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HER Number:MDV14594
Name:Barnstaple Castle Inner Bailey

Summary

The inner bailey lies on the north-western side of the motte and was originally enclosed by a bank and moat. Part of it overlies a Christian Saxon cemetery.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 555 333
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/43/3
  • Old SAM County Ref: 255
  • Old SAM Ref: 33062
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE14

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BAILEY (VIII to Late Medieval - 701 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Timms, S. C., 09/02/1983, Barnstaple Castle (Personal Comment). SDV74061.

Excavations by Miles for Barnstaple Excavation Committee were undertaken in the vicinity of Castle House in 1972-75. Excavations located rampart on north side of bailey and structures within bailey. Report still unpublished in 1983. The bailey area most of which is scheduled is now a public park. Mainly grass, but some new trees have been planted within scheduled area.


Unknown, 1917, Proceedings at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting, 18 (Article in Serial). SDV78799.

According to Whitley, who read a paper on Barnstaple Castle and town walls at the annual meeting, portions of the stonework from the gatehouse are now incorporated within the walls of Castle House.


Oliver, B. W., 1928, The Castle of Barnstaple, 215-223, Plan (Article in Serial). SDV73002.

The inner bailey defences were probably earthen banks and wooden palisades at the earlier stages of the castle's history 1068-1136 AD. But a wall was erected probably on the outer face of the earth bank by Henry de Tracey circa 1136 AD. This wall descended from opposite sides of the keep. A roughly oval bailey 49 metres by 91 metres with main entrance to the northeast. Against the opposite (southwest) wall would have stood the domestic buildings including the great hall, kitchen and solar, from the northwest angle of which, projecting into the bailey was the chapel possibly incorporated in modern house. Numerous burials have been found in the area. A documentary reference in 1525 refers to 'le banck de Castel bayley de Barnstaple'.


Ministry of Works, 1950, Barnstaple Castle (Schedule Document). SDV73985.

Barnstaple Castle was granted by Henry I to Iudhael, founder of Totnes and later held by the Tracy's. It was in complete deacay by Leland's time. The bailey extends away from the town. The bailey is largely levelled but a ditch is visible on the north side. The Borough offices occupy part of the site of the bailey and the rest is a park.


Renn, D. F., 1968, Norman Castles in Britain, 102 (Monograph). SDV74059.

A charter from the time of Henry I (1100-1135) mentions the north and east gates. Descriptions of the north and west gates (destroyed in 1842 and 1852) suggest Norman work.


Miles, T. J., 1973, North Walk, Barnstaple, 48, 52, 61 (Article in Serial). SDV350794.

Trial trences adjacent to 'The Castle', an 18th/19th century house, revealed extensive features and traces of buildings overlain by a long-established cemetery. Many burials were sealed by a clay and rubble bank, apparently the Norman bailey rampart. A sherd of Norman pottery underlay Phase I but was above the graves. A large structure, stone-robbed in the 17th century, may have been a castle building.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 1 (Article in Serial). SDV344485.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 2 (Article in Serial). SDV344486.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 3 (Article in Serial). SDV344487.


Unknown, 1974, Unknown, 307-308 (Article in Serial). SDV74062.


Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 71 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.


Markuson, K. W., 1980, Barnstaple Survey (Un-published). SDV356766.


Grant, A., 1981, The North Devon Pottery Industry of the Later Seventeenth Century (Extract) (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV7737.

Bailey in relation to post-medieval pottery and 1972-75 excavations shown.


North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1986, An Excavation at North Devon Area Library Site, Barnstaple; Summary Report (Report - Excavation). SDV76038.


Miles, T. J., 1986, The Excavation of a Saxon Cemetery and Part of the Norman Castle at North walk, Barnstaple, 59-84 (Article in Serial). SDV73913.

The report of the 1972-75 excavations describes the bailey rampart and moat. A timber-framed rampart was later refronted with stone.


Miles, T. J., 1986, The Excavation of a Saxon Cemetery and Part of the Norman Castle at North walk, Barnstaple, 71-72 (Article in Serial). SDV73913.

