Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork and motte, 230m north east of Stanborough Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Halwell and Moreleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3535 / 50°21'12"N

Longitude: -3.7241 / 3°43'26"W

OS Eastings: 277443.560335

OS Northings: 51817.023429

OS Grid: SX774518

Mapcode National: GBR QK.L8YQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 3823.JYW

Entry Name: Ringwork and motte, 230m north east of Stanborough Camp

Scheduled Date: 26 February 1953

Last Amended: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019242

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33751

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Halwell and Moreleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Halwell St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a small ringwork with a slight internal bank and outer
ditch, 137m north east of Stanborough Camp. Earthworks to the ENE include a
reduced motte, cut by a post-medieval quarry.
The ringwork consists of a platform, between 37m and 39m in diameter, raised
about 0.7m from the surface of the surrounding field. The interior slopes
gently down to the north west. Remains of an encircling bank, between 2.5m and
5m wide by 0.3m high, survive around the edge of the platform. No interior
features are visible, but there is a surrounding ditch, about 15m wide and up
to 0.4m deep. There is no obvious entrance.
Immediately outside the ringwork to its east is a truncated mound, of about
26m diameter. This has been identified as a motte and survives to about 0.3m
high and has the remains of an outer ditch on its north and south sides. This
varies from 2m to 5m in width and is a maximum of 0.3m deep on the west side.
The west side of the mound and its ditch have been cut away by a large quarry,
about 20m across. This has been excavated to a depth of about 4m in the centre
and a low heap of spoil deposited at its western extremity, about 17m wide by
about 0.5m high. A post-medieval hedgebank lies to the north of the quarry and
spoil heap, neither of which appear on the other side. A former medieval
ridgeway passes to the east of the site, although this feature is not included
in the scheduling.
All road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath 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.

Motte 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 mojority 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 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 such, and as one of a restricted rage of
recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important fort
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.

Despite some damage by ploughing, the ringwork and motte 230m north east of
Stanborough Camp are well-preserved with stratified remains likely to survive
in the upstanding earthworks and buried ditches. These will contain
archaeological and environmental information relating to this strategic
location and the landscape in which the monument functioned.

Source: Historic England


Ancient Monuments description, (1923)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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