Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork known as Castle Yard

A Scheduled Monument in Bramfield, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3069 / 52°18'24"N

Longitude: 1.5234 / 1°31'24"E

OS Eastings: 640290.287854

OS Northings: 273484.025247

OS Grid: TM402734

Mapcode National: GBR XP8.7ZH

Mapcode Global: VHM79.C86X

Entry Name: Ringwork known as Castle Yard

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1976

Last Amended: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017914

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30525

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Bramfield

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Bramfield St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes an earthwork, identified as a medieval ringwork,
prominently sited above a north west-facing slope overlooking the village of
Bramfield. Also included is a linear boundary earthwork which runs north
westwards from the ringwork.

The ringwork, which has an overall diameter of approximately 83m, is visible
as a circular platform, raised approximately 0.6m above the exterior ground
level and surrounded by a ditch up to 7m in width. It is likely that
originally there was also an inner bank encircling the enclosure, and that the
raised platform has been created, at least in part, by the levelling of this
feature. The platform is slightly dished in profile, and traces of a rim bank
can still be seen on the south west side. The ditch, which has become partly
infilled, remains open to a depth of up to 1m and holds water at times. A
causeway across the ditch on the south west side gives access to the interior,
although this is not thought to be an original feature. Trees around the
central platform may have been planted to enhance the view of the earthwork
from Bramfield Hall which lies 425m to the north west, on the opposite side of
the valley.

The adjacent linear earthwork, which is perhaps a medieval manorial boundary
feature, is visible as a bank and ditch, approximately 137m in length,
extending north westwards from the western side of the ringwork. The eastern
end curves in to a more easterly alignment as it approaches the ringwork
ditch, and may originally have abutted it. The bank is approximately 0.6m in
height and 12.5m wide at the base, and the ditch, along the southern side of
the bank, is approximately 3.5m wide and remains open to a depth of about
0.3m. Both bank and ditch are interrupted by four gaps which are not thought
to be original features.

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, the manor of Bramfield formed part
of the lands of Count Alan the Black of Brittany, who was a major landholder
in Norfolk and Suffolk and who subsequently inherited the lands of his
brother, centred on Richmond in Yorkshire. The ringwork is perhaps associated
with the family of de Bramfield who held the manor in the 12th century as
tenants of the Honour of Richmond.

A fence marking a field boundary which runs along the centre of the ringwork
on the south east side is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it 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.

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 known as Castle Yard is one of very few examples of this class of
monument to have been identified in Suffolk, and the site, on high ground,
overlooking the village and the roads which run through it, is typical of this
type of fortification. The ditch is well preserved and the accumulated fill
deposits within it are likely to contain evidence for the construction and use
of the site. Remains of buildings and other structures and deposits relating
to the use of the ringwork, and perhaps evidence for earlier land use, will
also be preserved within and beneath the central raised platform and the
spread material of the internal bank. The substantial boundary earthwork which
adjoins the ringwork and which is thought to be associated with it, gives the
monument additional interest.

Source: Historic England


Martin, E, Suffolk Coastal; Bramfield, BMF 001, (1990)
NMR TM 47 SW 1, (1974)
SAU AJK 1-6, (1979)
Sherlock, D, AM7 Castle Yard, (1975)

Source: Historic England

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