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Name:RINGWORK, The Round House
HER No.:30
Type of Record:Monument

Summary

Earthworks of a ringwork castle (Rugemont Castle?) on a prominent north-east facing ridge surrounding the Round House (a Grade II listed building). Altered by the construction of the house and damaged by quarrying, especially to the north. The castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (No. 1013016).

The earthwork is oval, approximately 130m north-south by 100m east-west, consisting of a central stronghold (the ringwork) with an outer defended bailey to the north, and is also defended to the south and west by a ditch and outer bank. The ringwork survives to the south east of the Round House as a pair of mounds approx 5m high and 10m wide, damaged by quarrying but originally linked to form a circuit (estimated diameter 45m). The bailey lies on a terrace east of the house, and its northern edge forms a steep scarp 2.5m high, curving around the north side of the house. The outer ditch is visible south of the ringwork, varying from 8m to 18m in width and up to 1m deep; it has become infilled. The outer bank has been eroded by ploughing but survives to a height of 1m and width of 10m.

Grid Reference:SP 970 384
Parish:BROGBOROUGH, CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE, BEDFORDSHIRE
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Full Description

<1> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Archaeology Record Cards, OS: SP 93 NE 2 (Unpublished document). SBD10879.

SP 9703 3846 'U' Earthworks. ?Recent quarrying.
[SP97033846]. EARTHWORKS [OE]. (OS 6" 1898-1951.)
'Brogborough near Lidlington, a small stronghold originally of oval shape, is perched on a little hilltop, and has the remnant of a really mighty rampart turning round its south end, and also the remains of a fine fosse. Here too are the remnants of an exterior rampart.' (VCH, Vol I, p306)

Shell keep at Ridgmount, Beds. (Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 1 1884 by Geo T Clark )

'To the east of Brogborough Park Farm well-defined earthworks consisting of mound, fosse and outworks mark the site of Rugemont Castle. The castle was the stronghold of the de Greys and their predecessors the Wahulls in this parish, but no mention of it has been found before the 12th century.' (VCH Vol III, p321)

The earthwork slopes are 12-15ft. high. (S.S.6" (Revisor June, 1951).)

Situated on the summit of a hill adjacent to Brogborough Park Farm is an area of ground disturbance, the classification of which cannot be ascertained from ground inspection due to its amorphous nature and dense scrub covering.

A semi-circular bank is shown on OS25", but this has been cut through, thereby forming two mounds, c 4.0m high, of unusually sharp profile suggesting a late date or mutilation. Enclosed within the semi-circle is a depression which could be a quarry (? the mounds being spoil heaps). To the S and E are traces of a linear depression, c 0.8m deep. Its purpose is not known; it may be a ditch or a hollow way. Plans dated 1728 (a) and 1797 (b) consulted in Bedford Record Office do not show the feature. No finds have been made.There is insufficient topographic and no historic evidence to indicate that this is the site of Rugemont Castle (see SP93NE5). On balance it is more likely that the feature is a result of quarrying.
Published survey (25") revised. (NKB 8.8.73)

<2> William Page & H. Arthur Doubleday (Editors), Victoria County History, Bedfordshire, Vol. 1, 1904, p. 306 (Bibliographic reference). SBD10574.

'Brogborough near Lidlington, a small stronghold originally of oval shape, is perched on a little hilltop, and has the remnant of a really mighty rampart turning round its south end, and also the remains of a fine fosse. Here too are the remnants of an exterior rampart'.

<3> William Page & H. Arthur Doubleday (Editors), Victoria County History, Bedfordshire, Vol. 3, 1912, p. 321 (Bibliographic reference). SBD10574.

'To the east of Brogborough Park Farm well-defined earthworks consisting of mound, fosse and outworks mark the site of "Rugemont castle". The castle was the stronghold of the de Greys and their predecessors, the Wahulls, in this parish, but no mention of it has been found before the 12th century'.

<4> Kevan Fadden, Site visit, 14/2/71 (Observations and Comments). SBD11658.

Not in good condition, encroached by ploughing, rubbish tip on top.

<5> Beauchamp Wadmore, 1920, Earthworks of Bedfordshire, p. 121 (Bibliographic reference). SBD10706.

Wadmore argues the site to be "Segenhoe castle" on the basis that one Beds castle site, that of Segenhoe, has been entirely lost and that the earthwork at Brogborough Park Farm is begging for a name. He does not back up his argument with references, or mention the other site (HER 33) in the parish.

Plan also.

<6> 1937, Bedfordshire Regional Planning Authority Report (Unpublished document). SBD10783.

Brogborough Park Farm has an encircling ridge of earth.

