HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV1019
Name:Heywood Castle, Eggesford


A well preserved motte and bailey overlooking the Taw valley.


Grid Reference:SS 679 124
Map Sheet:SS61SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWembworthy
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWEMBWORTHY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS61SE/9
  • Old SAM County Ref: 160
  • Old SAM Ref: 28641

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD)

Full description

Ancient Monuments, Untitled Source (Schedule Document). SDV39239.

Unknown (pre-war) description as in Victoria County History. Seems to be a typical Noman castle and is thought to have some connection with Eggesford castle. Likely to be replanted by Forestry Commission.

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 321-622 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Circular motte and bailey overgrown. The motte is 7.9m high, 48.7m diameter and surrounded by a rampart 3.65m high maximum. The bailey is of horse-shoe form, on the north east side of the motte, and surrounded by a rampart 1.8m high and ditch 1.5m deep. There are two entrances, at the north and south east. A possible bridgework between motte and bailey occurs to the north. An additional rampart lies outside the castle to the north; this is 0.6m high, with ditch 0.9m deep. Connected by an agger (ie road) to Eggesford. Other details: Plan.

Allcroft, A. H., 1908, Earthwork of England, 405,413 (Monograph). SDV11975.

The castle has a 'second and exiguous' bailey which abuts half upon the main bailey and half upon the motte.

Renn, D. F., 1959, Mottes. A Classification, 106-112 (Article in Serial). SDV11931.

Vachell, E. T., 1963, Eggesford and Heywood Castles, 202-207 (Article in Serial). SDV39236.

Heywood Castle, motte and bailey(s). Remains of a Norman 'ring motte' with small but impressive mound surrounded by formidable rock-cut ditch. The bailey occupies c0.13 hectares and is defended by a bank and rock-cut ditch. Around the edge of the motte is a ring-bank, still standing in places. No indication of any masonry remains. Entrance on south side of the bailey; the gateway was defended on its west side by a small raised 'fighting platform' of which vestiges remain. Built temp. William II and replaced the earlier Eggesford Castle (PRN 1018). Other details: Figs 1-3.

King, D. J. C. + Alcock, L., 1969, Ringworks of England and Wales (Article in Serial). SDV39240.

A small class 'B' ringwork (ie enclosed area above ground level) with bailey.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1973, Untitled Source (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV39241.

Exceptionally well preserved motte and bailey overlooking the Taw valley. The motte is up to 6.2m high with 1.8m deep central depression. Of the two gaps in the bailey, the north one is probably original. The ditch on the south side of the bailey has been damaged by a forest track. The 'agger' connection with eggesford castle (see Wall) could not be traced. Other details: Plan.

Silvester, R. J., 1977, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV39244.

Site in good condition. Forestry tracks avoid it.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 122-123,248,252,279,293, 296,298,315,317 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Motte with sunken top and single bailey. Description as above. Probably founded during the 1130's and 1140's; its closeness to Eggesford may reflect civil war antagonism, although the castles may be successive, and an 11th century date cannot be ruled out. Other details: Fig 35 PhD Thesis, Exeter University..

Griffith, F. M., 1983, Heywood Castle (Personal Comment). SDV39245.

Site visited on 1st June 1983. As described by Ordnance Survey. Some recent damage by forestry work. Possible bank suggestive Allcroft's outer bailey (see above) visible in two places beyond track on the north east in dense brambles. Other details: Photographs.

Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV343247.

Field Monument Warden visit.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/GP, 9-10 (Aerial Photograph). SDV15647.

The trees have been clear felled on the south side of the motte. The motte itself and its outer bank are still wooded.

Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 144 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Horner, W., 1993, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV39249.

Heywood Castle visited as part of survey of later woodbanks, which impinge on the western side of the earthworks.

Horner, B., 1994, DAP/WC, 29,30 (Aerial Photograph). SDV39277.

Horner, W., 1994, Heywood Castle (Personal Comment). SDV39247.

Trees have been cleared as part of management plan. Other details: Slides.

