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Historic England Research Records

Crecgelade

Hob Uid: 222196
Location :
Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Cricklade
Grid Ref : SU1015093310
Summary : Ninth century burh of Cricklade, fortified by 919 or possibly earlier. The town is surrounded by a square earthwork now surviving as a low bank. The present circuit extends for 2073 metres, the equivalent of 1650 hides. Version A of the Burghal Hidage attributes 1400 hides to Cricklade, while Version B attributes 1500 hides. Excavations have discerned four elements of the circuit; a timber-revetted clay and turf bank; a double-ditch system externally; an intra-mural walkway around the inner face of the bank; a simple tower at each corner inside the bank. A stone wall, 4 feet thick at the base, was added to the front of the bank, probably early in the 10th century. Haslam notes that the parish boundary of the former parish of St Mary's, now a `ward', was in existence by 985, and he suggests that it reflects a Saxon land division designed to support the defence of the north sector of the town.
More information : SU 09889391, 10029392, 10199330, 10369375 Town Wall
(NR) (Course of) (NAT). (1)

Cricklade was fortified in the last twenty years of the 9th
century by King Alfred against the Danish invasions. (2)

The borough of Cricklade (SU 100936) is a rectangular area of some 80 acres. The ramparts are much spread; where best preserved they show as a broad bank between 50 and 60 ft wide and about 3 ft high. In places this bank has entirely disappeared; more generally it is marked by modern hedges or shows as a slight rise in the ground. Extensive excavations by W T Wainright and C A R Radford between 1948 and 1964 and by J Haslam in 1975, have shown that there were three distinctive phases of construction and reconstruction. First a clay bank, presumably late 9th century, was built, revetted with turves. Two ditches were cut, the inner one separated from the bank by a berm 7.0m wide, with the outer one 4.0m beyond it. They were 2.0m wide and 1.5m deep. Apparently these ditches did not round the corners of the ramparts, within each one of which stood a tower. Secondly a stone wall, more than 1.0m thick at the base was built against the front of the bank, probably in the early 11th century. Soon
after this, however, the wall was deliberately pulled down
and its stones used to fill up the ditches, an act which may
be related to the historic slighting of the defences by Cnut in
1016. The third phase was the construction of a timber
palisade around the 9th century bank, the recutting of the inner south ditch and its extension to a point 70.0m beyond the line
of the west rampart. This reconstruction may be related to refortification by William of Dover in 1144 against King
Stephen.

The surviving lines of the Medieval burgage tenements, such as
the bank and ditch (SU 10259369 to 10349367), possibly defining the south side of an area granted to Abingdon Abbey in 1008,
together with the traces of intramural roads revealed by excavation, show that Cricklade was laid out on a grid possibly contemporary with the foundation of the borough. (3-6)

The town walls are visible as broad spread banks averaging 0.7m high. A plaque in the cemetery at SU 09819371 marks the outer face of the course of the Saxon stone wall.

Surveyed at 1:2500. (7)

Cricklade is mentioned as being taxed as a borough from 1306 onwards.(8)

J.Haslam gives a metrological analysis of the Saxon burh. (9)

A ?medieval bowl, found among the footings of the walling
excavated in 1954 was found to be a modern intrusion.(10)

Present topography (particularly the parish boundary of St.Mary's
Church) preserves the extent of a land unit set out around the
north gate of the burh as part of the defensive arrangements.(11)

The following features were mapped from good quality air photographs and considered to be the Early Medieval town defences of Cricklade borough:-

Probable Early Medieval ditch, seen as earthworks. Morphological description: a single linear feature, defined by 1 ditch with a
maximum length of 165m.
Centred at:-SU 1015 9331
(Morph No. TG.94.2.1)

Probable Early Medieval ditch, seen as earthworks. Morphological description: a single linear feature, defined by 1 ditch with a
maximum length of 155m.
Centred at:-SU 1036 9368
(Morph No. TG.94.2.2)

This description is based on data from the RCHME MORPH2 database.
(12)

The Cricklade mint was active from the reign of Ethelred II but was never an important one, (see SU 19 SW 21). (13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1971-72
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Anglo-Saxon England
Source details :
Page(s) : 264-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 11
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 77-81
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 76, 1981
Source Number : 12
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Carolyn Dyer/08-MAR-1993/RCHME: Thames Valley NMP
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : The defence of Wessex : the Burghal Hidage and Anglo-Saxon fortifications
Source details :
Page(s) : 200-1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Anglo-Saxon towns in southern England
Source details :
Page(s) : 106-111
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : SU 19 SW 2 (1970)
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details : C A R Radford
Page(s) : 88-91
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1970
Source Number : 4
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : C A R Radford
Page(s) : 61-111
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 67, 1972
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeological excavations
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1975
Source Number : 6
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : The Times 2 Jan 1976 (J Haslam)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 12-JAN-1970
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : English medieval boroughs : a hand-list
Source details :
Page(s) : 177
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 99-102
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30, 1986
Source Number : 10
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Ralegh Radford et al
Page(s) : 131
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 70/71, 1975-6

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Fortified by 919
Monument End Date : 919
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Burh, Town Defences
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Revetted early C10
Monument End Date : 932
Monument Start Date : 900
Monument Type : Burh, Town Defences
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NAR Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 19 SW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU19SW400
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WI 323
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : TG.94.2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 19 SW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 216736
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1028317
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 867721
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 867722
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 19 SW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-01-12
End Date : 1970-01-12
Associated Activities : ST SAMPSON'S SCHOOL PLAYING FIELD
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : MANOR ORCHARD
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : PRIOR PARK SCHOOL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : CRICKLADE TOWN WALLS
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : HIGH STREET CRICKLADE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND OFF NORTH WALL
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : CRICKLADE TOWN BANKS, THAMES LANE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT 30 WAYLANDS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2015-01-01
End Date : 2015-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT LONG CLOSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2015-01-01
End Date : 2015-12-31