Ringwork known as Castle Yard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017914

Date first listed: 27-Apr-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Ringwork known as Castle Yard
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2018 at 11:24:58.


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

County: Suffolk

District: Suffolk Coastal (District Authority)

Parish: Bramfield

National Grid Reference: TM 40257 73475


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 known as Castle Yard is one of very few examples of this class of monument to have been identified in Suffolk, and the site, on high ground, overlooking the village and the roads which run through it, is typical of this type of fortification. The ditch is well preserved and the accumulated fill deposits within it are likely to contain evidence for the construction and use of the site. Remains of buildings and other structures and deposits relating to the use of the ringwork, and perhaps evidence for earlier land use, will also be preserved within and beneath the central raised platform and the spread material of the internal bank. The substantial boundary earthwork which adjoins the ringwork and which is thought to be associated with it, gives the monument additional interest.


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


The monument includes an earthwork, identified as a medieval ringwork, prominently sited above a north west-facing slope overlooking the village of Bramfield. Also included is a linear boundary earthwork which runs north westwards from the ringwork.

The ringwork, which has an overall diameter of approximately 83m, is visible as a circular platform, raised approximately 0.6m above the exterior ground level and surrounded by a ditch up to 7m in width. It is likely that originally there was also an inner bank encircling the enclosure, and that the raised platform has been created, at least in part, by the levelling of this feature. The platform is slightly dished in profile, and traces of a rim bank can still be seen on the south west side. The ditch, which has become partly infilled, remains open to a depth of up to 1m and holds water at times. A causeway across the ditch on the south west side gives access to the interior, although this is not thought to be an original feature. Trees around the central platform may have been planted to enhance the view of the earthwork from Bramfield Hall which lies 425m to the north west, on the opposite side of the valley.

The adjacent linear earthwork, which is perhaps a medieval manorial boundary feature, is visible as a bank and ditch, approximately 137m in length, extending north westwards from the western side of the ringwork. The eastern end curves in to a more easterly alignment as it approaches the ringwork ditch, and may originally have abutted it. The bank is approximately 0.6m in height and 12.5m wide at the base, and the ditch, along the southern side of the bank, is approximately 3.5m wide and remains open to a depth of about 0.3m. Both bank and ditch are interrupted by four gaps which are not thought to be original features.

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, the manor of Bramfield formed part of the lands of Count Alan the Black of Brittany, who was a major landholder in Norfolk and Suffolk and who subsequently inherited the lands of his brother, centred on Richmond in Yorkshire. The ringwork is perhaps associated with the family of de Bramfield who held the manor in the 12th century as tenants of the Honour of Richmond.

A fence marking a field boundary which runs along the centre of the ringwork on the south east side is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 30525

Legacy System: RSM


Martin, E, Suffolk Coastal; Bramfield, BMF 001, (1990)
NMR TM 47 SW 1, (1974)
SAU AJK 1-6, (1979)
Sherlock, D, AM7 Castle Yard, (1975)

End of official listing