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Miserden Castle Mound is the remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle destroyed in the War of the Roses, Miserden.
County: Gloucestershire
District: STROUD
Parish: MISERDEN
NGR: SO 94 09
Monument Number: 268
HER 268 DESCRIPTION:-
Scheduled Monument Description:- Not available
Motte and bailey castle at Miserden, mentioned in 1146 and destroyed during the Wars of the Roses, sited at a crossing of the River Frome.
The motte is 7.6m - 9.1m above the moat on the north west side and there is a bank on the outer edge of the moat. A causeway on the south east side does not appear to be original. The stone walls of the castle are still very much in evidence and the interior of a shell-keep 18m across was partly excavated in 1907.
The castle ceased to be inhabited between 1266 - 1289 and by the early 14th century had been replaced by a manor-house on a new site. Excavations in 1915 uncovered masonry of the 13th century and decorated ridge-crest tiles. A terracotta amorex surmounted by a bear is preserved in Miserden Park.
Well preserved motte and bailey castle of considerable strength. It occupies the whole of a small, steep sided densely wooded rocky spur formed by a meander of the River Frome, and is effectively sited to control any crossing.
A massive partly-rock ditch 6.1m deep and 10.0m wide cuts North-South across the neck of the spur completely separating it from the mainland. Further to the east a second slighter ditch 1.7m deep and 13.0m wide cuts similarly north-south.
These two ditches isolate the high central part of the spur to create a mound 10m high with a top 40m Northwest - south-east x 34m transversely. A substantial causeway or bank 2.6m high runs northeast from the north bank of the Frome and may suggest a damming of the river. This (controlled by sluices) would create a water defence around the north side which together with the river in the east, and steep natural slopes in the south, would make approach possibly only from the heavily defended west side. Outworks in the west consist of a substantial rampart 2.1m high with outer ditch .9m deep. These run from the very steep natural valley slopes at the S northward for some 70m to an inturned entrance.
1977 - Traces of a possible guard-house together with other buildings are visible inside this rampart. From the entrance, the rampart curves north-easterly for 20m where it is broken by a hollow way and then merges with steep natural slopes around the north. Traces of a curtain-wall remain around the top of the castle mound and what appears to be the ruins of an inner gatehouse remains exposed on the south quarter. This corresponds with the lowest part of the mound. The East end of the spur between the motte and the Frome is worthy of note; overlooked by the castle relatively level and bounded by a pronounced scarp it may well have provided an additional bailey. {Source Work 862.}
Remains of 13th century gateway. {Source Work 902.}
Previously unrecorded attendant earthworks.
1976 - Saville - Exceptionally fine motte, located in a conifer plantation. {Source Work 305.}
1977 - Rawes - Unreported excavation c.1907. {Source Work 1859.}
2010 Cotswold Hills/South Cotswold NMP
SO 94400925 Castle Mound. Motte and bailey castle at Miserden, mentioned in 1146 and destroyed during the Wars of the Roses, sited at a crossing of the river Frome. The motte is 25-30 foot above the moat on the north west side and there is a bank on the outer edge of the moat. A causeway on the south east side does not appear to be original. The stone walls of the castle are still very much in evidence and the interior of a shell-keep, 60 foot across, was partly excavated in 1907. The castle ceased to be inhabited between 1266 and 1289 and by the early 14th century had been replaced by a manorhouse on a new site (SO 90 NW 38). Excavations in 1915 uncovered masonry of the 13th century and decorated ridge-crest tiles. A terra-cotta imbrex surmounted by a bear is preserved in Miserden Park. More recent excavations have revealed the remains of a 13th century gateway.
Centred at SO 94400925 in Miserden Park, lies a well preserved motte and bailey castle, of considerable strength. It occupies the whole of a small, steep sided densely wooded rocky spur, formed by a meander of the river Frome, and is effectively sited to control any crossing.
A massive partly rock cut ditch 6.1m deep and 10.0m wide cuts north-south across the neck of the spur, completely separating it from the mainland. Further to the east a second slighter ditch 1.7m deep and 13.0m wide cuts similarly north-south. These two ditches isolate the high central part of the spur, to create a mound 10.0m high with a top 40.0m northwest-southeast by 34.0m transversely.
SO 94440928-SO 94450934. A substantial causway or bank 2.6m high runs north east from the north bank of the Frome and may suggest a damming of the river. This (controlled by sluices) would create a water-defence around the north side, which together with the river in the east, and steep natural slopes in the south, would make approach possible only from the heavily defended west side.
Outworks in the west, consist of a substantial rampart 2.1m high with outer ditch 1.9m deep. These run from the very steep natural valley slopes at the south, northward for some 70.0m to an inturned entrance. Traces of a possible guardhouse together with other buildings are visible inside this rampart. From the entrance, the rampart curves north easterly for 20.0m where it is broken by a hollow way, and then merges with steep natural slopes around the north. Traces of a curtain-wall remain around the top of the castle mound, and what appears to be the ruins of an inner gatehouse remains exposed on the south quarter. This corresponds with the lowest part of the mound. The eastern end of the spur between the motte and the Frome is worthy of note; overlooked by the castle, relatively level, and bounded by a pronounced scarp, it may well have provided an additional bailey.
The motte and bailey castle is as described by the above authorities. The remains of the motte and outer defence works are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs and have been mapped as part of The Cotswolds Hills NMP survey. The site was subsequently covered by dense woodland on aerial photographs taken from 1970 onwards. {Source Work 4249.}
2010 - A topographic survey of part of the castle earthworks was undertaken on 27 and 28 November 2010 by a Bristol University student as part of a MA dissertation. The survey was confined to the motte and its surrounding ditch which, in part, was found to be cut into the bedrock of the area. It is speculated that there may have been buildings upon the castle, with possible use of the site during the Civil War, and that there may have been quarrying of the site. Information was also gathered on the current location of finds made during early 20th century investigations of the site. {Source Work 10557.}
The exact locations of the 1907l, 1915 and 1976 excavations are not known so these events have been retained with the monument description {AM 24/10/2014.}
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.}
2019 postcard images - Quoted from an email from David Viner regarding an entry on Ebay - This little group of 4 photos, all dated to 1953 (pencil info on the rear in each case) include two/three showing extant stonework at Castle Tump at the Miserden Castle site, at a time when there had obviously been some tree clearance. So a good record of surviving stonework at that date. I’d guess that this is evidence which might relate to the unrecorded excavations of c.1907 and 1915 and ‘what appears to be the ruins of an inner gatehouse which remains exposed on the south quarter’
Heritage at Risk Register 2019
Generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems - forestry {Source Work 16646.}