<7> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 1st Edition, No. 224 (Map). SBD10619.

Entrenchments on site of Motte & Bailey.

<8> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 2nd Edition, No. 224 (Map). SBD10628.

Entrenchments on site of Motte & Bailey.

<9> E Denroche, 1978, Ridgmont Parish Survey (Unpublished document). SBD10797.

The VCH refers to this site as 'Rugemond' castle and Wadmore as 'Segenhoe' castle and all references to a castle in the parish have been attributed to this site - perhaps because of its prominent position and good preservation. This mound may represent the stronghold of the de Greys but further research is required. Also the castle site in Ridgmont village (HER 33) may have been of greater importance than has previously been acknowledged.

<10> Angela Simco, Site visit notes, 15 January 1986 (Notes from site visit). SBD12095.

Northward facing promontory, particularly steep to NW, N & E.

The 2 mounds (see plan) are very substantial; too large to be quarrying upcast. The ends are sharply truncated, which demonstrate the removal of the part between them & suggest they extend further north & east. To the south there are signs of a substantial backfilled ditch, with an outer bank on the east. To the west, ground is very disturbed, but a slight bank suggests there has been a fence line in this area, & the land to the W of it may have received particularly destructive treatment.
The house and gardens to the E & S have been terraced. A scarp slope to the north defines this terrace's northern limit.
The area defined by the 2 banks is sunken & has the appearance of quarrying. There are signs of tipping, particularly from the W & N, with much modern rubbish.
At the NW end of the promontory there appear to be breaks of slope, suggesting outer defensive earthworks.

While there has been much mutilation, the strategic location & the substantial nature of the earthworks, are strong pointers to this being a genuine castle site. An interpretation consistent with the surviving earthworks would be that it was originally a ringwork, with much of the bank removed, presumably for later buildings. The easiest approach (from the S) was defended by a large ditch. Elsewhere the natural slope was utilised & enhanced. A bailey to the north completed the layout, with ringwork & bailey confined within an oval enclosure. The sunken area within the ringwork is the result of quarrying.

<11> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 1st Edition (Map). SBD10619.

"Gravel pit" marked at SP 9702 3843.

<11> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 2nd Edition, No. 244 (Map). SBD10628.

"Gravel pit" marked at SP 9704 3854.

<12> Bedfordshire County Council, Planning Dept File (Unpublished document). SBD11426.

Woodland Grant Scheme Application November 1995.

<13> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 2nd Edition, No. 244 (Map). SBD10628.

Entrenchments TL 3704 3848.

<14> HER Photograph Archive, F602/9 & 13-21, 15 January 1986 (Photograph). SBD10506.

Colour photos from site visit showing views within and around the earthworks.

<15> English Heritage, Notification of Scheduling, or an Affirmation or Revision of Scheduling, MPP33/AA 44102/1, 14/10/1992 (Scheduling record). SBD12102.

The monument includes a ringwork castle which is situated on a promontory on the north-east facing scarp of the Bedfordshire Greensand ridge and lies in the grounds of The Round House, a derelict 19th century building, Grade II listed. Although considerably altered by the construction of the house and associated landscaping, the southern quadrant of the castle survives as a substantial earthwork and in the northern quadrant the line of the ramparts can be discerned as distinct scarps.

The castle is oval in plan measuring about 130m north-south by 100m east-west and comprises a central stronghold, the ringwork, with an outer defended court, or bailey, to the north, and is further defended to the south and west by a ditch and outer bank. The remains of the ringwork are visible to the south-east of The Round House as a pair of mounds about 5m high and 10m wide, which have been altered by quarrying but which were originally linked to form a full circuit of estimated diameter 45m. The bailey is located on a terrace to the east of The Round House and its northern limit is discernable as a steep scarp, about 2.5m high, which curves around the north side of the house.
The Round House is built into the west-facing scarp of the terrace and the eastern part is covered in dense undergrowth. The outer ditch is clearly visible south of the ringwork where it ranges from 8m to 18m in width. Over the years the ditch has become infilled and is now about 1m deep. The bank which lies on the outer edge of the ditch is slightly eroded by ploughing but is still 1m high and up to 10m wide. The ditch and bank are considered to continue around the west side of the house, beneath the existing driveway. To the north-west of the house the line of the outer bank is visible as a steep scarp the top of which lies some 15m from the building. Along the north and east sides, the steep natural slope provided adequate defence and the outer ramparts are not present. The north slope is slightly altered by an old quarry.

The monument has been identified as 'Rugemont Castle', stronghold of the Wahull family and their successors the de Greys. The ringwork is one of two castles in the parish; the other is a motte at the north end of Ridgmont village.

