 1327
he performed the office of Royal Champion at the coronation of
1328: Jane Freville, widow of Sir Alexander.
1340: Sir Baldwin Freville, son of Sir Alexander.
He held the Warwickshire part of Tamworth by grant from Edward
II from 1317 to 1319, when the King granted it to the burgesses.
1343: Sir Baldwin Freville, son of the previous
Sir Baldwin. In 1348 he quarrelled with the burgesses, who besieged
him in his castle and cut off all supplies of food for some time.
He fought in wars with France, where he died, having spent his
later years there.
1375: Sir Baldwin Freville, son of the previous
Sir Baldwin. He lost his claim to act as Royal Champion at the
coronation of Richard II in 1377, when it was adjudged that the
right was attached to the manor of Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire,
an estate which had descended through the Marmion family.
1387: Sir Baldwin Freville, son of the previous
1400: Sir Baldwin Freville, son of the previous
Sir Baldwin. He was only two years old when his father died.
He himself died unmarried.
1418: Elizabeth and Margaret Freville, as
sisters and co-heiresses of the last Sir Baldwin.
1423: Thomas Ferrers, husband of Elizabeth
Freville, to whom the castle was assigned upon a partition of
the estates of Sir Baldwin; heiresses automatically transferred
their rights to their husbands. He made Tamworth Caste his principal
1458: Sir Thomas Ferrers, son of Thomas Ferrers.
He was knighted in 1461. Buried in Tamworth Church. His son John
1498: Sir John Ferrers, grandson of Sir Thomas.
He was High Steward of Tamworth. Buried in Tamworth Church.
1512: Sir Humphrey Ferrers, son of Sir John.
He also was High Steward. It was during his time that Leland,
the historian and surveyor to Henry VIII, visited Tamworth and
recorded of the Castle:- "the base court and great ward
of the castle is cleane decayed, and the wall fallen down, and
therein be now but houses of office, of noe notable buildings,"
referring to the buildings below the mound, and adding "the
Dungeon Hill yet standeth, and a great round tower of stone wherein
Mr Ferrers dwelleth, and now repaireth it. "Sir Humphrey
spent the later years of his life at his manor of Walton-on-Trent.
1554: John Ferrers. He was High Steward of
1576: Sir Humphrey Ferrers, son of John Ferrers.
He was High Steward of Tamworth until the Earl of Essex was appointed
to that office by the charter of 1588. He lived alternately at
Tamworth and Walton-on-Trent.
1607-8: (1) Sir John Ferrers, son of Sir Humphrey.
He was knighted in 1603. MP for Tamworth; entertained King James
I at the Castle, which he repaired and altered, although he spent
much of his life at Walton-on-Trent. Buried in Tamworth Church.
1633: Sir Humphrey Ferrers, son of Sir John.
He was knighted in 1617. He lived to own the castle for a few
months only, although he had resided in it for some time while
his father lived at Walton-on-Trent.
1633: John Ferrers, son of Sir Humphrey. In
1642 the castle was occupied by the Royalists in the Civil War,
but it surrendered to Cromwell's forces in the following year.
1680: Anne Ferrers, grand-daughter of John
Ferrers. She succeeded to the castle as her father had been accidentally
drowned in the Trent two years previously.
1688: Robert Shirley, by his marriage to
1697-8: (1) Robert Shirley, son of Anne
Ferrers. Died unmarried.
1714: Elizabeth Shirley, sister of Robert
Shirley and daughter of Anne Ferrers.
1714-15: (1) James Compton, 5th Earl of
Northampton, by marriage to Elizabeth Shirley.
1754: George Townshend, by marriage to Lady
Charlotte Compton, daughter of the 5th Earl of Northampton. He
was created Marquis Townshend in 1786.
1807: George Townshend, 2nd Marquis Townshend,
son of the 1st Marquis. Who restored and made major alterations
to the Castle.
1811: George Townshend, 3rd Marquis Townshend,
son of the 2nd Marquis who rejected his eldest son as heir and,
after his death, the ownership of the Castle was contested.
and so forth...