Marshwood Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 40455 97688


Fortified house at Lodge House Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gun-ports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, utility and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. They are a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples. The fortified house at Lodge House Farm will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, function, social and political significance, original form and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 January 2016. This 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.

This monument includes a fortified house situated in Marshwood Vale between two tributaries of the River Char. The fortified house survives as a roughly rectangular enclosure with the upstanding remains of a rampart bank in the north western angle and along the north side, a mound standing to a height of approximately 2.5m and topped with the masonry base of an angle tower in the south western angle all surrounded by a partially buried outer ditch of up to 2.5m wide and 1.5m deep with a series of outer enclosures to the south west and east defined by banks and ditches. In the upstanding angle tower there is an entrance in the northern wall. In 1839 the former chapel dedicated to St Mary and known to have been ruined by the 17th century was found within the enclosures, although its exact location is unclear. Known as ‘Marshwood Castle’ and first documented in 1215 as the Head of the Honour and Barony of Mandeville of Marshwood. It was the only head of a Barony in Dorset. ‘Marshwood Castle’ was possibly mentioned in Domesday as ‘Wootton Fitzpaine’. The Mandevilles became the Earls of Essex from around the 1140’s and died out as a family in c. 1191. In 1357, repairs were commissioned for the ‘castle and park’ by Edward III on behalf of his son Lionel of Antwerp. The basis for the earliest ‘castle’ is thought to have been a motte and bailey or possibly a ringwork castle and although the Mandevilles did build extensive castles elsewhere, it is now thought the present earthworks reflect a later ‘water castle’ or fortified house dating perhaps from the 1350s–60s. The tower is listed Grade II*.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
DO 427
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-450003


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

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