Eggesford Castle, 640m north east of Eggesford House

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1016208
Date first listed:
26-Nov-1928
Date of most recent amendment:
07-Aug-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Eggesford Castle, 640m north east of Eggesford House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County:
Devon
District:
Mid Devon (District Authority)
Parish:
Wembworthy
National Grid Reference:
SS 67833 11911

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Eggesford Castle survives comparatively well and contains archaeological information relating to Norman military activity in this part of Devon. The proximity of this castle to another one nearby is unusual.

Details

The monument includes Eggesford Castle, a ringwork castle situated above a ford to the west of the River Taw at Eggesford. It lies to the south west of a second motte and bailey castle called Heywood Castle which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The monument survives as an oval mound which measures 31m long by 20m wide and is 3.5m high with a surrounding bank up to 1.5m high. Part of the ringwork has been levelled by 19th century ornamental gardening. The bailey, which lies to the NNE, measures 71m long by 24.5m wide internally and is surrounded by a bank which is up to 3.8m wide and 2.3m high. Surrounding the whole is a ditch which measures 2m wide and from 1.6m to 3.5m deep on the north eastern side; at this point steps have also been cut to facilitate access to the river. The history of the castle is not clear, although a date of 1130s to the 1140s seems most likely.

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:
30311
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS61SE11, (1992)

Legal

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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