Woodhead Castle ringwork bailey and fishpond


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010923

Date first listed: 11-Dec-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Jan-1992


Ordnance survey map of Woodhead Castle ringwork bailey and fishpond
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 22:23:27.


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

District: Rutland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Great Casterton

National Grid Reference: SK 99685 11641


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.

The ringwork at Woodhead Castle survives essentially undamaged and is therefore of high archaeological potential. Its interior and that of the adjacent enclosure will hold evidence of medieval buildings which formed the settlement and chapel. The waterlogged part of the moat in the north-east provides good conditions for survival of organic remains.


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


Woodhead Castle is a moated ringwork with an attached bailey enclosure and an outlying fishpond.

The moated ringwork measures approximately 90m x 90m in maximum dimension with arms 12m wide and 4m deep, except in the north-western corner where the moat has been enlarged and is currently waterlogged. The moat island exhibits an inner bank comprising the remains of a stone wall which survives to a height of 1m in the south-eastern area. The foundations of buildings, including a chapel, occur in the northern half of the island. There are two entrances, one on the western side and one on the eastern side leading to the outer bailey. The outer bailey is sub-rectangular in plan and is demarcated by a low bank about 5m wide which encloses an area of 80m x 70m. An entrance to the enclosure on its eastern side is aligned with the two access points of the moated ringwork. On the south side of the ringwork is a small rectangular fishpond measuring approximately 10m x 20m considered to be contemporary with the rest of the monument.

Woodhead Castle is identified as being of medieval date, being visited by Edward I in 1290, and there are documentary records of a chapel and buildings on the site, which were in ruin by 1543.

A modern brick structure, marked on the Ordnance Survey map as a hydraulic ram (disused), is located in the north east corner of the moat and is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 17007

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Rutland: Volume II, (1935), 232
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of Rutland, (1983), 17
Leach,P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Ringworks, (1988)
Royal Comm Records, JB, REF Woodhead Castle, (1972)

End of official listing