Ancient Monuments

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Kenwith Castle 330yds (300m) south east of Kenwith

A Scheduled Monument in Abbotsham, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0244 / 51°1'27"N

Longitude: -4.2359 / 4°14'9"W

OS Eastings: 243288.661024

OS Northings: 127380.715524

OS Grid: SS432273

Mapcode National: GBR KH.HNQX

Mapcode Global: FRA 260D.X58

Entry Name: Kenwith Castle 330yds (300m) SE of Kenwith

Scheduled Date: 13 March 1975

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002639

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 926

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Abbotsham

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Northam St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


An 18th century garden feature known as Kenwith Castle.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes an 18th century terraced garden feature situated on a natural rocky knoll known as Kenwith at the end of a ridge on the northern valley side of a tributary to the River Torridge. The knoll is a steep natural rocky outcrop which naturally resembled a motte and has been artificially modified by the cutting of a curving terrace around its foot which leads gently upwards and around in the form of a terrace. This terrace measures up to 2.8m wide and extends from the north eastern part of the hill making a gentle ascent on the north side round to the west and then rises more steeply on the southern side where it branches north to the summit and more gently to the west. This terracing was noted in 1806, when a rampart and ditch were described by Vidal, although evidence for this is not apparent the terrace seems to be rock-cut and not as a result of an in-filled ditch and revetments are defined by some herring-bone walling. It is known locally as Henni Castle or Henniborough and was identified on Donn’s map of 1765 as Henny Castle once known as Kenwith. It has been linked with the Saxon defensive position before the defeat of the Danes in 878 during the ‘Battle of Cynuit’, although this has now believed inaccurate. The probable explanation is of a natural hillock resembling a motte historically mis-identified as motte which was artificially enhanced and terraced during the 18th century as a type of folly in keeping with the castellated mansion to the north.

Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the 18th century many country houses and large estates planned and developed extensive and intricately planned parklands and gardens. Some areas were formally laid out whilst others were carefully developed to give the impression that they were natural or wild, when in fact they were wholly artificial. In order to add interest to such areas interesting buildings or grottos were often erected to give a focal point to a distant view for example. These could take many forms from temples and towers to romantic ruins, some of which were actual ruins or landscape features but others were entirely artificial. In the case of Kenwith Castle a natural knoll thought to be a medieval motte was modified to enable access on perambulations through the garden accessing a view point perhaps and thus the terraced sloping was developed.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-33070

Source: Historic England

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