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HER Number:MDV2924
Name:Motte and Bailey south of Langford Barton


Earthwork remains of a 12th century motte and bailey castle to the south of Langford Barton


Grid Reference:SX 699 565
Map Sheet:SX65NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishUgborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishUGBOROUGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 441215
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NE/32
  • Old SAM Ref: 33766
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX65NE45

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XI to XII - 1001 AD to 1200 AD (Between))
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (XII - 1101 AD to 1200 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Z17/3/20-1 (Record Office Collection). SDV346056.

Shown on an 18th century plan.

Woollcombe, H., 1839-1850, Woollcombe Manuscript (Un-published). SDV16214.

Visited in July 1844. Sub-rectangular, single bank and ditch (circa 15 foot wide) with keep to east end (circa 300 foot circumference). Adjacent to fields called Castle Park. Other details: Extract in Parish File.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Earthworks shown on 19th century map within a kidney shaped enclosure.

Royal Air Force, 1946, CPE/UK 1890, 3174 (Aerial Photograph). SDV140289.

Other details: DCC 58/11.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953, SX65NE45 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV175355.

Langford Barton, ring motte earthwork. A low knoll south of Langford Barton farm, about 60 metres above a small stream in a valley running east-west. Oval 2.5 metres high with concave top and well defined ditch on north and west sides. From the outside of the ditch on the northwest a bank, 0.4 metres high, no ditch, proceeds north and then east for 75 metres. To the west of this is another bank 0.3 metres high, which has a slight ditch on its west side. This additional bank is difficult to account for, but may represent a strengthening of the defences on this exposed side. Other details: Plan.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 146-147,251,260,279,293, 295,296,298,315,321 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

The earthwork is situated on a small spur from which the ground falls away steeply to the southeast. It appears to be a motte and bailey, of which most of the bailey has become obliterated. Summit uneven and there are holes where trees have been cut down. Summit dips towards east to a lower mound on east side of summit. Appears to be a mutilated motte of no great size. In the early 19th century it was 10 metres high and surrounded by a ditch 5 metres wide. The adjacent field was named "Castle Park". A bailey was then said to exist. It is not possible to estimate its date of foundation, though possibly of 12th century origins. Other details: Figure 46.

Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 145 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Damaged or unfinished earthwork of the late 11th-12th century.

Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1989, An Archaeological Assessment of the South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston), 3 (Report - Assessment). SDV138026.

Reed, S. J., 1991, Archaeological Recording on the SWW South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston), 5 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV163500.

Motte and bailey with ditch and banks. Possibly 12th century origin.19th century maps show the area around the earthwork as enclosed, suggesting the area extending west was a lower bailey. Excavation does not bear this out. Central mound 50-55 metres diameter on which are 2 platforms at different levels. The eastern, lower platform is circa 20 metres by 18 metres; the western circa 26 metres by 12 metres. It is likely that these represent the motte and bailey respectively or that a bailey lay to the east of the mound, with its enclosing bank largely obliterated by subsequent activities. There is also an enclosing ditch around the mound, most evident on the west side. At the northwest edge the ditch appears to respect an entrance. Part of a bank running in an arc to the northwest of the mound may be the remnant of associated outworks. Surveyed by the Royal Commission on Historic Monuments during pipeline construction. Excavation revealed a leat which was apparently part of a water meadow system which probably went out of use by 19th century.

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

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001, Ringwork and Bailey Castle 400 metres south of Langford Barton (Schedule Document). SDV175360.