A deposit representing the truncated base of a substantial rampart was found above a layer of buried turf during excavations to the north of 'The Castle' in 1972-1975. The rampart comprised layers of clay, silt and stones quarried from the adjacent moat. It appears to have originally been timber fronted, later re-fronted in stone. The size of the moat is unknown but the excavations showed that it was large, extending well below the high water mark. To prevent material slumping into the moat a berm 4-5 metres wide was left between them.


North Devon District Council, 1989, Barnstaple Pottery Week and Kiln Build (Leaflet). SDV356885.

One of the most important historical areas in Barnstaple. Beneath the Castle Green is the site of the earliest known cemetery in the town. 105 bodies were excavated sealed beneath the castle defences, dated to the Anglo Saxon or early Norman period. Castle Green was formerly the castle bailey. It was defended by a large bank and ditch and housed ancillary buildings. The castle had gone out of use by the 17th century and the land around it was being used for other purposes. The castle ditches were let out for industrial purposes mainly for the production of pottery.


Lovatt, A. M., 1990, The Excavation of Three Post-Medieval Pottery Kilns at Barnstaple 1986-1987 (Report - Excavation). SDV319605.


Gent, T. H., 1995, Barnstaple Castle Green Enhancement Archaeological Watching Brief (Report - Watching Brief). SDV74064.

Watching brief during enhancement work to Castle Green recorded no evidence of in situ features considered to predate Castle House. Features relating to Castle House, its outbuildings or the formal gardens were encountered directly beneath the main pathway through the centre of the green.


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


Exeter Archaeology, 2001, Archaeological Assessment and Building Recording at Commercial Road, Barnstaple, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV73888.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2002, Barnstaple Castle (Schedule Document). SDV342276.

The monument includes Barnstaple Castle and a Norman motte and bailey. Part of the bailey overlies a Christian Saxon cemetery. The courtyard or bailey area which stood to the northwest of the motte was originally enclosed by a bank and moat. The bailey would have held some of the working buildings of the castle constructed either in timber or stone. The bailey rampart was about 10 metres wide and probably revetted with vertical timbers. It was fronted by a berm 4 - 5 metres wide and then a ditch or moat.


Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment, 15, 16, Fig. 11 (Report - Assessment). SDV319631.


Southwest Archaeology, 2013, Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database, Mapping Area 1290 (Un-published). SDV351581.


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.


Dean, R., 2017, Barnstaple Castle, Barnstaple: Geophysics (Report - Survey). SDV360284.

This report was commissioned by North Devon Council. Magnetometer, resistance and ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys were completed to inform upon the buried remains at Barnstaple Castle. The outer and inner castle baileys are now mainly urban parkland and were subject to magnetometer and resistance surveys. The tarmac carpark, which includes part of the former outer bailey and areas out with the scheduled monument, was subject to a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey. The top of the motte was subject to surveys using all three techniques.

The parkland, formerly parts of the inner and outer baileys and part of the moat, was the subject of magnetometer and resistance surveys. Evidence for the location, structure and demolition of Castle House, situated in this area between at least 1684 to 1976, was recorded in both surveys. The resistance survey highlighted anomalies likely to represent wall footings and floors. Both surveys recorded anomaly groups that may reflect the archaeological excavation that took place in this area between 1972 and 1975. The magnetometer survey recorded the likely position of a known well capped an iron or steel cover.

Barnstaple Castle is a Norman motte and bailey with a surviving motte, part of which overliesa Saxon cemetery. The area was landscaped in the 19th century. The castle stands on the eastbank of the River Taw at its confluence with the River Yeo just upstream from where the Tawbroadens out on its journey to the Bristol Channel. It thus protected the lowest point at which
the Taw could be forded in medieval times. The castle was sited within the western corner ofan earlier Anglo-Saxon defended town or burh and was probably under construction by thetime of the Domesday Book in 1086, although it is not recorded in documents until the 12th century.

The castle comprises a courtyard or bailey area originally enclosed by a bank and moat, which stood on the north west side of a motte that was equipped with its own associated set of defences, thus creating a stronghold within the castle. The bailey would have held some of the working buildings of the castle constructed either in timber or in stone.

