Ringwork and motte, 230m north east of Stanborough Camp


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019242

Date first listed: 26-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Ringwork and motte, 230m north east of Stanborough Camp
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 20:49:48.


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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Halwell and Moreleigh

National Grid Reference: SX 77453 51819


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.

Motte 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 mojority 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 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 such, and as one of a restricted rage of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important fort 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.

Despite some damage by ploughing, the ringwork and motte 230m north east of Stanborough Camp are well-preserved with stratified remains likely to survive in the upstanding earthworks and buried ditches. These will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to this strategic location and the landscape in which the monument functioned.


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


The monument includes a small ringwork with a slight internal bank and outer ditch, 137m north east of Stanborough Camp. Earthworks to the ENE include a reduced motte, cut by a post-medieval quarry. The ringwork consists of a platform, between 37m and 39m in diameter, raised about 0.7m from the surface of the surrounding field. The interior slopes gently down to the north west. Remains of an encircling bank, between 2.5m and 5m wide by 0.3m high, survive around the edge of the platform. No interior features are visible, but there is a surrounding ditch, about 15m wide and up to 0.4m deep. There is no obvious entrance. Immediately outside the ringwork to its east is a truncated mound, of about 26m diameter. This has been identified as a motte and survives to about 0.3m high and has the remains of an outer ditch on its north and south sides. This varies from 2m to 5m in width and is a maximum of 0.3m deep on the west side. The west side of the mound and its ditch have been cut away by a large quarry, about 20m across. This has been excavated to a depth of about 4m in the centre and a low heap of spoil deposited at its western extremity, about 17m wide by about 0.5m high. A post-medieval hedgebank lies to the north of the quarry and spoil heap, neither of which appear on the other side. A former medieval ridgeway passes to the east of the site, although this feature is not included in the scheduling. All road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 33751

Legacy System: RSM


Ancient Monuments description, (1923)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, (1999)

End of official listing