Motte and double ringwork east of Bishopstrow Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009891

Date first listed: 22-May-1990


Ordnance survey map of Motte and double ringwork east of Bishopstrow Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 10:28:21.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishopstrow

National Grid Reference: ST 90082 44052


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

Reasons for Designation

The most complete and extensive survival of chalk downland archaeological remains in central southern England occurs on Salisbury Plain, particularly in those areas lying within the Salisbury Plain Training Area. These remains represent one of the few extant archaeological "landscapes" in Britain and are considered to be of special significance because they differ in character from those in other areas with comparable levels of preservation. Individual sites on Salisbury Plain are seen as being additionally important because the evidence of their direct association with each other survives so well. 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. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. 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 and less than 60 with baileys. 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.

Although partially damaged by cultivation, limited excavation has demonstrated the considerable archaeological potential of the Bishopstrow monument. Sites of this type are particularly rare on Salisbury Plain.


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


The monument includes an earthwork castle comprising a motte, a double ringwork and associated features immediately east of Bishopstrow Farm. A hollow-way extending to the north of the modern farm is identified as an entrance. The monument survives as earthworks although spread by cultivation. Small-scale excavation in 1981 of a pit cluster to the south of the motte and in the north-western section of the defences revealed pottery sherds of probable C12th date. It has been suggested that the castle was a short-lived fortification erected during the Anarchy.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 10211

Legacy System: RSM


Trust for Wessex Archaeology, (1987)
Wiltshire Library & Museum Service, (1987)

End of official listing