Griffith, F. M., 1994, Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV39271.

Other details: Slide.

Dawson, T. + Hambley, J., 1995, A Survey of Heywood Motte and Bailey, Eggesford (Report - Survey). SDV39250.

Well preserved early Norman motte and bailey. Overlooks Taw valley from position stride a spur. Devon County Council funded survey of earthworks after felling of trees. Platforms at north and south junctions of bailey with motte ditch may represent location of towers. Motte bank survives best on west and south west. Central enclosed area of motte contains roughly square piece of stone rubble but probably natural. Possible masonry was recorded on the ditch side of the bank that surrounds the motte and bailey on the south side at the junction of motte and bailey ditches. No other masonry recorded in erosion scars.

Griffith, F. M., 1995, DAP/YM, 11-14 (Aerial Photograph). SDV39278.

Department of National Heritage, 1995, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV39248.

Scheduled monument consent granted for small clearance by the Forestry Commission, for works comprising the felling of existing beech and Douglas fir trees growing on the mound; the clearance of the majority of the scrubby undergrowth, and the use of clearing saws and selective herbicides to develop and retain a permanent ground cover.

Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 7, 11, Gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

A fine example of a motte and bailey located near the end of a spur projecting into a bend in the Taw valley enabling control of a fording point. Although Heywood Castle (Eggesford I) is not recorded in any medieval documents it is presumed to be 11th-12th century in date, built either during the Norman conquest of Devon, the subsequent consolidation of estates or in the civil war of Stephen's reign. The nature of the relationship with Eggesford Castle (Eggesford II) is unknown but the latter may be a siegework or an earlier castle which was replaced by Heywood Castle.
The motte is about 10 metres high with a base diameter of 37 metres and surrounded by a rock cut ditch which is still up to 3 metres deep. Its summit is concave and large enough to accommodate a substantial tower or other building. The shoulder of the motte was probably defended by a palisade and the lowest point of this, which faces the bailey, is likely to be the site of the entranceway reached by a timber bridge. The oval bailey, 42 by 38 metres, is on the east side of the motte and surrounded by a rampart and rock cut ditch, shallower than that around the motte. A small platforem where the southern end of the rampart ditch meets that of the motte suggests a building, perhaps a tower covering the entrance at that point.

Horner, W., 1996, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV39251.

Forestry Enterprise have put wooden steps and viewing platform on south side of motte. Other details: Slides.

Gerrard, S., 1996, Untitled Source (Un-published). SDV39253.

This motte and bailey castle survives as a circular motte, rock-cut ditch and crescent shaped bailey with an outer bank. The motte has a diameter of 48.7m and is 7.9m high. On top of the motte is a ring bank which attains a height of up to 4m in places and is up to 2m wide. The central enclosed area has a small linear bank running north-south within it, which measures 3.5m wide and up to 1.7m high and runs across the top of the mound and this is very stoney. The rock-cut ditch which surrounds the foot of the motte is 4m wide and 2m deep.
The crescent shaped bailey, which lies to the north east side of the motte, is 60m by 40m and bounded on all sides by a bank which measures up to 1.5m wide and 2m high on average except on the east side where it attains a height of some 4m. On the east side there is an entrance which measures 2.8m wide. From the entrance and across the ditch there is a causeway which extends to the outer bank. On the north side of the bailey a more modern entrance has formed which measures 3.5 to 4m wide. From the bailey to the motte on the north east side there is the possibility of a bridgeway. An outer bank surrounds the motte and bailey this measures up to 4m wide and 1.6m high. The monument lies relatively near another contemporary castle which lies a short distance to the south and is the subject of a separate scheduling. The castle is thought to date to the 1130's and 1140's and the fact that two are so close together may reflect civil war antagonism or replacement of one by the other. Excluded from the monument are the timber steps and walkways, but the ground below is included. Other details: MPP 143303.

Nenk, B. S. + Haith, C. + Bradley, J., 1997, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1996, 251 (Article in Serial). SDV361739.