The Round House and its deep basements are totally excluded from the scheduling. The adjacent outbuildings and barns are also excluded along with the garden walls and fences and the metalled surface of the driveway but the ground beneath these features is included.

<16> HER Slide Archive, 2187-2190 (Slide). SBD10508.

Plan of earthworks, drawing of site and photographs of site.

<17> Bedfordshire County Council, Planning Dept File, 1987 (Unpublished document). SBD11426.

Letters re. photograph from wedding reception (1901) showing guests seated on earthworks.

<18> Bedfordshire County Council, Planning Dept File, 1986 (Unpublished document). SBD11426.

Correspondence re. application for access road.

<19> Planning/Listed Building Application(s) Documentation, 55/MB/93/1346 (Unpublished document). SBD10792.

Consent for construction of Access Road.

<20> Bedfordshire County Council, BCC Photographic Unit, PU21/1978 (Photograph). SBD10507.

Black and white photo looking south east from the former Brogborough Picnic Site with some of the ringwork earthworks visible adjoining the Round House.

<21> Privately donated photos, Photo by Harrison, St. Peter's, Bedford, probably later 1940's (Photograph). SBD10598.

Part of a larger panoramic view (see HER 6666 for remainder) including a view of the ringwork and The Round House from the south with Marston Valley Brick Company lorries arranged in the foreground. (Original photo in possession of Robin Chrystal (Bedford) as of June 2018).

<22> NMR/AMIE, HE NRHE Monument Inventory, 346609 (Index). SBD12367.

The much mutilated earthwork remains of a medieval ringwork are interpreted as the site of Rugemont Castle. Much of the site has been destroyed by the construction of the Round House in the 19th century. Scheduled.

Protected Status:

  • Archaeological Notification Area
  • Archaeological Notification Area (AI) HER30: RINGWORK, The Round House
  • Scheduled Monument 1013016: Ringwork at The Round House, Brogborough Park Farm
  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of an oval ringwork and bailey at The Round House

Monument Type(s):

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RINGWORK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUARRY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events: None recorded

Sources and Further Reading

[1]SBD10879 - Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Record Cards. OS: SP 93 NE 2.
[2]SBD10574 - Bibliographic reference: William Page & H. Arthur Doubleday (Editors). Victoria County History, Bedfordshire. Vol. 1, 1904, p. 306.
[3]SBD10574 - Bibliographic reference: William Page & H. Arthur Doubleday (Editors). Victoria County History, Bedfordshire. Vol. 3, 1912, p. 321.
[4]SBD11658 - Observations and Comments: Kevan Fadden. Site visit. 14/2/71.
[5]SBD10706 - Bibliographic reference: Beauchamp Wadmore. 1920. Earthworks of Bedfordshire. p. 121.
[6]SBD10783 - Unpublished document: 1937. Bedfordshire Regional Planning Authority Report.
[7]SBD10619 - Map: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 1st Edition. No. 224.
[8]SBD10628 - Map: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 2nd Edition. No. 224.
[9]SBD10797 - Unpublished document: E Denroche. 1978. Ridgmont Parish Survey.
[10]SBD12095 - Notes from site visit: Angela Simco. Site visit notes. 15 January 1986.
[11]SBD10619 - Map: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 1st Edition.
[11]SBD10628 - Map: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 2nd Edition. No. 244.
[12]SBD11426 - Unpublished document: Bedfordshire County Council. Planning Dept File.
[13]SBD10628 - Map: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey 25" Map, 2nd Edition. No. 244.
[14]SBD10506 - Photograph: HER Photograph Archive. F602/9 & 13-21, 15 January 1986.
[15]SBD12102 - Scheduling record: English Heritage. Notification of Scheduling, or an Affirmation or Revision of Scheduling. MPP33/AA 44102/1, 14/10/1992.
[16]SBD10508 - Slide: HER Slide Archive. 2187-2190.
[17]SBD11426 - Unpublished document: Bedfordshire County Council. Planning Dept File. 1987.
[18]SBD11426 - Unpublished document: Bedfordshire County Council. Planning Dept File. 1986.
[19]SBD10792 - Unpublished document: Planning/Listed Building Application(s) Documentation. 55/MB/93/1346.
[20]SBD10507 - Photograph: Bedfordshire County Council. BCC Photographic Unit. PU21/1978.
[21]SBD10598 - Photograph: Privately donated photos. Photo by Harrison, St. Peter's, Bedford, probably later 1940's.
[22]SBD12367 - Index: NMR/AMIE. HE NRHE Monument Inventory. 346609.