Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork castle, 80m north west of St John the Baptist's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.2384 / 52°14'18"N

Longitude: -1.8014 / 1°48'5"W

OS Eastings: 413655.775803

OS Northings: 260042.615076

OS Grid: SP136600

Mapcode National: GBR 4L3.MDC

Mapcode Global: VHB03.QZJX

Entry Name: Ringwork castle, 80m north west of St John the Baptist's Church

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017768

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21669

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Aston Cantlow

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Aston Cantlow

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated approximately 80m north west of St John the
Baptist's Church, on the western outskirts of Aston Cantlow village and
includes the earthworks and buried remains of a ringwork castle and a double

The ringwork at Aston Cantlow is located within an area of fairly low-lying
ground alongside the River Alne and is bisected by the course of a former
railway. The ringwork itself is roughly circular in plan and enclosed by a
bank and an external ditch. The surface of the ringwork is uneven, indicating
that buried features associated with the site's occupation will survive here.
Part of the ringwork was excavated in 1932, exposing a foundation wall of
local lias stone, and fragments of pottery and roofing tile were recovered.

To the north of the ringwork is a rectangular bailey with rounded corners
which is bounded by a bank and external ditch. Both the western and eastern
bailey ditches are now used as field drains and are thus not included in the
scheduling, whilst the infilled section of ditch at the north western end of
the bailey which was previously overlaid by the former railway embankment will
survive as buried feature and is included. A second, smaller bailey lies to
the south east of the ringwork and is defined by a ditch and an external bank.
The southern arm of the bailey ditch, which runs parallel to the river, has
become infilled over the years but will survive as a buried feature.

A slight linear earthwork, aligned north west-south east, is visible to the
north west of the ringwork but it is not considered to be contemporary with
the occupation of the castle and is not included in the scheduling.

Documentary sources indicate that the ringwork castle was constructed by the
Cantilupe family and was inherited by the Hastings around 1273. By 1392,
however, the castle, its barns and granges were in ruins.

All fence posts and the electricity poles and their support cables are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 ringwork castle on the western outskirts of Aston Cantlow village survives
well and is only one of two known examples of this class of monument in
Warwickshire and illustrates well the diversity in form of ringwork castles.
The site is unencumbered by modern development and part excavation has
shown that the foundations of medieval structures will survive as buried
features, providing information on the construction of the castle and its
occupation. Deposits from the accumulated fill of the ringwork and bailey
ditches will cast valuable light on the economy of the site's inhabitants and
for the landscape in which they lived. The site is also of importance because
of the castle's short period of occupancy, and its abandonment in the 14th
century will have sealed these early deposits, ensuring that they have not
been disturbed by later activities.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Styles, P, The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Aston Cantlow, (1946), 32
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeology Society' in Castles in Warwickshire, , Vol. 67, (1948), 30-1

Source: Historic England

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