Ancient Monuments

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Heywood Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Chawleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8967 / 50°53'47"N

Longitude: -3.8794 / 3°52'45"W

OS Eastings: 267928.049706

OS Northings: 112480.459175

OS Grid: SS679124

Mapcode National: GBR KZ.RWK1

Mapcode Global: FRA 26RQ.Y6N

Entry Name: Heywood Castle

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Last Amended: 23 April 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020959

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28641

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chawleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Wembworthy with Eggesford

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a motte and bailey castle known as Heywood Castle
which is situated in a commanding location overlooking the valley of the
River Taw.
The monument survives as a circular motte, rock-cut ditch and crescent
shaped bailey with an outer bank. The motte has a diameter of 48.7m and is
7.9m high. On top of the motte is a ring bank which attains a height of up
to 4m in places and is up to 2m wide. The central enclosed area has a
small linear bank running from north to south within it, which measures
3.5m wide and up to 1.7m high and runs across the top of the mound. The
rock-cut ditch which surrounds the foot of the motte is 4m wide and 2m
The crescent shaped bailey lies to the north east of the motte, is 60m
long by 40m wide and bounded on all sides by a bank which measures up to
1.5m wide and 2m high on average except on the eastern side where it
attains a height of some 4m. On the eastern side there is an entrance
which measures 2.8m wide. From the entrance and across the ditch there is
a causeway which extends to the outer bank. On the northern side of the
bailey a more modern entrance has formed which measures 3.5m to 4m wide.
From the bailey to the motte on the north eastern side there is the
possibility of a bridgeway. An outer bank surrounds the motte and bailey;
this measures up to 4m wide and 1.6m high. The monument lies relatively
near another contemporary castle which lies a short distance to the south
and is the subject of a separate scheduling. The castle is thought to date
to the 1130s and 1140s and the fact that two are so close together may
reflect civil war antagonism or replacement of one by the other.
The timber steps and walkways are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath them 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

Motte and bailey 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 majority 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 and
bailey 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 one of a restricted range of
recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for
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.

Heywood Castle survives well, contains important archaeological
information relating to Norman military activity in this part of Devon and
is a popular destination for educational groups and visitors to the area.
This is one of two castles from the same period to survive in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Vachell, E T, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Eggesford and Heywood Castles, , Vol. 95, (1963), 197-207
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS61SE9, (1992)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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