Ancient Monuments

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Mere Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Mere, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.092 / 51°5'31"N

Longitude: -2.2731 / 2°16'23"W

OS Eastings: 380966.365301

OS Northings: 132552.73013

OS Grid: ST809325

Mapcode National: GBR 0V3.G3R

Mapcode Global: FRA 6647.D88

Entry Name: Mere Castle

Scheduled Date: 19 April 1956

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017018

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26870

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Mere

Built-Up Area: Mere

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Mere St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the remains of Mere Castle, an enclosure castle, the
mound of which was formed by alteration of the eastern end of a chalk ridge
known as Long Hill. The top of this part of the hill was levelled to create a
building platform and a deep ditch, approximately 5m deep, was dug to separate
the castle from the western part of the ridge. The ditch includes a 2m wide
causeway linking the castle to the western part of the ridge. In addition, the
ditch, which in part forms a natural amphitheatre known as the Bull Ring, has
a broad bank on its western side. A further ditch, 1.5m deep, is located on
the eastern slope of the hill. Although the castle now survives as an
earthwork, limited excavations carried out in 1887 by T H Baker and the Rev E
G Wyld revealed a rectangular structure approximately 118m by 31m on the
summit of the hill, which had two circular towers on each side and rectangular
corner towers.
Mere Castle was built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in 1253. It originally
included six towers, a hall, inner and outer gates, a well and a chapel. It
was repaired in 1300 after which it fell into decay and was finally demolished
between 1780 and 1790, the materials from the castle being sold for building
Fragmentary terraces on the lower slopes of the hill below the castle on its
eastern side are of uncertain date and function and are not included in the
All fence posts, benches, the flag pole, war memorial, steps and plinths
supporting information panels are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

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.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 17 August 2017.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

An enclosure castle is a defended residence or stronghold, built mainly of
stone, in which the principal or sole defence comprises the walls and towers
bounding the site. Some form of keep may have stood within the enclosure but
this was not significant in defensive terms and served mainly to provide
accommodation. Larger sites might have more than one line of walling and there
are normally mural towers and gatehouses. Outside the walls a ditch, either
waterfilled or dry, crossed by bridges may be found. The first enclosure
castles were constructed at the time of the Norman Conquest. However, they
developed considerably in form during the 12th century when defensive
experience gained during the Crusades was applied to their design. The
majority of examples were constructed in the 13th century although a few were
built as late as the 14th century. Some represent reconstructions of earlier
medieval earthwork castles of the motte and bailey type, although others were
new creations. They provided strongly defended residences for the king or
leading families and occur in both urban and rural situations. Enclosure
castles are widely dispersed throughout England, with a slight concentration
in Kent and Sussex supporting a vulnerable coast, and a strong concentration
along the Welsh border where some of the best examples were built under Edward
I. They are rare nationally with only 126 recorded examples. Considerable
diversity of form is exhibited with no two examples being exactly alike. With
other castle types, they are major medieval monument types which, belonging to
the highest levels of society, frequently acted as major administrative
centres and formed the foci for developing settlement patterns. Castles
generally provide an emotive and evocative link to the past and can provide a
valuable educational resource, both with respect to medieval warfare and
defence and with respect to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples
retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally

Mere Castle is a prominent feature in the landscape, overlooking the town of
Mere. Limited excavations have provided information about the nature of the
castle and the surviving remains will contain archaeological deposits
providing information about its use and economy.
The Castle is open to the public.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Baker, T H, 'The Wilstshire Archaeological Magazine' in The Wilstshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 62, (1897), 229
War Memorials Register, accessed 17 August 2017 from

Source: Historic England

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