Ringwork and bailey castle 400m south of Langford Barton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021376

Date first listed: 09-Feb-2001

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Sep-2004


Ordnance survey map of Ringwork and bailey castle 400m south of Langford Barton
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 09:28:44.


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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Ugborough

National Grid Reference: SX 69912 56546


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.

Despite the reduction of parts of the ringwork and bailey castle, 400m south of Langford Barton, by ploughing and hedge removal, substantial remains are preserved and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to the castle's construction and use and the landscape in which it functioned. An ovoid earthwork enclosure surrounding the site may be of Anglo-Saxon date.


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


This monument includes a Norman ringwork castle with an unusually small bailey, occupying a low natural hillock in the bottom of a shallow valley. The large and roughly circular ringwork is 40m in diameter with a sub-rectangular depression in the centre. The ringwork varies in height from 2.3m on the east side to 3.5m on the west, falling 0.3m into the central depression on the east side and 2.2m on the west side. A break for an entrance occurs in the circuit on the north east side, while to the south west there may be another. The surrounding ditch is well-defined on the west and north sides and is between 6m and 7m wide and up to 1.2m deep. On the east and south sides the ground falls away, the ditch being represented by a terrace about 7m wide. A short section of the rock-cut outer edge of the ditch is visible on the north east side. To the north of the ringwork, traces of a small sub-rectangular bailey measure 45m across its visible earthworks, projecting an average of 20m from the ditch of the ringwork. The west rampart of the bailey is 10m wide and stands up to 1.3m high. Its north and east sides survive as a change in slope 2m to 3m wide and 0.6m high. A triangular spur 8m wide and 0.5m high, projects 6m from the southern edge of the ringwork's ditch. A 6m wide ditch to the west of the spur is 0.5m deep. The outer edge of this ditch continues as a scarp for 70m to the south west, curving around the hillside. This scarp is between 2m and 3m wide and is 0.5m high at the north east end, running out to 0.2m at its south west terminus. A further 10m to 12m down the valley side to the south east, terraces between 4m and 6m wide fall an average of 1m overall. These terraces are concentric with the ringwork, continuing around the slope to the north and eventually joining the north eastern side of the bailey. In the 19th century, a watermeadow leat was channelled along the lower terrace. A rampart and outer ditch curves around the ringwork and its bailey on the north west side of the site at a distance of about 8m from the bailey. The rampart is between 5m and 8m wide and survives to between 0.3m and 0.8m high. Its ditch is about 5m wide and 0.2m deep. This may be of Anglo-Saxon date, perhaps representing the site of the Domesday Manor of Langford. A broad causeway runs across the low lying ground to the west. This is a maximum of 8m wide and 0.8m high and survives to about 350m long. Only the eastern part is included in the scheduling. Traces of a former hedgebank run from the ringwork to the south west and survive as a slight earthwork 0.4m wide and 0.2m high. A ditch 3m wide and 0.2m deep runs along its north side. Alignments in the oak trees surviving on the ringwork show where this and other hedgebanks once ran. All fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33766

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Higham, R A, The Castles of Medieval Devon, (1979)
Reed, S J, Archaeological Recording on the SWW South Devon spine main, (1991), 5
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, (1999)

End of official listing