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A scheduled 11th - 12th century Motte is located in Castle Hill Wood, Huntley.
County: Gloucestershire
District: FOREST OF DEAN
Parish: TAYNTON
NGR: SO 71 21
Monument Number: 214
HER 214 DESCRIPTION:-
Scheduled Monument Description:-
Ringwork 410m south west of Tuns Farm.
Reasons for Designation
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. 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. 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. Motte 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. Some 100-150 examples of motte castles exist nationally. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.
Despite tree growth the ringwork 410m south west of Tuns Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, social organisation, territorial, strategic and political significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
History
See Details.
Details
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 September 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a ringwork situated on the upper southern valley side of a major tributary to the River Leadon. Also known as ‘Taynton Castle’ and ‘Motte in Castle Hill Wood’ the ringwork survives as an oval enclosure measuring approximately 30m long by 25m wide internally and defined by a rampart bank up to 8m wide and 1.7m high, which widens slightly to the north east. The ramparts are surrounded by a largely buried ditch. There is an entrance to the south east. The ringwork is thought to date to the 11th or 12th century. To the north it is slightly clipped by a forest track which crosses the upper fills of the ditch. As a relatively small example of a ringwork it might equally be classed as a motte which is a similar type and date of medieval castle which excavation alone could confirm {Source Work 2873.}
1951 - Described by C. Scott-Garrett in "Ramblings of a Dean Archaeologist" on 12th May 1951 - "From May Hill we visited the Glasshouse Wood and inspected therein a site called the Castle Tump. This is a small area enclosed by a circular vallum (outside fosse if any practically obliterated). But the interesting thing about this site is that it appears to be a miniature Littledean Camp i.e. part of the vallum beside the entrance is heightened into a motte like tump."
1958 - The castle in Glasshouse Woods, according to Scott-Garrett, is similar to Little Dean Camp (HER 48) of a type which consists of more or less circular ramparted areas with slight banks, no clear entrances and definite raised portions on the ramparts. {Source Work 1283.}
1966 - Visible on Ordnance Survey aerial photograph. {Source Work 2609.}
1967 - The earthwork was recorded by the Ordnance Survey to be roughly circular formed by an earthen bank of average height (1.7m) with a possible entrance on the east side. {Source Work 862.}
1969 - Taynton (Huntley Castle) listed as ringwork. {Source Work 2879.}
1972 - Apparently not visible on aerial photograph of Castle Hill Wood. {Source Work 618.}
1980 - A superficial survey carried out by members of the Gloucester and District Archaeological Research Group (GADARG) showed that the earthwork was a roughly circular enclosure about 30m in diameter with a slightly flanked NW side. The enclosure is surrounded by a bank and external ditch. A mound, which encroaches into the central area, being built into the NW wall. What purports to be an entrance immediately SE of the mound is not thought to be contemporary with the vallum. The whole earthwork is covered with trees and is badly degraded, especially on the SW side. The mound, which is still about 2.5m high, is composed of a sticky, yellow clay and slopes sharply down to the ditch on the NE. The bank surrounding the enclosure has a stoney-clay make up which shows some evidence of burning. The central floor of the enclosure, which slopes gently downhill towards the SW, contains small packed stones. It is likely to date from the late C11 or early C12 rather than from the anarchical period of Stephen which saw the setting up of so many adulterine motte and bailey castles.
2003 - This area was mapped at 1:10,000 scale as part of the English Heritage: Gloucestershire NMP project.
The earthwork remains of Taynton Castle are partially visible on aerial photographs. The site is centred at SO 7152 2113 and comprises an earthwork bank which measures 8m wide and extends in a rough semi-circle, partially enclosing an area to the east, which measures circa 25m in diameter. The easternside of the site is obscured by trees on the available aerial photographs. {Source Works 4249, 7549, 7270.}
Heritage at Risk Register 2017
Generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems - Forestry {Source Work 14868.}
Heritage at Risk Register 2018
Generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems - Forestry {Source Work 15524.}

Monuments
RINGWORK(MEDIEVAL)

Protection Status
SCHEDULED MONUMENT(1002070)
HERITAGE AT RISK 2017
HERITAGE AT RISK 2018

Sources and further reading
502;Leigh J;1986;Vol:0;
618;Potato Marketing Board;1972;Vol:0;
862;Ordnance Survey;unknown;Vol:0;
1283;Scott-Garrett C;1958;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:77;Page(s):48-60;
1859;Rawes B;1977;GLEVENSIS;Vol:11;Page(s):39-41;
1975;Dodd AE;1980;GLEVENSIS;Vol:14;Page(s):32;
2609;Ordnance Survey;1966;Vol:0;
2879;Chateau Gaillard Conference, Battle;1969;Chateau Gaillard European Castle Studies: III: conference at Battle, 1966;Vol:3;
2880;Hartley R;1973;Vol:0;
3636;Jackson MJ;1980;Vol:1;
5923;Webb A;2000;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
7549;English Heritage;2003-4;The Forest of Dean and Cotswolds National Mapping Programme Project maps;
7270;RAF;1947;
7553;Scott-Garrett C;1918-58;Ramblings of a Dean Archaeologist;
14868;Historic England;2017;Heritage at Risk;
15250;Various;2003-4;
15524;Historic England;2018;Heritage at Risk;

Related records
FOREST OF DEAN NMP PROJECT;113462
HER   48     Medieval ringwork known as Littledean Camp (SAM47), dating to the 11th or early 12th Century. Located east of Littledean, Littledean

Source
Gloucestershire County Council: Historic Environment Record Archive