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Historic England Research Records

Purleigh Mount

Hob Uid: 380934
Location :
Grid Ref : TL8408001710
Summary : A moated motte or medieval earthwork castle.
More information : TL 84080171 A flat-topped moated mound about 250 ft in diameter, surrounded by a ditch with a strong rampart on the counter-scarp, except on the north side. There are slight indications of two ramparts extending towards the north. (1)

TL 841017. Moated mound S of Purleigh Hall. Scheduled.(2)

TL 841017. This mound was surveyed in 1981 - see illustration) by the Essex County Council Archaeology Section with the help of students from Leicester University. The site is now tree covered and there is substantial modern disturbance near the centre of the mound.(3)

Dominating the Dengie peninsula the mound may be seen as a small earthwork castle comparable to other known slight adulterine castles such as that at Bentley, Hants (SU 74 NE 9).(4)

TL 8407 0172. Purleigh Mount is a small motte - overall some 80m in diameter - situated at the southern end of a short ridge overlooking the Dengie peninsula. There is no indication of there ever having been an accompanying bailey; the two 'rampart spurs' noted by auth 1 on the N side of the motte appear to be natural features. The motte has a flat, somewhat oval, top, approximately 30m by 40m and survives to a maximum height of 2.3m above the silted bottom of its encircling ditch. An outer bank, lower than the central mound, is best preserved on the W. Elsewhere this bank lies generally outside the scheduled area and has been destroyed to varying degrees; in the S it is still being eroded by continuing arable cultivation. Around the N of the motte the bank may possibly have been lost to surface gravel quarrying at some time past, and in the NE a building platform has truncated its line. There are two 'modern' breaks through the bank in the SSE and SWW, the latter possibly being to allow cattle access to the moat to water from an old road that ran up to and to the N of the monument from Howegreen in the W. What is probably the original entrance to the motte survives in the NW of the site as a broad break in the outer bank. Since the ditch is continuous, access on to the mound itself was presumably via a wooden causeway or drawbridge. Although the motte is situated on top of a ridge, it seems likely that ground seepage may have kept the ditch waterfilled; very shallow water lay in the SE arc at the time of survey, whilst a pond close to Purleigh Hall only a short distance to the N retains water all year round. The modern disturbance on the top of the motte is the result of the construction here during the Second World War of a home guard shelter. Although recently filled in the entrance is still discernible as a trench-like affair on the W side of the mound, and debris is widely scattered. A small hole on the E side of the motte is to be equated with a tree hole from which C13th pottery was recovered in 1983. Surveyed at 1:2500. Transferred to MSD. (5)

Scheduled listing (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex. Volume IV [south-east]
Source details :
Page(s) : 116
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Buildings of England
Source details : Essex 1954 317
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 3
Source details : DOE (IAM) AMs Eng 3 1978 31
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Essex archaeology and history : transactions of Essex Archaeological Society
Source details : B Milton
Page(s) : 125-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1982
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 HMJ 14-JUL-87
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Eng Heritage Sams Essex 1987 13
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Motte, Moat
Evidence : Earthwork, Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Motte, Moat
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : EX 38
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 80 SW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: OS SWEEPS
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 80 SW 7
Start Date : 1987-07-14
End Date : 1987-07-14
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 80 SW 7
Start Date : 1987-07-23
End Date : 1987-07-23