Ringwork castle, 80m north west of St John the Baptist's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017768

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1998


Ordnance survey map of Ringwork castle, 80m north west of St John the Baptist's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1017768 .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 19-Dec-2018 at 00:12:19.


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

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Aston Cantlow

National Grid Reference: SP 13660 60043


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 ringwork castle on the western outskirts of Aston Cantlow village survives well and is only one of two known examples of this class of monument in Warwickshire and illustrates well the diversity in form of ringwork castles. The site is unencumbered by modern development and part excavation has shown that the foundations of medieval structures will survive as buried features, providing information on the construction of the castle and its occupation. Deposits from the accumulated fill of the ringwork and bailey ditches will cast valuable light on the economy of the site's inhabitants and for the landscape in which they lived. The site is also of importance because of the castle's short period of occupancy, and its abandonment in the 14th century will have sealed these early deposits, ensuring that they have not been disturbed by later activities.


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


The monument is situated approximately 80m north west of St John the Baptist's Church, on the western outskirts of Aston Cantlow village and includes the earthworks and buried remains of a ringwork castle and a double bailey.

The ringwork at Aston Cantlow is located within an area of fairly low-lying ground alongside the River Alne and is bisected by the course of a former railway. The ringwork itself is roughly circular in plan and enclosed by a bank and an external ditch. The surface of the ringwork is uneven, indicating that buried features associated with the site's occupation will survive here. Part of the ringwork was excavated in 1932, exposing a foundation wall of local lias stone, and fragments of pottery and roofing tile were recovered.

To the north of the ringwork is a rectangular bailey with rounded corners which is bounded by a bank and external ditch. Both the western and eastern bailey ditches are now used as field drains and are thus not included in the scheduling, whilst the infilled section of ditch at the north western end of the bailey which was previously overlaid by the former railway embankment will survive as buried feature and is included. A second, smaller bailey lies to the south east of the ringwork and is defined by a ditch and an external bank. The southern arm of the bailey ditch, which runs parallel to the river, has become infilled over the years but will survive as a buried feature.

A slight linear earthwork, aligned north west-south east, is visible to the north west of the ringwork but it is not considered to be contemporary with the occupation of the castle and is not included in the scheduling.

Documentary sources indicate that the ringwork castle was constructed by the Cantilupe family and was inherited by the Hastings around 1273. By 1392, however, the castle, its barns and granges were in ruins.

All fence posts and the electricity poles and their support cables are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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


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

Legacy System number: 21669

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Styles, P, The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Aston Cantlow, (1946), 32
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeology Society' in Castles in Warwickshire, , Vol. 67, (1948), 30-1

End of official listing