Wembworthy, Eggesford, Heywood Motte and Bailey (SS679125). Summary of survey work carried out by Exeter Archaeology.

Horner, B., 1999, DAP/ACE, 4,5 (Aerial Photograph). SDV39279.

DCMS, 1999, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV39254.

Scheduled monument consent granted for the construction of timber steps on the north east slope of the monument and the laying of path around the top of the motte.

Young, A., 2005, Transcriptions from Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Cartographic). SDV321540.

Transcriptions of a bank correspond to the grid reference for PRN167446.

Young, A. & Turner, S., 2005-2006, North Devon/Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project database records, PRN167446 (Interpretation). SDV358473.

Motte and Bailey castle. The motte is barely visible on aerial photographs (p1-2) as an earthwork through trees and was digitally plotted during the National Mapping Programme.
Photograph reference:
1. RAF 3G/TUD/UK/159 PT1 5042-3 19-APR-1946
2. RAF CPE/UK/2082 4177-8 19-MAY-1947

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

ACE Archaeology Club, 2021, Images of erosion at Heywood Castle, Eggesford (Ground Photograph). SDV364289.

ACE Archaeology Club provided two images of erosion along the side of two sets of steps. Measures will be set in place via Historic England and the Forestry Commission to deter future erosion taking place.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11931Article in Serial: Renn, D. F.. 1959. Mottes. A Classification. Antiquity. 33. Unknown. 106-112.
SDV11975Monograph: Allcroft, A. H.. 1908. Earthwork of England. Earthwork of England. Unknown. 405,413.
SDV15647Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/GP. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 9-10.
SDV321540Cartographic: Young, A.. 2005. Transcriptions from Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project. Digital.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 122-123,248,252,279,293, 296,298,315,317.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 144.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 321-622.
SDV343247Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #61489 ]
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 7, 11, Gazetteer.
SDV358473Interpretation: Young, A. & Turner, S.. 2005-2006. North Devon/Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project database records. Cornwall Council Report. Digital. PRN167446.
SDV361739Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S. + Haith, C. + Bradley, J.. 1997. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1996. Medieval Archaeology. 41. Unknown. 251.
SDV364289Ground Photograph: ACE Archaeology Club. 2021. Images of erosion at Heywood Castle, Eggesford. Digital.
SDV39236Article in Serial: Vachell, E. T.. 1963. Eggesford and Heywood Castles. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 95. Unknown. 202-207.
SDV39239Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments.
SDV39240Article in Serial: King, D. J. C. + Alcock, L.. 1969. Ringworks of England and Wales. Chateau Gaillard. 3. Unknown.
SDV39241Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1973. SS61SE5.
SDV39244Worksheet: Silvester, R. J.. 1977.
SDV39245Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M.. 1983. Heywood Castle.
SDV39247Personal Comment: Horner, W.. 1994. Heywood Castle.
SDV39248Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1995. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
SDV39249Worksheet: Horner, W.. 1993.
SDV39250Report - Survey: Dawson, T. + Hambley, J.. 1995. A Survey of Heywood Motte and Bailey, Eggesford. Exeter Archaeology Report. 95.54. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV39251Report - Survey: Horner, W.. 1996.
SDV39253Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 1996. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset..
SDV39254Correspondence: DCMS. 1999. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
SDV39271Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1994.
SDV39277Aerial Photograph: Horner, B.. 1994. DAP/WC. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 29,30.
SDV39278Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1995. DAP/YM. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 11-14.
SDV39279Aerial Photograph: Horner, B.. 1999. DAP/ACE. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4,5.

Associated Monuments

MDV1018Related to: Eggesford Castle (Monument)
MDV56285Related to: FOLLY in the Parish of Wembworthy (Monument)
MDV55767Related to: WOOD BANK in the Parish of Wembworthy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV3618 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3619 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3620 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3621 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3622 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3623 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3624 - MPP
  • EDV3625 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV7455 - Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme

Date Last Edited:Nov 30 2023 4:23PM