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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 336824

Hob Uid: 336824
Location :
Grid Ref : SP4958028750
Summary : Site of a Medieval castle, chapel and fishponds. An extent of 1295 mentions its court, dovecote, fishponds, curtilages and gardens. Although the site was probably uninhabited in the 16th century, a chapel was still standing. Its remains may survive in the modern school house.
More information : (SP 4963 2880) Fish Ponds (NR)

(Remains of) (1)

Mounds and fishponds can still be seen marking the site of the Medieval castle of the De Greys, in a field slightly north-east
(should read north-west) of the church and sloping down to the
river (Cherwell). An extent of 1295 mentions its court, dovecote,
fishponds, curtilages, and gardens. It was probably uninhabited in the early 16th century, but the chapel in the Castle Yard was still
standing in 1580 when it was bequeathed as a school. Traditionally the present school house (late 16th/early 17th century) stands on the site of the chapel. 13th century pottery was dug up near by in 1954. (2)

SP4961 2869. Uneven ground extending over an area approximately 30.0m square probably indicates the site of a large building, although no walling or masonry is visible. Som 50m to the west, curving round to the south and east and extending for 130.0m to the north, a scarp 1.2m high with a counterscarp bank 0.5m high is rather suggestive of a bailey, and includes a series of irregular fish ponds at its north end. Published survey 25" revised. (3)

The earthworks of Somerton Castle remaining around the
school are shown in figure 4c. (see illustration card). Only the
immediately adjacent earthworks and fish ponds have been sketch-planned but there are more earthworks of a shrunken medieval village to the south andnorth. (See SP 42 NE 26)

The breaks of slopes around the school seem to indicate a moated area around a central, roughly rectangular platform. The ditch of the moat, which can never have been entirely water-filled is clearly marked on the south-west sides by an embankment 1 - 1.5m high. On the east side it is not so clear but the present road seems to follow its outer edge.

The construction of the railway in 1850 obscured the west part
of the site and so details of this side of the castle are
unknown. It could either have been a motte and bailey or a
simple moated enlosure - figures 4A and 4B. (See illustration
card). (4)

Somerton Castle, listed by Cathcart King. (5)

The chapel created on this site in 1530 by Thomas Fermoor may as well have been a re-dedication of the castle chapel. A section
of the chapel wall retained in the school house may be all that
remains standing of the medieval chapel. (6)

(SP 49672875) The presence of a fifth medieval fish-pond at
Castle Yard was confirmed by a pipe trench revealing a low
clay-built dam and black silts within the pond which is now
dry. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : A history of the county of Oxford: volume VI: Ploughley Hundred
Source details :
Page(s) : 290
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1959
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MHB 05-MAY-72
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 9: South Midlands archaeology newsletter
Source details : (M Aston)
Page(s) : 16-17
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Apr-74
Source Number : 5
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) : 387
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 6
Source : Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit : newsletter
Source details : (R A Chambers)
Page(s) : 11
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Apr-83
Source Number : 7
Source : Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit : newsletter
Source details : (R A Chambers)
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Mar-84

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : mentioned 1295
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1295
Monument Type : Castle, Fishpond, Dovecote, Garden
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Fishpond, Chapel
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 42 NE 10
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 42 NE 9
Start Date : 1972-05-05
End Date : 1972-05-05
Associated Activities : Primary, THE RECTORY, CASTLE YARD
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31