Ancient Monuments

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Lewisham Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Aldbourne, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4632 / 51°27'47"N

Longitude: -1.6508 / 1°39'2"W

OS Eastings: 424356.49871

OS Northings: 173861.892772

OS Grid: SU243738

Mapcode National: GBR 5Y3.9GB

Mapcode Global: VHC1J.BHN4

Entry Name: Lewisham Castle

Scheduled Date: 12 April 1957

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017364

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30286

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Aldbourne

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes Lewisham Castle, an elliptical embanked platform with an
external ditch interpreted as a ringwork, which lies just below the brow of a
north facing chalk scarp overlooking Aldbourne Chase.

The platform measures a maximum of 36m east to west internally. Both the bank
and the broad `V'-shaped ditch enclosing the platform are more pronounced on
the northern and western sides, where the ditch is a maximum of 2m in depth
and 9m in width at its top, and the bank up to 9m in width and 2.5m in height.
A widening of the ditch on the north western side is thought to be due to
slumping whilst a slight ridge against its outer lip to the west indicates the
remains of a counterscarp bank. A break in the bank and ditch on the south
eastern edge of the platform possibly comprises the original entrance and a
sub-circular bulge constructed of flint nodules on the inner side of the
northern bank is thought to represent the foundation for a structure.

Both the etymology of the name Lewisham Castle and the precise function of the
enclosure are unknown, although 19th century finds of iron arrowheads and
large quantities of medieval pottery in its immediate vicinity demonstrate
that it was certainly utilised in this period. The position of the monument
below the brow of a hill suggests that it was not primarily built with defence
in mind and its proximity to Aldbourne Chase and to several similarly sized
enclosures of known prehistoric date indicate that it might have been a much
older feature which was adapted in the medieval period as a ringwork for
either military use or in connection with hunting.

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.

Lewisham Castle survives well as an earthwork which will retain archaeological
remains and environmental evidence relating to its construction and use and
the landscape in which it developed. It is likely to have been adapted in the
medieval period for military or hunting purposes.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), p.261
Carrington, F A, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 2, (1855), p.126-9
Ordnance Survey, SU 27 SW 451, (1973)
Title: Sketch Plan - SM 30286 Lewisham Castle
Source Date: 1999

Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 SW 451,

Source: Historic England

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