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Historic England Research Records

Great Easton Castle

Hob Uid: 376316
Location :
Essex
Uttlesford
Great Easton
Grid Ref : TL6090025430
Summary : The medieval motte castle at Great Easton is situated on a broad south facing spur overlooking the valley of the River Chelmer. The castle mound, or motte, is approximately 6.4 metres high and roughly conical in shape, measuring 35 metres in diameter at the base and 13 metres across the flattened summit. The motte is surrounded by a ditch measuring up to 15 metres in width, from which the material for the mound would have been quarried. Although this is now largely infilled and visible only as a slight depression, a sample excavation in 1965 demonstrated that it survives as a buried feature to a minimum depth of approximately 2 metres. Excavations, carried out to the south of the motte between 1964 and 1966, found some evidence from which to date the castle. A 2.4 metre wide ditch was discovered just outside the southern perimeter of the motte ditch, containing early medieval pottery and sealed by upcast associated with the construction of the motte. From this sequence it has been inferred that the castle was probably adulterine, constructed during the period of civil war in the mid-12th century known as 'The Anarchy'. Scheduled.
More information : (TL 609254) Motte and Bailey (NR) The Mound (NAT) (1)

Norman motte with traces of rectangular bailey partly altered into a moated site (2). The mound is 39.5m in diameter at base, 13.0m in diameter at summit and 6.4m high. Dry ditch surrounding it is 13.7m wide and 1.5m deep. South arm of bailey ditch remains with a short return to the north, approximately 10.3m wide and 1.5m deep. A pond south east of the mount indicates the eastern limit of the bailey. At the south east angle of the bailey is a small rectangular homestead moat of later construction (3). Area known locally as "The Mound" (4). Excavations in 1964-66 by Sellars dated the motte to 1139-44. 11th-12th century pottery from the bailey was found along with traces of 14th century and earlier buildings. There were three main periods of occupation in the area immediately south and south west of the moat surrounding the motte. (2-7)

TL 60902543. The motte, locally known at 'The Mound' or 'Mount' is situated on a broad S facing spur. It is grass covered and the dimensions are approximately as described (Authy 3). The surrounding ditch is now only a landscape feature, having been largely filled in and grassed over.
There are no identifiable remains of a bailey. The length of ditch (about 10.0m wide) shown on the OS 25" (2nd Edn) from TL 60862532 to TL 60922534, has been ploughed out, and nowhere else can the assumed course be confirmed.
The alleged homestead moat at TL 60932535 is probably a drainage enclosure which slopes N to S and is connected to a pond on the N side and a drain of similar dimensions on the south side.

Published survey (25") correct. (8)

TL 609254. Great Easton Castle. Scheduled No 15. (9)

Additional reference. (10)

Scheduled. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1960
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Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Norman Castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 180
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Plates :
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Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 19/03/1998
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex. Volume I [north west]
Source details :
Page(s) : 126
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Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : FW Steer, Duton Hill
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry of Works. 1966. Excavation 14 (E Sellars)
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Source Number : 6
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 190
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10 (1966)
Source Number : 7
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 284-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11 (1967)
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JRL 15-APR-75
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
Source : County list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments : December 1987
Source details : Essex
Page(s) : 18
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Essex archaeology and history : transactions of Essex Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 159-60
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2 (1966-70)

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Mid C12
Monument End Date : 1166
Monument Start Date : 1133
Monument Type : Motte, Adulterine Castle
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : EX 15
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 31221
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 62 NW 9
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE MOUND
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1964-01-01
End Date : 1966-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 62 NW 9
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-04-15
End Date : 1975-04-15