Ancient Monuments

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Jordan Castle: ringwork, possible enclosures, pond and ridge and furrow

A Scheduled Monument in Wellow, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.1916 / 53°11'29"N

Longitude: -0.985 / 0°59'6"W

OS Eastings: 467909.48292

OS Northings: 366532.381565

OS Grid: SK679665

Mapcode National: GBR 9G6.XDD

Mapcode Global: WHFH0.V13M

Entry Name: Jordan Castle: ringwork, possible enclosures, pond and ridge and furrow

Scheduled Date: 19 August 1954

Last Amended: 2 November 2021

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010916

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13394

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Wellow

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Wellow

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes an eleventh or twelfth century ringwork adapted in the
thirteenth century to become the site of a fortified manor house. Also
included are the hollow way and fishpond associated with the manor and the
well-preserved ridge and furrow adjacent to and crossing the site.
The ringwork includes a sub-circular platform measuring 60m from north to
south by 52m from east to west. Round the edge is a well-preserved revetment
surviving to a height of 3m on the north-west side and 2m on the east and
north-east sides. This revetment will have originated with the construction of
the earlier earthwork castle but was later rebuilt when, in 1252, Jordan
Foliot was given licence to crenellate the manor house that had replaced the
earlier medieval buildings associated with the ringwork. A wall would have
replaced a wooden palisade at this time. Enclosing the platform is a 12m wide
ditch which drops 5m from the top of the revetment at its deepest point and up
to 3m from the surrounding area. On the east side the ditch is up to 1m
shallower, probably as a result of partial infilling caused by post-medieval
ploughing. Ploughing has also filled-in the ditch on the north side where the
earthwork remains of ridge and furrow can be seen crossing the platform,
partially levelling the revetment on the north and south edges. On the
south-west corner of the ringwork, the ditch is crossed by an 8m wide causeway
which leads from a sunken track or hollow way approaching from the west. This
hollow way runs westward from the ringwork for c.100m before disappearing
beneath the modern farmyard in the vicinity of the pond. For most of its
length it is roughly 5m wide and 1m deep, with sides that incline gently at
roughly 45 degrees. Just south of the ringwork, however, it turns at
right-angles northwards, becoming nearly 2m deep and only 3m wide as it
approaches the causeway. Earth mounds on either side indicate structures at
this point; most likely a gate tower guarding the approach to the ringwork.
The precise dating of the features associated with the ringwork cannot be
achieved without excavation, so it is not yet known whether this gate tower
relates to the earlier earthwork castle or to the later manor. It may,
however, have been part of Jordan Foliot's fortifications.
The ridge and furrow that runs across the ringwork and adjacent to it on the
north-east side clearly post-dates the abandonment of the site. Of broadly
similar date is the very well-preserved ridge and furrow that lies north of
the ringwork and runs at right-angles to the other. The modern farm track now
occupies the headland formed between the two. The northern block of ridge and
furrow is more pronounced than the southern, each ridge being over 1m high and
the distance between the ridges being approximately 6m. A substantial headland
shows the south-west limit of ploughing and became the line of the later field
boundary. On the south-east side, the furrows are particularly deep and drain
into a small, roughly rectangular pond. This pond is still in use and measures
c.10m by 12m. It is believed to have originated as a manorial fishpond.
A number of features within the area are excluded from the scheduling. They
are all boundary fencing, the surface of the farm track dividing the monument
and four telegraph poles and their supports which stand on and adjacent to the
ringwork. The ground beneath these features is, however, included.

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

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.

Jordan Castle is a well-preserved example of a ringwork which remained in use
as a domestic residence and became the site of a fortified manor house in the
mid-thirteenth century. Although disturbed by ploughing, the remains of
earlier and later medieval structures will survive on the platform and include
the revetment round the edge. Ancillary features such as a fishpond and
hollow way also survive well and may also include a gate tower. The fishpond
is still water-filled and so will retain well-preserved organic remains. Also
well-preserved is the ridge and furrow that surrounds and crosses the
ringwork, providing evidence of when the site was abandoned.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 304-5
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 250
'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Transactions of the Thoroton Society: Volume 43, , Vol. 43, (1939), 15
'Chateau Gaillard' in Chateau Gaillard III (Ref Jordan Castle), , Vol. III, (1966)
'English Placenames Society' in English Placenames Society (Volume 17), , Vol. 17, (1940), 66
F21/58/1775 0017-9, Royal Air Force, (1955)
SF 3216/22-25, Cox, CD,

Source: Historic England

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