Great Wymondley Castle: a motte and bailey castle and associated manorial enclosure 20m east of St Mary's Church, Great Wymondley


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010761

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Jul-1992


Ordnance survey map of Great Wymondley Castle: a motte and bailey castle and associated manorial enclosure 20m east of St Mary's Church, Great Wymondley
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010761 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 13-Nov-2018 at 17:59:38.


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

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Wymondley

National Grid Reference: TL 21549 28510


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.

Great Wymondley Castle is a well-preserved example of a motte and bailey castle. It is unusual in its close association with a manorial enclosure, within which occupation evidence, integral to a full understanding of the monument, will survive. The monument will contain archaeological remains relating to the internal layout of the site and the economy of its inhabitants as well as environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed.


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


The monument includes Great Wymondley Castle, a motte and bailey castle, situated on level ground on the floodplain of the River Purwell. It comprises a large rectangular enclosure in the south-west corner of which there is a small moated motte and bailey. The motte measures c.2.5m in height by 28m in diameter at its base. The bailey, located south of the motte, is orientated NE to SW and measures about 25m by 28m. Surrounding the motte and bailey is a moat, now dry, which is c.2m in depth and c.10m in maximum width. The outer enclosure, which is considered to be manorial in origin, is marked by a bank and ditch extending from the moated motte and bailey. It is rectangular in shape and encloses an area c.175m north-south by c.100m east-west. The small cross ditch dividing the large enclosure is a modern field boundary. The site was partially excavated in 1882 when both Roman and medieval pottery were discovered. Excluded from the scheduling are the houses, paths, driveways and sheds. The ground beneath these features is, however, included.

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: 20637

Legacy System: RSM


Information from Field Warden Report (Great Wymondley Castle),
Information from SMR (Great Wymondley Castle),

End of official listing