Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork and bailey castle, Brogborough

A Scheduled Monument in Brogborough, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0363 / 52°2'10"N

Longitude: -0.5869 / 0°35'12"W

OS Eastings: 497024.843745

OS Northings: 238488.367581

OS Grid: SP970384

Mapcode National: GBR F1V.8FR

Mapcode Global: VHFQR.S22S

Entry Name: Ringwork and bailey castle, Brogborough

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1992

Last Amended: 20 September 2021

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013016

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20436

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Brogborough

Built-Up Area: Brogborough

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Ridgmont

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes a ringwork castle which is situated on a promontory on
the north-east facing scarp of the Bedfordshire Greensand ridge and lies in
the grounds of The Round House, a derelict 19th century building, Grade II
Listed. Although considerably altered by the construction of the house and
associated landscaping, the southern quadrant of the castle survives as a
substantial earthwork and in the northern quadrant the line of the ramparts
can be discerned as distinct scarps.
The castle is oval in plan measuring about 130m north-south by 100m east-west
and comprises a central stronghold, the ringwork, with an outer defended
court, or bailey, to the north, and is further defended to the south and west
by a ditch and outer bank. The remains of the ringwork are visible to the
south-east of The Round House as a pair of mounds about 5m high and 10m wide,
which have been altered by quarrying but which were originally linked to form
a full circuit of estimated diameter 45m. The bailey is located on a terrace
to the east of The Round House and its northern limit is discernable as a
steep scarp, about 2.5m high, which curves around the north side of the house.
The Round House is built into the west-facing scarp of the terrace and the
eastern part is covered in dense undergrowth. The outer ditch is clearly
visible south of the ringwork where it ranges from 8m to 18m in width. Over
the years the ditch has become infilled and is now about 1m deep. The bank
which lies on the outer edge of the ditch is slightly eroded by ploughing but
is still 1m high and up to 10m wide. The ditch and bank are considered to
continue around the west side of the house, beneath the existing driveway. To
the north-west of the house the line of the outer bank is visible as a steep
scarp the top of which lies some 15m from the building. Along the north and
east sides, the steep natural slope provided adequate defence and the outer
ramparts are not present. The north slope is slightly altered by an old
The monument has been identified as 'Rugemont Castle', stronghold of the
Wahull family and their successors the de Greys. The ringwork is one of two
castles in the parish; the other is a motte at the north end of Ridgmont
The Round House and its deep basements are totally excluded from the
scheduling. The adjacent outbuildings and barns are also excluded along with
the garden walls and fences and the metalled surface of the driveway but the
ground beneath these features is 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.

Although considerably altered by later building and quarrying, the ringwork at
The Round House retains important archaeological remains. The area of the
bailey which lies to the east of The Round House retains its full potential
for the recovery of the below-ground remains of buildings associated with the
bailey. Environmental evidence may be recovered from silts preserved in the
partially infilled ditch and from buried landsurface beneath the rampart bank.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Williams, S, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1912)
Beds. record no.33: Ridgmont Castle,
Map and accompanying text, Enclosure Award, (1814)
NAR Record,
Title: Survey of Brogborough Park (26inch=1mile)
Source Date: 1728

Source: Historic England

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