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South Mimms motte and bailey castle

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: South Mimms motte and bailey castle

List entry Number: 1009433

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hertfordshire

District: Hertsmere

District Type: District Authority

Parish: South Mimms

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 21-Sep-1936

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Feb-1993

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20625

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

South Mimms Castle has a well-documented history dating back to the 12th century and has associations with royalty. Partial excavation has confirmed the information from the historical sources. Despite limited disturbance by excavation, animal burrowing and cultivation, the motte and bailey and its defences survive in good condition and contain archaeological evidence relating to the various stages of development of the castle. Additionally, environmental evidence will give an indication of the nature of the landscape within which the monument was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

South Mimms motte and bailey castle is situated on an east-facing slope overlooking the Mimmshall Brook, about 1.25km north-west of South Mimms village. It includes a motte, c.9m in height and 35m in diameter at the base, in the north-west corner of a kidney-shaped bailey which measures 125m north-south by 110m east-west and is surrounded by a bank and ditch. The entrance to the inner bailey was on the south-west side where there is now a causeway across a ditch and a break in the rampart. There are traces of an outer bailey to the south. The castle is thought to have been built by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1141 with a licence from Matilda and was probably destroyed in 1143. Excavations carried out by J Kent in 1961-5 revealed that a timbered tower had been built on the ground with an entrance on the south and that the motte had then been constructed around the tower with spoil from the defensive ditches. Pottery from the 13th and 14th centuries was uncovered during the excavation and suggests that occupation of the site continued after the destruction of the castle.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Other
Information from NAR (TL20 SW 1),
Information from SMR,
Warren, B, Notes of South Mimms Castle Report, (1988)

National Grid Reference: TL 23005 02570

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2017 at 03:10:25.

End of official listing