Motte in Castle Hill Wood, Huntley
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002070
Date first listed: 01-Jan-1900
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 06:19:27.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Forest of Dean (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 71522 21130
Ringwork 410m south west of Tuns Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.
Motte castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. Motte castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Some 100-150 examples of motte castles exist nationally. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.
Despite tree growth the ringwork 410m south west of Tuns Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, social organisation, territorial, strategic and political significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 September 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a ringwork situated on the upper southern valley side of a major tributary to the River Leadon. Also known as ‘Taynton Castle’ and ‘Motte in Castle Hill Wood’ the ringwork survives as an oval enclosure measuring approximately 30m long by 25m wide internally and defined by a rampart bank up to 8m wide and 1.7m high, which widens slightly to the north east. The ramparts are surrounded by a largely buried ditch. There is an entrance to the south east. The ringwork is thought to date to the 11th or 12th century. To the north it is slightly clipped by a forest track which crosses the upper fills of the ditch. As a relatively small example of a ringwork it might equally be classed as a motte which is a similar type and date of medieval castle which excavation alone could confirm.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: GC 449
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing