Lewisham Castle

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017364

Date first listed: 12-Apr-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Apr-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Lewisham Castle
© 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.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Aldbourne

National Grid Reference: SU 24358 73860

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.

Lewisham Castle survives well as an earthwork which will retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to its construction and use and the landscape in which it developed. It is likely to have been adapted in the medieval period for military or hunting purposes.

History

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

Details

The monument includes Lewisham Castle, an elliptical embanked platform with an external ditch interpreted as a ringwork, which lies just below the brow of a north facing chalk scarp overlooking Aldbourne Chase.

The platform measures a maximum of 36m east to west internally. Both the bank and the broad `V'-shaped ditch enclosing the platform are more pronounced on the northern and western sides, where the ditch is a maximum of 2m in depth and 9m in width at its top, and the bank up to 9m in width and 2.5m in height. A widening of the ditch on the north western side is thought to be due to slumping whilst a slight ridge against its outer lip to the west indicates the remains of a counterscarp bank. A break in the bank and ditch on the south eastern edge of the platform possibly comprises the original entrance and a sub-circular bulge constructed of flint nodules on the inner side of the northern bank is thought to represent the foundation for a structure.

Both the etymology of the name Lewisham Castle and the precise function of the enclosure are unknown, although 19th century finds of iron arrowheads and large quantities of medieval pottery in its immediate vicinity demonstrate that it was certainly utilised in this period. The position of the monument below the brow of a hill suggests that it was not primarily built with defence in mind and its proximity to Aldbourne Chase and to several similarly sized enclosures of known prehistoric date indicate that it might have been a much older feature which was adapted in the medieval period as a ringwork for either military use or in connection with hunting.

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: 30286

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), p.261
Carrington, F A, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 2, (1855), p.126-9
Other
Ordnance Survey, SU 27 SW 451, (1973)
Title: Sketch Plan - SM 30286 Lewisham Castle Source Date: 1999 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 SW 451,

End of official listing