Jordan Castle: ringwork, fortified manor, hollow way, fishpond and ridge and furrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010916

Date first listed: 19-Aug-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Sep-1992


Ordnance survey map of Jordan Castle: ringwork, fortified manor, hollow way, fishpond and ridge and furrow
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)

Parish: Wellow

National Grid Reference: SK6787466555


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

Reasons for Designation

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.

Jordan Castle is a well-preserved example of a ringwork which remained in use as a domestic residence and became the site of a fortified manor house in the mid-thirteenth century. Although disturbed by ploughing, the remains of earlier and later medieval structures will survive on the platform and include the revetment round the edge. Ancillary features such as a fishpond and hollow way also survive well and may also include a gate tower. The fishpond is still water-filled and so will retain well-preserved organic remains. Also well-preserved is the ridge and furrow that surrounds and crosses the ringwork, providing evidence of when the site was abandoned.


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


The monument includes an eleventh or twelfth century ringwork adapted in the thirteenth century to become the site of a fortified manor house. Also included are the hollow way and fishpond associated with the manor and the well-preserved ridge and furrow adjacent to and crossing the site. The ringwork includes a sub-circular platform measuring 60m from north to south by 52m from east to west. Round the edge is a well-preserved revetment surviving to a height of 3m on the north-west side and 2m on the east and north-east sides. This revetment will have originated with the construction of the earlier earthwork castle but was later rebuilt when, in 1252, Jordan Foliot was given licence to crenellate the manor house that had replaced the earlier medieval buildings associated with the ringwork. A wall would have replaced a wooden palisade at this time. Enclosing the platform is a 12m wide ditch which drops 5m from the top of the revetment at its deepest point and up to 3m from the surrounding area. On the east side the ditch is up to 1m shallower, probably as a result of partial infilling caused by post-medieval ploughing. Ploughing has also filled-in the ditch on the north side where the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow can be seen crossing the platform, partially levelling the revetment on the north and south edges. On the south-west corner of the ringwork, the ditch is crossed by an 8m wide causeway which leads from a sunken track or hollow way approaching from the west. This hollow way runs westward from the ringwork for c.100m before disappearing beneath the modern farmyard in the vicinity of the pond. For most of its length it is roughly 5m wide and 1m deep, with sides that incline gently at roughly 45 degrees. Just south of the ringwork, however, it turns at right-angles northwards, becoming nearly 2m deep and only 3m wide as it approaches the causeway. Earth mounds on either side indicate structures at this point; most likely a gate tower guarding the approach to the ringwork. The precise dating of the features associated with the ringwork cannot be achieved without excavation, so it is not yet known whether this gate tower relates to the earlier earthwork castle or to the later manor. It may, however, have been part of Jordan Foliot's fortifications. The ridge and furrow that runs across the ringwork and adjacent to it on the north-east side clearly post-dates the abandonment of the site. Of broadly similar date is the very well-preserved ridge and furrow that lies north of the ringwork and runs at right-angles to the other. The modern farm track now occupies the headland formed between the two. The northern block of ridge and furrow is more pronounced than the southern, each ridge being over 1m high and the distance between the ridges being approximately 6m. A substantial headland shows the south-west limit of ploughing and became the line of the later field boundary. On the south-east side, the furrows are particularly deep and drain into a small, roughly rectangular pond. This pond is still in use and measures c.10m by 12m. It is believed to have originated as a manorial fishpond. A number of features within the area are excluded from the scheduling. They are all boundary fencing, the surface of the farm track dividing the monument and four telegraph poles and their supports which stand on and adjacent to the ringwork. 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: 13394

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 304-5
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 250
'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Transactions of the Thoroton Society: Volume 43, , Vol. 43, (1939), 15
'Chateau Gaillard' in Chateau Gaillard III (Ref Jordan Castle), , Vol. III, (1966)
'English Placenames Society' in English Placenames Society (Volume 17), , Vol. 17, (1940), 66
F21/58/1775 0017-9, Royal Air Force, (1955)
SF 3216/22-25, Cox, CD,

End of official listing