Buckton Castle: a ringwork and site of 17th century beacon 350m north east of Castle Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Buckton Castle: a ringwork and site of 17th century beacon 350m north east of Castle Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2019 at 03:12:11.


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

Tameside (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 98905 01634

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.

Beacon sites were used to light fires to make a warning of the approach of hostile forces. This took the form of a smoke signal by day and flames at night. They were always sited on prominent positions and formed part of a chain or group covering most parts of the country. The ringwork on the south western corner of Buckton Moor is an uncommon type of monument in this region. Only a quarter of the known examples of ringwork castles in England have a bailey. This castle survives as upstanding remains with banks and ditches in an area of heather moorland. These remains are relatively well preserved and the heather and turf in the interior will cover important information about the buildings and the purpose of this castle as well as the way of life of its former inhabitants.


The monument includes a medieval ringwork castle and the remains of a bailey on the northern side. The monument is on a shoulder of Buckton Moor commanding a view of the valleys of the River Tame and the Carr Brook where they meet. The ringwork is constructed as a raised platform measuring 35m by 40m and is roughly rectangular. The site is enclosed by a bank which is in fact a collapsed wall of mortared blocks of stone with a mortared rubble core. The stonework has been exposed in places by erosion by sheep and human activity, particularly on the western side. This wall was around 2m wide. An outer ditch surrounds the site on the north west and south sides. On the south western side the natural steep slope of the hill provides the outer defence. The ditch is on average 10m wide and up to 6m deep where it is best preserved on the south eastern side. There are two visible entrances on the north west corner and the south east corner and there seems to be evidence for the latter being later in date. The northern entrance is protected by a spur of walling on its western side 25m long and built up on a mound of earth and stone to compensate for the slope. Two related earthworks extend towards the north west from the ringwork. The western earthwork is visible for 50m of its length and the eastern one for 90m. The latter earthwork has a barely visible external ditch about 3m wide. These features enclose an area 75m by 50m forming an oval bailey on the northern side of the ringwork castle. The site has been previously identified as a Romano-British earthwork fort and as a Late Iron Age promontory fort but current opinion, in the light of a more detailed survey in 1991, has decided in favour of a medieval date for the monument. The site was described as a ruined castle in 1360. The site was used as a beacon during the time of the Pilgrimage of Grace and also at the time of the Spanish Armada in the 16th century.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Booth, K, Cronin, J, Buckton Castle a Survey, (1987), 61-66
Nevell, M, Tameside 1066-1700, (1991), 115
Booth, K, Cronin, J, 'Greater Manchester Archaeological Journal' in Buckton Castle A Survey, (1987), 61-66


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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