Reasons for Designation
Motte and bailey 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. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey 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 and bailey 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. Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 partial excavation, the motte and bailey castle 900m ESE of Burridge Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, development, domestic arrangements, strategic importance, social organisation, military and political significance, abandonment and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a motte and bailey, situated on an elongated natural knoll above steep valley of an unnamed river, leading to the Coombe Valley to the west of Kilkhampton. The motte survives as a steep-sided oval mound measuring up to 6m high and surrounded by a ditch of up to 8m wide and 3.6m deep. There is a rampart bank at the summit of the motte, and immediately to the east a rectangular inner bailey, separated from a D-shaped outer bailey by a V-shaped ditch up to 8m wide and 1.5m deep, with both baileys being defined by ramparts with surrounding outer ditches. The whole castle is enclosed by later field boundary banks beyond the ditches. The inner bailey contains various earthworks including a probable wall with opposed entrances and building platforms. The outer bailey also has an uneven interior and there is a possible causeway at the eastern end across the outer ditch. Known locally as 'Kilkhampton or Penstowe Castle' there is no known surviving medieval documentation leaving writers, such as Henderson in the 1920's, to suggest it was an 'adulterine' castle built during the Civil War between Stephen and Matilda in the mid-12th century. The earliest known reference is the Stowe Atlas of 1694. Partial excavations were carried out by Henderson in 1925 and Bradford in the early 1950's. The latter discovered the foundations of a D-shaped building on the summit of the motte and some 12th century pottery.
PastScape Monument No:-32229