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Name:EARTHWORK, Castle Close
HER No.:994
Type of Record:Monument


An oval banked & ditched enclosure, medieval in date

Grid Reference:SP 989 595
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Full Description

The monument at Castle Close is a slightly oval moat, about 60m across. The moat ditch is approx 7m wide by up to 3m deep. The central island is surrounded by a bank 1.5m high. A small area of flat ground in the middle of the island measures approx 25m by 20m. There are no causeways across the moat. The eastern side of the moat holds standing water and is fed by a leat or stream, 4m wide and 0.5m deep, which runs for approx 100m to the east where it joins other field drains. A survey dated 1617 refers to the land in which the monument lies as "Castle Close" and, although the monument has been described as a type of Norman castle, the defensive appearance of the earthworks is considered to represent a later fortification of the moat. The moat at Sharnbrook is one of a number of medieval sites located on the northern slopes of the Ouse valley, such as the moats at Bletsoe and Thurleigh and castles at Thurleigh and Odell.

Documentary evidence suggests that the site may be an early circular manorial moat.

A subcircular ditched enclosure of possible medieval date is visible as earthworks on historic aerial photographs and remote sensing data and was mapped as part of the Bedford Borough NMP project. Located in a field called Castle Close, Sharnbrook and centred at SP 98919 59550, it is notable that the extant earthworks are not recorded on the 1884 1st Edition OS map, which is unusual, though the close at that time is shown as woodland, in which it remains on aerial photographs taken in 1947. Nor is it recorded on the 1815 OS Drawing when the field was not depicted in woodland.The ditch is subcircular and varies between 6.5 and 9 metres wide, with an outside diameter of 57.8 metres W-E and 53.7 metres N-S. From the north side a 1.5 metres wide and 15.5 metres long ditch extends north terminating at a subcircular earthwork mound about 6.6 metres in diameter at its widest. From the ESE, a 2 metres wide ditch extends ESE for about 64 metres, bisecting a broader perpendicular ditch bounding a block of ridge and furrow cultivation. The subcircular ditch encloses a subcircular area about 45 metres W-E and 36.7 metres N-S in diameter. Within this platform, an earthwork bank about 3 metres wide encircles most of the inner circumference, with short breaks in the E and NE sides. (1-3)

Protected Status: None recorded

Monument Type(s):

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events: None recorded