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Ringwork and bailey castle 400m south of Langford Barton

A Scheduled Monument in Ugborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3944 / 50°23'39"N

Longitude: -3.8314 / 3°49'53"W

OS Eastings: 269921.220079

OS Northings: 56550.710491

OS Grid: SX699565

Mapcode National: GBR QC.JRGH

Mapcode Global: FRA 28V0.C4K

Entry Name: Ringwork and bailey castle 400m south of Langford Barton

Scheduled Date: 9 February 2001

Last Amended: 3 September 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021376

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33766

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Ugborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Ugborough St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a Norman ringwork castle with an unusually small
bailey, occupying a low natural hillock in the bottom of a shallow valley.
The large and roughly circular ringwork is 40m in diameter with a
sub-rectangular depression in the centre. The ringwork varies in height from
2.3m on the east side to 3.5m on the west, falling 0.3m into the central
depression on the east side and 2.2m on the west side. A break for an
entrance occurs in the circuit on the north east side, while to the south
west there may be another. The surrounding ditch is well-defined on the west
and north sides and is between 6m and 7m wide and up to 1.2m deep. On the
east and south sides the ground falls away, the ditch being represented by a
terrace about 7m wide. A short section of the rock-cut outer edge of the
ditch is visible on the north east side. To the north of the ringwork, traces
of a small sub-rectangular bailey measure 45m across its visible earthworks,
projecting an average of 20m from the ditch of the ringwork. The west rampart
of the bailey is 10m wide and stands up to 1.3m high. Its north and east
sides survive as a change in slope 2m to 3m wide and 0.6m high.
A triangular spur 8m wide and 0.5m high, projects 6m from the southern edge
of the ringwork's ditch. A 6m wide ditch to the west of the spur is 0.5m
deep. The outer edge of this ditch continues as a scarp for 70m to the south
west, curving around the hillside. This scarp is between 2m and 3m wide and
is 0.5m high at the north east end, running out to 0.2m at its south west
terminus. A further 10m to 12m down the valley side to the south east,
terraces between 4m and 6m wide fall an average of 1m overall. These terraces
are concentric with the ringwork, continuing around the slope to the north
and eventually joining the north eastern side of the bailey. In the 19th
century, a watermeadow leat was channelled along the lower terrace.
A rampart and outer ditch curves around the ringwork and its bailey on the
north west side of the site at a distance of about 8m from the bailey. The
rampart is between 5m and 8m wide and survives to between 0.3m and 0.8m high.
Its ditch is about 5m wide and 0.2m deep. This may be of Anglo-Saxon date,
perhaps representing the site of the Domesday Manor of Langford.
A broad causeway runs across the low lying ground to the west. This is a
maximum of 8m wide and 0.8m high and survives to about 350m long. Only the
eastern part is included in the scheduling.
Traces of a former hedgebank run from the ringwork to the south west and
survive as a slight earthwork 0.4m wide and 0.2m high. A ditch 3m wide and
0.2m deep runs along its north side. Alignments in the oak trees surviving on
the ringwork show where this and other hedgebanks once ran.
All fenceposts 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

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.

Despite the reduction of parts of the ringwork and bailey castle, 400m
south of Langford Barton, by ploughing and hedge removal, substantial
remains are preserved and will contain important archaeological and
environmental information relating to the castle's construction and use
and the landscape in which it functioned. An ovoid earthwork enclosure
surrounding the site may be of Anglo-Saxon date.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Higham, R A, The Castles of Medieval Devon, (1979)
Reed, S J, Archaeological Recording on the SWW South Devon spine main, (1991), 5
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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