Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork in Castlehill Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Dinting, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.4563 / 53°27'22"N

Longitude: -1.959 / 1°57'32"W

OS Eastings: 402815.907593

OS Northings: 395507.171376

OS Grid: SK028955

Mapcode National: GBR GXRG.NQ

Mapcode Global: WHB9S.WD95

Entry Name: Ringwork in Castlehill Wood

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011431

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23309

County: Derbyshire

Electoral Ward/Division: Dinting

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Dinting Vale Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Although elsewhere recorded as a motte, this monument, sometimes known as
Mouselow Castle, is in fact a ringwork. It includes an oval earthwork,
constructed at the summit of a steep hill, enclosed on all but the south-west
side by a ditch and a substantial counterscarp bank. A bailey or outer
enclosure may originally have extended to the south-west, but this area is not
included in the scheduling as it has been heavily disturbed by quarrying.
The central earthwork comprises an area measuring c.30m by 20m surrounded by
3m wide bank. The bank stands between 1m and 1.5m above the interior but is
between 3m and 4m high above the bottom of the surrounding ditch. Low, grass-
covered mounds, visible on the north-west and south-east sides of the enclosed
area, are interpreted as the sites of buildings. The ditch, which has a V-
shaped profile, is c.6m wide and was found, by excavation, originally to have
been 2.3m deep. The upcast material from the ditch was used to construct the
counterscarp bank which is c.5m wide and up to 3m wide. A line of turf found
within the latter indicates that it was heightened at some point and that the
ditch must therefore have been recut. This shows there to have been at least
two phases to the fortification of the site. The precise function of the
ringwork is unknown but it commands wide views over the surrounding moorland
and overlooks the confluence of Dinting Vale and the valley of the River

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 in Castlehill Wood is a small but reasonably well-preserved
example which, although partially disturbed by quarrying, retains substantial
archaeological remains including the foundations of stone buildings. In
addition, it is believed to be one of the rarer forms of ringwork with an
attached bailey, though this bailey is not included in the scheduling.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905)
Aikin, J , A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty Miles round Manchester, (1795)
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981)
Watson, J, Archaeologica, (1779)
Reeve, Glynis, Mouselow Castle, an interim report 1984/85, 1984, Report held by Mr and Mrs Goddard
Report held by Mr and Mrs Goddard, Reeve, Glynis, Facsimile reproduction of ... excavations by J Scott c. 1963, Mouselow Castle, an interim report 1984/85, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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