This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Higham Ferrers Motte and Bailey Castle, with Ponds, Warren and Dovecote

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: Higham Ferrers Motte and Bailey Castle, with Ponds, Warren and Dovecote

List entry Number: 1012113

Location

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

County: Northamptonshire

District: East Northamptonshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Higham Ferrers

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 30-Jan-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 28-Jan-1991

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 13607

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.

Higham Ferrers is a motte and bailey castle with important royal connections in the Early Norman period. Well-documented historical evidence shows that it was major fortified location with multiple defences and occupied a powerful tenurial position over the manors of the Nene Valley. Although the original buildings were demolished the preservation of the below ground archaeological remains has not been affected by subsequent development.

History

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

Details

William Peverel was granted the manor of Higham Ferrers at the Conquest, and built an early Norman motte and bailey castle here, probably in the late 11th century. Extensive records show that the castle was of major stone construction with an inner and outer bailey and had complex defences including inner and outer gateways and a drawbridge. Within the castle and the baileys were a considerable variety of buildings and lodgings. Documentary sources indicate that the castle had several owners and eventually was forfeited to the crown in 1266. By the 1360s the castle had passed to the Duchy of Lancaster, but in the late 15th century it had begun to fall into ruin and was demolished in 1523, although a map of 1591 shows foundations still upstanding. Today these and other features are no longer visible but remains will be preserved below ground. Early records show that the castle also had a garden, dovecote and fishpond. The well preserved remains of a dovecote, most probably the one built in 1406-7, are still present in the outer bailey area and are incorporated in part of a more modern wall. The warren which lies in the northernmost part of the site was first documented in 1313, and further records show that it was walled and had its own gateway. A water-filled ditch which lies to the east and south of the warren was constructed from two original fishponds which lay in the outer bailey of the castle. Except for the dovecote, all permanent above ground structures including the buildings, car parks, access roads and garden walls are excluded from the scheduling, but the land beneath them is incorporated.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Beresford, M, History on the Ground, (1957)
Kerr, W J B, Higham Ferrers and its Ducal and Royal Castle and Park, (1925)
Sergeantson, R M, The Court Rolls of Higham Ferrers, (1916)
Sergeantson, R M, The Court Rolls of Higham Ferrers, Part II, (1917)
Brown, A E, 'Northamptonshire Past and Present' in Higham Ferrers Castle - or Otherwise, (1974)
Other
P.R.O. DL. 42. 117 and SC 12 13 33,
P.R.O.E. 317, Parliamentary Surveys Northants 32,
Public Record Office, D.L. 42, 117 and SC 12 13 33, (1590)

National Grid Reference: SP 96116 68725

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.
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 - 1012113 .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 21-Nov-2017 at 06:21:16.

End of official listing