Monuments
MOTTE AND BAILEY(MEDIEVAL)
Associated Finds
ROOF TILE(MEDIEVAL)
GATE TOWER(MEDIEVAL)
RAMPART(MEDIEVAL)
GUARDHOUSE(MEDIEVAL)
MOAT(MEDIEVAL)
HOLLOW WAY(MEDIEVAL)
WALL(MEDIEVAL)
CURTAIN WALL(MEDIEVAL)

Protection Status
SCHEDULED MONUMENT(1004870)
HERITAGE AT RISK 2017
HERITAGE AT RISK 2019
HERITAGE AT RISK 2018

Sources and further reading
75;Cox JC;1949;Gloucestershire (Little Guides);Vol:0;
196;Renn DF;1968;Norman Castles in Britain;Vol:0;
305;Saville A;1980;Archaeological Sites in the Avon and Gloucestershire Cotswolds;Vol:0;
470;Saville A;1976;Vol:0;
709;RCHME;1984-1985;Vol:0;
862;Ordnance Survey;unknown;Vol:0;
864;RAF;1947;Vol:0;
956;Herbert NM (Ed);1976;The Victoria History of the County of Gloucester;Vol:11;
902;GADARG;1982;Vol:0;
1003;RCHME;1971;Vol:0;
1859;Rawes B;1977;GLEVENSIS;Vol:11;Page(s):39-41;
2873;English Heritage;various;Vol:0;
2885;Richardson RE;1982;Vol:0;
2850;RCHME;1995;Vol:0;
3636;Jackson MJ;1980;Vol:1;
15258;Various;2008-10;
10557;Skillen A;2011;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
7162;Ordnance Survey;1970;
14868;Historic England;2017;Heritage at Risk;
15524;Historic England;2018;Heritage at Risk;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
16125;St Clair Baddeley W;1918;PROCEEDINGS OF THE COTTESWOLD NATURALIST'S FIELD CLUB;Vol:20;Page(s):45-58;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
16466;Historic England;2019;Heritage at Risk;

Related records
SOUTH COTS / COTS HILLS NMP PROJECT;1460290
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;633388
SHINE;GC1604
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;633387
HER   7229     Miserden Park is a 17th century park with gardens, which was redeveloped in the 20th century, Miserden.

Source
Gloucestershire County Council: Historic Environment Record Archive