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HER Number:MDV1124
Name:Court Castle, Winkleigh


A motte and bailey to the northeast of Winkleigh village, presumed to be 11th-12th century in date.


Grid Reference:SS 633 082
Map Sheet:SS60NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWinkleigh
Ecclesiastical ParishWINKLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS60NW/3
  • Old SAM County Ref: 187
  • Old SAM Ref: 30302
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS60NW2

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD (Between))
  • MOTTE (Constructed, XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD (Between))

Full description

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 613 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Court Castle: situated opposite the 17th/18th century Winkleigh Court. Damaged by ploughing, the rampart has gone, leaving a plateau with an escarpment of 3.6 metres on the south-west, broken by a terrace, the remnant of a ditch on the north makes a curve at its eastern extremity, and indicated an approach by a sunken road. Classified as a 'Rectangular Camp'. Other details: Plan 615.

Office of Works, 1938, Winkleigh Court Castle (Schedule Document). SDV345287.

Radford, C. + Radford, R., 1939, 18th Report on Ancient Monuments, 67 (Article in Serial). SDV11940.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 516 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Grass grown and topped by trees; used as a playground by children. A small Norman castle site, or perhaps more likely a fortified manor house. Other details: Ancient Monuments visit in 1936.

Renn, D. F., 1959, Mottes. A Classification, 110 (Article in Serial). SDV11931.

Probably besieged from Croft Castle.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1971 - 1977, SS60NW2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV11929.

Site visit: 17th June 1971. A large mound with an outer ditch which survives only around the north. The flat top has probably been landscaped. There is an 18th century folly in the centre, and a high mound of earth at the north end. It is uncertain whether this represents the original height or whether it is dumping. If the former, the considerable amount of earth removed could have been used to level the garden immediately to the south of Winkleigh Court, where there is a terrace which does not seem to represent the perimeter of the motte and bailey. The ringwork is substantial, and like a castle site. Other details: Plan.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 124-6,248-9,258,260, 294,298,315, Fig 36 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

At the northend end of Winkleigh village, bisected by a road following the course of the motte ditch on the bailey side. A flat-topped motte, 5 metres high and circa 60 metres by 45 metres in surface area. The ditch survives to the north and is 3 metres deep. The top of the motte has been landscaped and also the defences of the former bailey which is itself occupied by Winkleigh Court house. Probably founded in the early 12th century, although not impossibly during the Civil War (1130's and 1140's): its proximity to Croft Castle may reflect local antagonism in the 13th century. It was in a different manor from Croft Castle. Other details: PHD Thesis, Exeter University..

Gallant, L., 1986, Deer Parks and Paddocks of England (Un-published). SDV656.

'Winkleigh Park' was the only park in Devon mentioned in Domesday and may have been associated with Court Castle.

Drewe Pearce Chartered Surveyors, 1988, Court Castle, Winkleigh (Un-published). SDV357754.

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

Probert, S. A. J. + Dunn, C. J., 1993, Court Castle, Winkleigh, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV11936.

New survey carried out at the request of Devon County Council.

Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 3, 7, 11, gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

Court Castle is located an the southern end of a low ridge on the north-eastern side of Winkleigh. Prior to the rerouting of the B3220 in World War II it lay within the landscaped grounds of Winkleigh Court. The castle, which comprises the damaged remains of a motte and probable bailey is not mentioned in documentary sources until 1640 but is presumed to be of 11th-12th century date, built either during the Norman conquest, the subsequent consolidation of estates or the civil war of Stephen's reign. The relationship between Court Castle and Croft castle at the other end of Winkleigh is unknown but they may be a reflection of the politics surrounding the division of the manor into two in the 12th century.
The remains comprise a large subcircular motte about 76 metres diameter with a well-defined ditch surviving on its north and west sides. It was probably originally in excess of 10 metres high.
There is no evidence of a bailey which was probably destroyed during the creation of the landscaped gardens of Winkleigh Court. A brick built banqueting house was also built on top of the motte.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1997, Court Castle (Schedule Document). SDV11932.

