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Buckton Castle: a ringwork and site of 17th century beacon 350m north east of Castle Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Stalybridge North, Tameside

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.5114 / 53°30'40"N

Longitude: -2.018 / 2°1'4"W

OS Eastings: 398904.183983

OS Northings: 401630.60168

OS Grid: SD989016

Mapcode National: GBR GWBV.X0

Mapcode Global: WHB9K.Z07F

Entry Name: Buckton Castle: a ringwork and site of 17th century beacon 350m north east of Castle Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 July 1924

Last Amended: 19 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015131

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27598

County: Tameside

Electoral Ward/Division: Stalybridge North

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Details

The monument includes a medieval ringwork castle and the remains of a bailey
on the northern side. The monument is on a shoulder of Buckton Moor commanding
a view of the valleys of the River Tame and the Carr Brook where they meet.
The ringwork is constructed as a raised platform measuring 35m by 40m and is
roughly rectangular. The site is enclosed by a bank which is in fact a
collapsed wall of mortared blocks of stone with a mortared rubble core. The
stonework has been exposed in places by erosion by sheep and human activity,
particularly on the western side. This wall was around 2m wide. An
outer ditch surrounds the site on the north west and south sides. On the south
western side the natural steep slope of the hill provides the outer defence.
The ditch is on average 10m wide and up to 6m deep where it is best preserved
on the south eastern side. There are two visible entrances on the north west
corner and the south east corner and there seems to be evidence for the latter
being later in date. The northern entrance is protected by a spur of walling
on its western side 25m long and built up on a mound of earth and stone to
compensate for the slope. Two related earthworks extend towards the north west
from the ringwork. The western earthwork is visible for 50m of its length and
the eastern one for 90m. The latter earthwork has a barely visible external
ditch about 3m wide. These features enclose an area 75m by 50m forming an oval
bailey on the northern side of the ringwork castle. The site has been
previously identified as a Romano-British earthwork fort and as a Late Iron
Age promontory fort but current opinion, in the light of a more detailed
survey in 1991, has decided in favour of a medieval date for the monument. The
site was described as a ruined castle in 1360.
The site was used as a beacon during the time of the Pilgrimage of Grace
and also at the time of the Spanish Armada in the 16th century.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Beacon sites were used to light fires to make a warning of the approach of
hostile forces. This took the form of a smoke signal by day and flames at
night. They were always sited on prominent positions and formed part of a
chain or group covering most parts of the country.
The ringwork on the south western corner of Buckton Moor is an uncommon type
of monument in this region. Only a quarter of the known examples of ringwork
castles in England have a bailey. This castle survives as upstanding remains
with banks and ditches in an area of heather moorland. These remains are
relatively well preserved and the heather and turf in the interior will cover
important information about the buildings and the purpose of this castle as
well as the way of life of its former inhabitants.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Booth, K, Cronin, J, Buckton Castle a Survey, (1987), 61-66
Nevell, M, Tameside 1066-1700, (1991), 115
Booth, K, Cronin, J, 'Greater Manchester Archaeological Journal' in Buckton Castle A Survey, (1987), 61-66

Source: Historic England

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