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The village of Codnor has been a major crossroads for over a thousand years. Roads meet on the market place from Ripley, Alfreton, Langley Mill and Heanor. The village itself probably dates back to Saxon times, and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1087 as Cotenovre. Following the Norman Conquest, the land around Codnor fell under the jurisdiction of William Peverel.

The remains of Codnor Castle before the  restoration carried out in 2008

By 1211, lordship of Codnor had passed to the de Grey family, and it was around this time that Codnor Castle was built by Richard de Grey. The location of the castle, overlooking the Erewash Valley, gave the lords of Codnor a commanding position over the surrounding countryside. And yet, from the village of Codnor itself, only a mile or so away, it is impossible to see the castle.

The castle itself was a stone "keep and bailey" fortress, with a three storey keep and a strong curtain wall and ditch, flanked by round towers. As can be seen from the photo above, little now remains.

The castle remained in the de Grey family until the death of Henry de Grey in 1496, when it passed to Sir John Zouch, a relative by marriage. The Zouch family lived at the castle, and were largely responsible for setting up the parkland surrounding the castle, from which the name Codnor Park is derived.

The Zouch's sold Codnor Castle in 1634 to the Archbishop of York, Richard Neile, and, in turn, the Neile family sold it in 1692 to Sir Streynsham Masters, who is the last known person to actually reside there.

It was eventually sold to the Butterley Company in the early 1800's, for them to utilise the mineral rights in the area.

The castle has been in ruins since the late 1600ís, but contrary to popular local belief, it isnít a ruin because of the Civil War Ė indeed, there is no evidence that the castle was in any way involved in the war, let alone being the target of Oliver Cromwell's cannons!

An older photo of Codnor Castle, pre 1940.


An aerial view of the North Court, taken in August 2008, after the restoration. In the distance, in the centre-left, can be seen the Jessop Momument.

Photograph used with kind permission of Robert Kerr of Blank Canvas Photography


Although it is called Codnor Castle, access to it is not easy from Codnor itself (though it is a pleasant walk on a summer's day). You can't get all the way to the castle by car. The easiest route is to go via Aldercar and Aldercar Lane, parking near the Boat Inn at Stoneyford, and then walk the rest of the way.

A photograph of the now disappeared dovecote at Codnor Castle can be seen on the Future Plans page. Also see Ghost Stories for a spooky tale from the nearby Foxhole Plantation


Future editions of the web-site will include articles on the village of Codnor itself and on the involvement of the Butterley Company in its history.

If you would like to pass on any information about Codnor,
please see the Contact Us page.

 Last modified on 29 September 2013 12:49