Ancient Monuments

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Ringwork and bailey castle 390m west of Buntingsdale Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Sutton upon Tern, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.8892 / 52°53'21"N

Longitude: -2.5203 / 2°31'13"W

OS Eastings: 365086.85443

OS Northings: 332539.767964

OS Grid: SJ650325

Mapcode National: GBR 7T.Q08Y

Mapcode Global: WH9C3.8M3Y

Entry Name: Ringwork and bailey castle 390m west of Buntingsdale Hall

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1972

Last Amended: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019659

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33835

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Sutton upon Tern

Built-Up Area: Buntingsdale

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Little Drayton Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork and
bailey castle occupying an elevated position on a spur of land next to the
steep north west valley side of the River Tern. From this commanding location
there are extensive views of the land to the west and the Tern valley.

The ringwork is D-shaped, measuring approximately 30m by 34m internally, and
is defined by two ramparts, which are separated by an entrance passage 6m wide
to the west. The ringwork is defined on its north eastern side by the bluff
created by the adjacent river. The rampart on the southern/south western side
is considerably smaller than the one to the north west. It is about 8m wide
and stands just less than 1m high, becoming slightly broader and higher at its
eastern end. Its defensive strength is significantly enhanced by its position
at the top of a steep slope, which has been deliberately accentuated. Down the
slope to the south east of this rampart, earth has been deposited to form a
level projecting lookout platform, measuring approximately 11m by 16m. The
rampart defining the north western side of the ringwork is about 18m wide and
stands to a height of 2.5m. It is bounded on its northern side by a broad
ditch, up to 19m wide, which becomes narrower towards its southern end where
it defines the northern side of the entranceway into the interior. To
compensate for natural slope within the ringwork the eastern part of the
interior has been raised in order to create a level building platform.

On the slight ridge to the north west of the ringwork, a bailey was
constructed. Within this enclosure a range of ancillary structures are likely
to have been built, including stores, stables and additional domestic
accommodation. The north eastern side of the bailey, which is about 45m long,
is marked by the bluff formed by the river, which has been partially steepened
to increase its defensiveness. The defences constructed to define the north
western and south western sides of the bailey are no longer visible at ground
level, but will survive as buried features.

All fence and gate posts, and stiles are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

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 and bailey castle 390m west of Buntingsdale Hall is a well-
preserved example of this class of monument. In Shropshire, ringworks are
comparatively rare in relation to other contemporary types of early Norman
castle incorporating a mound, or motte, on which buildings were constructed.
This castle is also unusual in that the associated bailey survives. Extensive
remains of the structures that stood within the ringwork and the bailey are
expected to survive as buried features which, together with associated
artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the
activities and the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the castle. Organic
remains surviving within the buried ground surfaces under the raised interior
of the ringwork, and beneath the ramparts and within the ditches, will provide
information about the changes to the local environment and the use of the land
before and after the castle was constructed.

The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape.

Source: Historic England

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