A medieval motte and bailey castle situated at the eastern end of the village of Winkleigh on a ridge overlooking the valley of the Bullow Brook to the south. The monument survives as an oval-shaped, flat-topped motte with a rectangular mound on its north -astern corner, a ditch which is well defined to the north and west of the motte, but which survives as a buried feature elsewhere, and a D-shaped bailey which has been incorporated into the gardens of the nearby Winkleigh Court. The motte, which is oval in shape, measures 92 metres long from north to south and 67 metres wide from east to west at its base. It ranges in height from 1.8 metres on the north-western side to 10.1 metres on the south-eastern side. The flattened top of the mound measures 62 metres long from north to south and 45.2 metres wide from east to west. In the north-eastern quadrant there is a rectangular mound which may represent the original height of the motte. This measures 21.5 metres long from east to west, 16 metres wide from north to south at its base and is 2.2 metres high. The ditch surrounding the mound is evident to the north and east where it measures up to 15 metres wide and 1.7 metres deep, with a 2 metre wide flat bottom. The layout of the road to the south of the motte follows the original line of the ditch, but does not cut it. On the eastern side of the motte the B3220 runs from north to south and crosses the ditch and part of the bailey. However, the road surface does not cut into the ditch, or those parts of the bailey which are affected by it.
The motte and bailey once formed part of extensive formal gardens attached to Winkleigh Court. During the 18th century a brick-built banqueting house was erected on the summit of the motte. This is located in the centre of the mound and is square in plan externally, measuring 5.9 metres across and 6 metres high. The walls are 0.65 metres thick.
The bailey lies to the south-east of the mound. It is partly overlain by the B3220 and its verges and has become fossilised within the layout of the formal gardens of Winkleigh Court. A D-shaped level area measuring 50 metres long from north to south and 44.3 wide from east-west, defined by a scarp of up to 1.6 metres high, lies directly to the south of the present 18th century house. Further remains of the bailey, possibly up to half, now lie beneath the present house. A drive which gives access to the property may overlie the original line of the outer ditch surrounding the bailey.
The motte and bailey are thought to date to the late 11th or early 12th centuries, when William II passed the land to Robert Fitz Roy, later the Earl of Gloucester. The area was held by Matilda during the Civil War. During the 12th century the manor was split. Court Castle became the property of the Keynes family until the 16th century. The manor was sold in 1550 to George Escott of Chawleigh, passed to George Broughton of Studley and in 1638 was sold to Thomas Lethbridge of Jacobstowe. During this period the present house at Winkleigh Court and the banqueting tower were erected. Winkleigh Court remained with the Lethbridge family until 1821, when it was sold to Reverend George Johnson.
Winkleigh Court, Castle Cottage and Castle Houose are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these buildings is included. Other details: Site visit.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1998, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV11935.

Schedule Monument Consent granted for works concerning the provision of service trenches to Winkleigh Court.

Adams, A., 2004, Review of the Year, 2 (Article in Serial). SDV363131.

The motte may have been an early medieval castle or the site of a fortified manor house belonging to the Keynes family who owned the manor of Einkleigh Keynes until the mid 16th century. The top has been extensively levelled which has probably removed all evidence of earlier occupation.

Humphreys, C., 2005, Land between Shute Lane & Exeter Road, Winkleigh, 2.2, 2.3 (Report - Assessment). SDV322214.

Court Castle was probably built by the Earl of Gloucester in the late 11th century as a centre from which to administer their considerable holdings in Devon. From an early date the manor was divided into two associated with the Keynes and Tracey families. The manor of Winkleigh Keynes was granted borough status in 1237 and was associated with Court Castle in a 14th century document.

English Heritage, 2010, Court Castle, Winkleigh, Devon (Correspondence). SDV345288.

Scheduled monument consent granted, subject to conditions, in respect of propsed works concerning replacement of an existing low voltage pole.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11929Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1971 - 1977. SS60NW2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV11931Article in Serial: Renn, D. F.. 1959. Mottes. A Classification. Antiquity. 33. Unknown. 110.
SDV11932Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1997. Court Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV11935Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1998. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV11936Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J. + Dunn, C. J.. 1993. Court Castle, Winkleigh, Devon. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field Investigation. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV11940Article in Serial: Radford, C. + Radford, R.. 1939. 18th Report on Ancient Monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 71. A5 Paperback. 67.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 516.
SDV322214Report - Assessment: Humphreys, C.. 2005. Land between Shute Lane & Exeter Road, Winkleigh. Southwest Archaeology Report. 050720. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.2, 2.3.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 124-6,248-9,258,260, 294,298,315, Fig 36.
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. 613.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #71797 ]
SDV345287Schedule Document: Office of Works. 1938. Winkleigh Court Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV345288Correspondence: English Heritage. 2010. Court Castle, Winkleigh, Devon. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 3, 7, 11, gazetteer.
SDV357754Un-published: Drewe Pearce Chartered Surveyors. 1988. Court Castle, Winkleigh. Sale Particulars. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV363131Article in Serial: Adams, A.. 2004. Review of the Year. 22. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 2.
SDV656Un-published: Gallant, L.. 1986. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Manuscript.

Associated Monuments

MDV19503Parent of: Court Castle Folly, Winkleigh (Building)
MDV94954Part of: Winkleigh Court Gardens (Building)
MDV1123Related to: Croft Castle, Winkleigh (Monument)
MDV21763Related to: Winkleigh Borough (Monument)
MDV12566Related to: Winkleigh Court (Building)
MDV64344Related to: Winkleigh Deer Park (Monument)
MDV71520Related to: Winkleigh, Settlement (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1857 - Court Castle, Winkleigh, Devon
  • EDV1858 - Land between Shute Lane & Exeter Road, Winkleigh
  • EDV7316 - Monitoring and Recording: Stars Barn Cottage, Chumleigh Road, Winkleigh (Ref: WSB14)

Date Last Edited:Jun 30 2020 2:39PM