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 1086 as Cotenovre. Following the Norman Conquest, the land around Codnor fell under the jurisdiction of William Peverel.
This view of the castle site was taken before consolidation work was carried out, in 2007/8, by UK Coal, following opencast mining in the immediate vicinity of the castle.
The scaffolding is no longer there, and the cutting back of vegetation around the ruins means that far more is visible today than 20 years ago.
Around 1200, lordship of Codnor had passed to the de Grey family, and it was around this time that the masonry Codnor Castle was built by Richard de Grey.
It is not unlikely, though no evidence has been found to confirm this, that there
will have been an earlier, timber-
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. It was held by the 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 Zouchs 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 1800s, for them to utilise
the mineral rights in the area -
This engraving of around 1727 shows that the castle was already in a ruinous state.
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
An early twentieth century postcard of the castle.
The Codnor Castle Heritage Trust was formed in the 2000s to ensure that Codnor Castle
is preserved for the future, and to promote the castle as a site of local and national
historic importance. They regularly open the castle to visitors, and it is well-
An aerial view of the North Court, taken in August 2008, after the consolidation
work. In the distance, in the centre-
Photograph used with kind permission of Robert Kerr of Blank Canvas Photography