Ancient Monuments

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Medieval ringwork in Middle Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Heathfield and Waldron, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9515 / 50°57'5"N

Longitude: 0.1975 / 0°11'51"E

OS Eastings: 554450.771887

OS Northings: 119198.802953

OS Grid: TQ544191

Mapcode National: GBR MS0.8RG

Mapcode Global: FRA C69L.GRQ

Entry Name: Medieval ringwork in Middle Wood

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1967

Last Amended: 30 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014381

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12745

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Heathfield and Waldron

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Waldron All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a medieval ringwork formerly interpreted as a medieval
moated site. It comprises a deep circular ditch with both inner and outer
banks, the area within the ditch and an entrance on the NNE side. Ringworks
are small strongholds built around the time of the Norman Conquest.
The defensive nature of the site is evident from the steepness of the slopes
and the depth of the ditch, which measures over 3m from crest to base. The
ditch was not intended to be a water-filled moat, however, since no
provisions for a water supply appear to have been made. The inner bank is
some 6m wide and survives to a height of 1.5m in places. Within this bank
is a flat area 30m across within which would have stood domestic buildings
and perhaps a chapel (a feature noted in local oral tradition). No remains
of these buildings are visible today.
The entrance ramp to the north of the ringwork is 8m wide and slopes gently
downwards to the level of the bottom of the surrounding ditch. A bridge is
likely to have crossed from the north end of the ramp onto the interior.

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 example in Middle Wood is one of only two such monuments known in East
Sussex. The oral tradition of stone buildings on the interior supports the
view that the monument is of high archaeological potential. The presence of
such a stronghold is also of considerable importance in the early Post-
Conquest geography of this region, which has not hitherto been known as one
of significance in the Norman period.

Source: Historic England


Leach, P, Monument Class Description - Ringworks, (1988)
TQ51 NW1,

Source: Historic England

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