Ringwork and bailey castle 400 metres south of Langford Barton is a Norman ringwork castle with an unusually small bailey. The large and roughly circular ringwork is 40 metres in diameter with a sub-rectangular depression in the centre. The ringwork varies in height from 2.3 metres on the east side to 3.5 metres on the west, falling 0.3 metres into the central depression on the east side and 2.2 metres on the west side. A break for an entrance occurs in the circuit on the northeast side, while to the southwest there may be another. The surrounding ditch is well defined on the west and north sides and is between 6 and 7 metres wide and up to 1.2 metres deep. On the east and south sides the ground falls away, the ditch being represented by a terrace about 7 metre wide. A short section of the rock-cut outer edge of the ditch is visible on the northeast side. To the north of the ringwork, traces of a small sub-rectangular bailey measure 45 metres across its visible earthworks, projecting an average of 20 metres from the ditch of the ringwork. The west rampart of the bailey is 10 metres wide and stands up to 1.3 metres high. Its north and east sides survive as a change in slope 2 to 3 metres wide and 0.6 metres high. A triangular spur 8 metres wide and 0.5 metres high, projects 6 metres from the south edge of the ringwork's ditch. A 6 metres wide ditch to the west of the spur is 0.5 metres deep. The outer edge of this ditch continues as a scarp for 70 metres to the southwest, curving around the hillside. This scarp is between 2 and 3 metres wide and is 0.5 metres high at the northeast end, running out to 0.2 metres at its southwest terminus. A further 10 to 12 metres down the valley side to the southeast, terraces between 4 and 6 metres wide fall an average of 1 metre overall. These terraces are concentric with the ringwork, continuing around the slope to the north and eventually joining the northeast side of the bailey. In the 19th century, a watermeadow leat was channelled along the lower terrace. A rampart and outer ditch curves around the ringwork and its bailey on the northwest side of the site at a distance of about 8 metres from the bailey. The rampart is between 5 and 8 metres wide and survives to between 0.3 and 0.8 metres high. Its ditch is about 5 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep. This may be of Anglo-Saxon date, perhaps representing the site of the Domesday manor of Langford. A broad causeway runs across the low lying ground to the west. This is a maximum of 8 metres wide and 0.8 metres high and survives to circa 350 metres long. Only the eastern part is included in the scheduling. Traces of a former hedgebank run from the ringwork to the southwest and survive as a slight earthwork 0.4 metres wide by 0.2 metres high. A ditch 3 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep runs along its north side. Alignments in the oak trees surviving on the ringwork show where this and other hedgebanks once ran. All fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. Ringworks are Medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. Despite reduction of parts of this feature by ploughing and hedge removal the substantial remains are well preserved and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to the castle's construction and use and the landscape in which it functioned. An ovoid earthwork enclosure surrounding the site may be of Anglo-Saxon date. Other details: Monument 33766.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2004, Ringwork and Bailey Castle 400 metres south of Langford Barton (Schedule Document). SDV325690.

Scheduling was affirmed in 2004. Other details: Monument 33766.

National Monuments Record, 2010, 441215 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346057.

Medieval earthwork occupying an eastward projecting spur south of Langford Barton. The castle mound, some 46 metres in diameter and almost perfectly circular, consists of a prominent ring-mound formed by the cutting of a ditch through the natural spur. Although refered to as an apparantly mutilated motte some sites do not easily fall into the category of either motte or ringwork and this site displays characteristics of both motte and ringwork.

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

Earthworks shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV138026Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1989. An Archaeological Assessment of the South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston). Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 89.15. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV140289Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. CPE/UK 1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3174.
SDV16214Un-published: Woollcombe, H.. 1839-1850. Woollcombe Manuscript. Manuscript.
SDV163500Report - Watching Brief: Reed, S. J.. 1991. Archaeological Recording on the SWW South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston). Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 91.36. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV175355Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953. SX65NE45. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV175360Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Ringwork and Bailey Castle 400 metres south of Langford Barton. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. [Mapped feature: #86440 ]
SDV325690Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2004. Ringwork and Bailey Castle 400 metres south of Langford Barton. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 146-147,251,260,279,293, 295,296,298,315,321.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 145.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346056Record Office Collection: Unknown. Z17/3/20-1. Devon Record Office Collection. Plan.
SDV346057National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 441215. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 7.

Associated Monuments

MDV3012Related to: Langford Barton Farmstead (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 15 2015 12:03PM