Ancient Monuments

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Woodhead Castle ringwork bailey and fishpond

A Scheduled Monument in Great Casterton, Rutland

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Latitude: 52.6933 / 52°41'36"N

Longitude: -0.5266 / 0°31'35"W

OS Eastings: 499678.354578

OS Northings: 311646.949227

OS Grid: SK996116

Mapcode National: GBR FV9.5PL

Mapcode Global: WHGLP.WKFK

Entry Name: Woodhead Castle ringwork bailey and fishpond

Scheduled Date: 11 December 1951

Last Amended: 30 January 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010923

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17007

County: Rutland

Civil Parish: Great Casterton

Traditional County: Rutland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Rutland

Church of England Parish: Great Casterton St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Woodhead Castle is a moated ringwork with an attached bailey enclosure and an
outlying fishpond.

The moated ringwork measures approximately 90m x 90m in maximum dimension with
arms 12m wide and 4m deep, except in the north-western corner where the moat
has been enlarged and is currently waterlogged. The moat island exhibits an
inner bank comprising the remains of a stone wall which survives to a height
of 1m in the south-eastern area. The foundations of buildings, including a
chapel, occur in the northern half of the island. There are two entrances, one
on the western side and one on the eastern side leading to the outer bailey.
The outer bailey is sub-rectangular in plan and is demarcated by a low bank
about 5m wide which encloses an area of 80m x 70m. An entrance to the
enclosure on its eastern side is aligned with the two access points of the
moated ringwork. On the south side of the ringwork is a small rectangular
fishpond measuring approximately 10m x 20m considered to be contemporary with
the rest of the monument.

Woodhead Castle is identified as being of medieval date, being visited by
Edward I in 1290, and there are documentary records of a chapel and buildings
on the site, which were in ruin by 1543.

A modern brick structure, marked on the Ordnance Survey map as a hydraulic ram
(disused), is located in the north east corner of the moat and is excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 ringwork at Woodhead Castle survives essentially undamaged and is
therefore of high archaeological potential. Its interior and that of the
adjacent enclosure will hold evidence of medieval buildings which formed the
settlement and chapel. The waterlogged part of the moat in the north-east
provides good conditions for survival of organic remains.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Rutland: Volume II, (1935), 232
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of Rutland, (1983), 17
Leach,P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Ringworks, (1988)
Royal Comm Records, JB, REF Woodhead Castle, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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