Ancient Monuments

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The Castle ringwork, Berry Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Culworth, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.1185 / 52°7'6"N

Longitude: -1.2061 / 1°12'22"W

OS Eastings: 454452.141391

OS Northings: 246983.89904

OS Grid: SP544469

Mapcode National: GBR 8TR.1X8

Mapcode Global: VHCW4.10QS

Entry Name: The Castle ringwork, Berry Hill

Scheduled Date: 6 August 1975

Last Amended: 8 April 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010250

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13664

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Culworth

Built-Up Area: Culworth

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Culworth St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The castle ringwork at Culworth is situated at Berry Hill. It is located at
the south eastern end of the village and lies immediately to the north of St
Mary's church, which has Norman origins.
The ringwork has a roughly circular bank about 3m high which encloses a
central area about 25m across. The interior of the ringwork is slightly
raised above the surrounding ground level and has some irregularities
suggesting the presence of buried structures. On the western side, the
ringwork bank is lower which may indicate the entrance to the interior. The
ringwork is encompassed by a ditch 2m deep and up to 6m wide. The ditch has
been altered in the south east corner by work on the Old Rectory garden in the
last century and the churchyard has cut into the western ditch. On the
northern side of the ringwork there are traces of a slight outer bank.
It is recorded in Domesday that this area was held by Landric of Ghilo. It is
known too that he held part of Sulgrave, and that Sulgrave was associated with
Weedon Lois. Ringworks are preserved at all three sites.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

The Castle Ringwork at Berry Hill, Culworth, is one of seven surviving
ringworks in Northamptonshire and has documentary evidence for its origins.
The site also forms part of an unusual cluster of ringworks, as Culworth,
Weedon Lois, Canons Ashby and Sulgrave, all lie within 5kms of each other.
The earthworks survive well and the monument will contain evidence concerning
the development of the site and its relationship with the other ringworks

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , Archaeological sites of Northamptonshire, Volume III39

Source: Historic England

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