Ancient Monuments

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Eggesford Castle, 640m north east of Eggesford House

A Scheduled Monument in Chawleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8915 / 50°53'29"N

Longitude: -3.8805 / 3°52'49"W

OS Eastings: 267831.731566

OS Northings: 111913.013069

OS Grid: SS678119

Mapcode National: GBR KZ.S2RT

Mapcode Global: FRA 26RR.B04

Entry Name: Eggesford Castle, 640m north east of Eggesford House

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Last Amended: 7 August 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016208

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30311

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chawleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Wembworthy with Eggesford

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes Eggesford Castle, a ringwork castle situated above a
ford to the west of the River Taw at Eggesford. It lies to the south west of a
second motte and bailey castle called Heywood Castle which is the subject of a
separate scheduling.
The monument survives as an oval mound which measures 31m long by 20m wide
and is 3.5m high with a surrounding bank up to 1.5m high. Part of the ringwork
has been levelled by 19th century ornamental gardening. The bailey, which
lies to the NNE, measures 71m long by 24.5m wide internally and is surrounded
by a bank which is up to 3.8m wide and 2.3m high. Surrounding the whole is a
ditch which measures 2m wide and from 1.6m to 3.5m deep on the north eastern
side; at this point steps have also been cut to facilitate access to the
The history of the castle is not clear, although a date of 1130s to the 1140s
seems most likely.

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

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.

Eggesford Castle survives comparatively well and contains archaeological
information relating to Norman military activity in this part of Devon. The
proximity of this castle to another one nearby is unusual.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS61SE11, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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