The inner bailey lies on the north-western side of the motte and was originally enclosed by a bank and moat. Part of it overlies a Christian Saxon cemetery. Trial trenches adjacent to 'The Castle', an 18th/19th century house, revealed extensive features and traces of buildings overlain by a long-established cemetery. Many burials were sealed by a clay and rubble bank, apparently the Norman bailey rampart. A sherd of Norman pottery underlay Phase I of the bank but was above the graves. A large structure, stone-robbed in the 17th century, may have been a castle building.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SS53SE14 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV74065.

Site visit: 15th October 1953. The whole of the inner bailey is laid out as ornamental gardens. No visible remains. A lawn occupies the site of the well.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV319605Report - Excavation: Lovatt, A. M.. 1990. The Excavation of Three Post-Medieval Pottery Kilns at Barnstaple 1986-1987. North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV319631Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.62. A4 Stapled + Digital. 15, 16, Fig. 11.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 71.
SDV342276Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2002. Barnstaple Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV344485Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 1. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344486Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 2. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 2. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344487Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 3. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 3. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #81293 ]
SDV350794Article in Serial: Miles, T. J.. 1973. North Walk, Barnstaple. Council for British Archaeology Archaeological Review for 1972. 13. A4 Stapled + Digital. 48, 52, 61.
SDV351581Un-published: Southwest Archaeology. 2013. Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database. Greater Barnstaple Area Project. Digital. Mapping Area 1290.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. Gazetteer.
SDV356766Un-published: Markuson, K. W.. 1980. Barnstaple Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV356885Leaflet: North Devon District Council. 1989. Barnstaple Pottery Week and Kiln Build. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV360284Report - Survey: Dean, R.. 2017. Barnstaple Castle, Barnstaple: Geophysics. Substrata. 1702BAR-R-1. Digital.
SDV73002Article in Serial: Oliver, B. W.. 1928. The Castle of Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 60. A5 Hardback. 215-223, Plan.
SDV73888Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2001. Archaeological Assessment and Building Recording at Commercial Road, Barnstaple. Exeter Archaeology Report. 01.28. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV73913Article in Serial: Miles, T. J.. 1986. The Excavation of a Saxon Cemetery and Part of the Norman Castle at North walk, Barnstaple. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 44. Paperback Volume. 59-84.
SDV73985Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1950. Barnstaple Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV74059Monograph: Renn, D. F.. 1968. Norman Castles in Britain. Norman Castles in Britain. Unknown. 102.
SDV74061Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 09/02/1983. Barnstaple Castle.
SDV74062Article in Serial: Unknown. 1974. Unknown. Current Archaeology. 45. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin. 307-308.
SDV74064Report - Watching Brief: Gent, T. H.. 1995. Barnstaple Castle Green Enhancement Archaeological Watching Brief. Exeter Archaeology Report. 95.35. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV74065Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SS53SE14. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV76038Report - Excavation: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1986. An Excavation at North Devon Area Library Site, Barnstaple; Summary Report. North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV7737Post-Graduate Thesis: Grant, A.. 1981. The North Devon Pottery Industry of the Later Seventeenth Century (Extract). Exeter University PhD Thesis. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV78799Article in Serial: Unknown. 1917. Proceedings at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 49. A5 Hardback. 18.

Associated Monuments

MDV14592Part of: Barnstaple Castle (Monument)
MDV14593Related to: Barnstaple Castle Moat (Monument)
MDV19999Related to: Barnstaple Castle Motte (Monument)
MDV14595Related to: Barnstaple Castle Outer Bailey (Monument)
MDV853Related to: Castle House, Barnstaple (Building)
MDV14597Related to: Saxon Cemetery at Barnstaple Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1378 - Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme Archaeological Assessment
  • EDV1377 - Excavation of Post-Medieval Pottery Kilns at Barnstaple
  • EDV7313 - Geophysics: Barnstaple Castle, Barnstaple (Ref: 1702BAR-R-1)

Date Last Edited:Jul 27 2017 4:17PM