Ancient Monuments

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Norwood Castle: a motte and bailey castle 100m north of Dean Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Oaksey, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.6489 / 51°38'55"N

Longitude: -2.0231 / 2°1'23"W

OS Eastings: 398496.398073

OS Northings: 194450.492376

OS Grid: ST984944

Mapcode National: GBR 2Q9.KBY

Mapcode Global: VHB2W.WTBC

Entry Name: Norwood Castle: a motte and bailey castle 100m north of Dean Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 11 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012048

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12291

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Oaksey

Built-Up Area: Oaksey

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Oaksey

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a Norman motte and bailey earthwork set on high ground
overlooking a tributary of the River Thames. It comprises a low flat-topped
motte 1.5m high and 20m across surrounded by a moat 0.5m deep and up to 7m
wide. To the north-west of the motte is a sub-circular bailey measuring
internally 37m from NE-SW and 26m from NW-SE. The bailey is defined both by
an earthen bank 1.5m high and a surrounding ditch 1m deep. This remains
water-filled on its south-west side.
The site is described by Aubrey, an antiquarian, as `a little citadel with a
keepe hill, both moated round'.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain
by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the
motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of
examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey,
adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal
administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and
bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their
immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive
monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape.
Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally,
with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of
recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for
the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although
many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to
be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they
were superseded by other types of castle.

The Norwood Castle site is important as it is an outstanding example of a
small motte and bailey and survives particularly well. The monument has
considerable potential for the recovery of archaeological remains in addition
to environmental evidence which may give an insight into the economy of people
living in and around the site as well as the environment within which the
monument was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, (1963), 325
Title: Tithe Map, Oaksey
Source Date: 1840

Source: Historic England

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