Ancient Monuments

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Motte and double ringwork east of Bishopstrow Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bishopstrow, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1956 / 51°11'44"N

Longitude: -2.1435 / 2°8'36"W

OS Eastings: 390069.983048

OS Northings: 144049.038738

OS Grid: ST900440

Mapcode National: GBR 1V7.YR2

Mapcode Global: VH97P.S6PT

Entry Name: Motte and double ringwork east of Bishopstrow Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009891

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10211

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bishopstrow

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Bishopstrow St Aldhelm

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes an earthwork castle comprising a motte, a double
ringwork and associated features immediately east of Bishopstrow Farm.
A hollow-way extending to the north of the modern farm is identified as
an entrance. The monument survives as earthworks although spread by
cultivation. Small-scale excavation in 1981 of a pit cluster to the
south of the motte and in the north-western section of the defences
revealed pottery sherds of probable C12th date. It has been suggested
that the castle was a short-lived fortification erected during the

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The most complete and extensive survival of chalk downland archaeological
remains in central southern England occurs on Salisbury Plain, particularly in
those areas lying within the Salisbury Plain Training Area. These remains
represent one of the few extant archaeological "landscapes" in Britain and are
considered to be of special significance because they differ in character from
those in other areas with comparable levels of preservation. Individual sites
on Salisbury Plain are seen as being additionally important because the
evidence of their direct association with each other survives so well.
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.

Although partially damaged by cultivation, limited excavation has
demonstrated the considerable archaeological potential of the
Bishopstrow monument. Sites of this type are particularly rare on
Salisbury Plain.

Source: Historic England


Trust for Wessex Archaeology, (1987)
Wiltshire Library & Museum Service, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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