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Historic England Research Records

Castle Orchard

Hob Uid: 202574
Location :
Stourton with Gasper
Grid Ref : ST7690031900
Summary : Earthwork remains of a Motte and Bailey castle. The castle was excavated by Pitt-Rivers in 1879-80 when a quantity of Norman and Medieval pottery was found. Excavations also took place in 1939. Scheduled.
More information : (ST 769319) MOTTE & BAILEY (GT). (1)

'Castle Orchard', a motte and bailey earthwork.
Excavations were made inside it, in 1879, by Pitt-Rivers, in the
rampart and outer ditch. They were seen to be of later construction than the underlying pits forming part of the Pen Pits complex -
ST 73 SE 5. Norman and glazed Md pottery was found and is in Taunton Museum. A detailed description with measurements of the earthworks is given by Bothamley. The valley is occupied by farm buildings. MOW records state that shortly before the 1939-45 war a trial excavation was carried out at the motte and a battered stone wall with flint was discovered. (2-5)

A very good example of a motte and bailey castle occupying the east end of a steep sided densely wooded spur. The motte has an uneven top resulting from excavations, particularly those of 1939 where the trenches are still open though in part collapsed. Such masonry as can be seen forms no intelligible plan. The bailey is to the west of the motte with a deep ditch cutting it off from the spur. In the south-east corner a quarried out platform seems to incorporate a building site but this platform may be of subsequent date and not connected with the fortifications. It now affords the only reasonable approach to the interior. There are no traces of bridge abutments at the ends of the bailey. Immediately north of the castle is a natural shelf, much lower than the spur. Part of this has been enclosed to form an outer ward, utilising a steep valley slope on the east and north east and constructing a bank and ditch along the north west to about the bailey ditch. The bank is now approximately 2.0m high and very spread, the outer ditch mostly completely silted, but 0.4m deep in two short sections. Surveyed at 1/2500. (6-7)

Listed. (8)

The castle should be seen in the context of its relationship to Penselwood village and two other fortified sites at Charlton Musgrave and Penselwood, with which Castle Orchard may have formed part of a unified programme of castle-building. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 10
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 96 - 1952
Source Number : 3
Source : The Making of Henry of Oxford: Englishmen in a Norman world
Source details :
Page(s) : 7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25 - 1880
Source Number : 4
Source : A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1
Source details : (L V Grinsell)
Page(s) : 269
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1957
Source Number : 5
Source : The Victoria history Somerset, volume two
Source details : (C H Bothamley)
Page(s) : 517-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1911
Source Number : 6
Source details : MOW, RF. 333
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 10-JUN-70
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 501
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 9
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 111-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 93, 2000

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 451
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WI 333
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 73 SE 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE ORCHARD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1879-01-01
End Date : 1879-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE ORCHARD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1939-01-01
End Date : 1939-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 73 SE 7
Start Date : 1970-06-10
End Date : 1970-06-10