Castle Combe Ringwork & Bailey, Wiltshire: Earthwork Survey

Author(s): Nicky Smith

Analytical earthwork survey of the castle at Castle Combe was undertaken by English Heritage in 2009 as part of a wider programme of archaeological work to improve understanding of the site and help develop permissive access proposals. This research report, compiled in 2020, accompanies the earlier survey. It examines the development of the earthworks and their wider landscape context. The castle has never been excavated and its earthworks are complex, so a broad chronology is tentatively proposed here from analysis of the visible remains. It is plausible that the perimeter enclosure began as an Iron Age promontory fort and was adapted as a castle in the post-Conquest period. The inner core of the castle appears to have been reinforced later by the addition of a ringwork, embedding the lower part of a pre-existing tower. This may have occurred during the Anarchy period, when the castle was an important strategic stronghold housing a mint. An internal subdivision in bailey three may be the remains of an earlier layout. Building platforms in all baileys except the outermost, indicate that the castle was densely populated prior to its abandonment in the 14th century.

Report Number:
Research Report
Castle Hillfort


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