Medieval ringwork in Middle Wood

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014381

Date first listed: 01-Nov-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Jan-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Medieval ringwork in Middle Wood
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: East Sussex

District: Wealden (District Authority)

Parish: Heathfield and Waldron

National Grid Reference: TQ 54449 19195

Summary

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 example in Middle Wood is one of only two such monuments known in East Sussex. The oral tradition of stone buildings on the interior supports the view that the monument is of high archaeological potential. The presence of such a stronghold is also of considerable importance in the early Post- Conquest geography of this region, which has not hitherto been known as one of significance in the Norman period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a medieval ringwork formerly interpreted as a medieval moated site. It comprises a deep circular ditch with both inner and outer banks, the area within the ditch and an entrance on the NNE side. Ringworks are small strongholds built around the time of the Norman Conquest. The defensive nature of the site is evident from the steepness of the slopes and the depth of the ditch, which measures over 3m from crest to base. The ditch was not intended to be a water-filled moat, however, since no provisions for a water supply appear to have been made. The inner bank is some 6m wide and survives to a height of 1.5m in places. Within this bank is a flat area 30m across within which would have stood domestic buildings and perhaps a chapel (a feature noted in local oral tradition). No remains of these buildings are visible today. The entrance ramp to the north of the ringwork is 8m wide and slopes gently downwards to the level of the bottom of the surrounding ditch. A bridge is likely to have crossed from the north end of the ramp onto the interior.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 12745

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
Leach, P, Monument Class Description - Ringworks, (1988)
TQ51 NW1,

End of official listing