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HER Number:MDV473
Name:Kenwith Castle

Summary

Kenwith Castle a possible Saxon or Medieval fortified knoll also known locally as 'Henni Castle' or 'Henniborough'

Location

Grid Reference:SS 432 273
Map Sheet:SS42NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 33070
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS42NW/4
  • Old SAM County Ref: 926
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS42NW5

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (VIII to XIV - 701 AD to 1400 AD (Between))

Full description

Vidal, R. S., 1806, Untitled Source, 198-208 (Article in Serial). SDV339261.


Risdon, T., 1811, Choreographical Description of Devon, 1580-1640, 287 (Monograph). SDV20653.


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

Visited on 8th September 1841. Circular enclosure, possible ditches to east, south and north, cut by road on west. Now with orchard, summer house and garden inside .


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

'Kenwith Castle (Remains of)' shown on 19th century map.


Cresswell, W., 1901, Ancient Dumnonia, 186 (Article in Serial). SDV339259.

The defeat of the Danes in 878 was not here but in West Somerset.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 614 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Kenwith Castle. Possible motte. Kenwith Castle, known locally as Henni Castle or Henniborough. An isolated mound rising steeply on all sides except the southeast, where there is possibly an entrance. A platform, 1.8 meters wide rises gradually from the east entrance to pass round the south and west sides of the hill 3.6 meters below the summit. It was the scene of a battle between English and Danes in 9th century.


Allcroft, A. H., 1908, Earthwork of England, 390 (Monograph). SDV11975.

Other details: Plan.


Rogers, I., 1948, The Invasion of North Devon by Hubba the Dane, 125 (Article in Serial). SDV12738.

About half-way down the hill, traces of a ditch can be seen, the circuit of which is 250 meters. A loose stone wall 2 meters high, 100 meters long is close by and partly supports a low bank. Herringbone structure, characteristically Saxon. A Saxon earthwork - the corresponding Danish fortification is at Godborough. Other details: Plate 15.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1978, SS42NW5 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV339260.

A natural hill, possibly steepened by artificial scarping, only evidence of fortification is a weak ditch, 0.3 meters wide on west side, and the entrance ramp or roadway, 3 meters wide. Possibly a primitive motte castle, without bailey, 6.5 meters high on north side and 2 meters on south. Wall and ditch described by Rogers are modern. A modern terrace has been made around the hill.
Formerly a rampart with deep ditch half-way down the hill on north and west sides, which had been reduced to a terraced walk on north side. Other details: Photo and Sketch.


Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 444 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Identified with Arx Cynuit, scene of a decisive Danish defeat in 878, but this now thought unlikely.


Donn, B., 1965, A Map of the County of Devon, 1765 (Reprint) (Monograph). SDV336413.


Grinsell, L. V., 1970, The Archaeology of Exmoor, 13, 202 (Monograph). SDV1641.


Grinsell, L. V., 1970, The Barrows of North Devon, 98 (Article in Serial). SDV7849.

An entirely natural outcrop or possibly a Rorman castle mound on a natural outcrop.


Department of Environment, 1973, Kenwith Castle (Schedule Document). SDV339264.

A natural knoll fortified on the upper slope by a single rampart, with simple entrance at west end. The rampart runs away to the east where Kenwith Farm has interfered with it at the easternmost point - possibly a former entrance. An extinct quarry has been cut into southwest face of the hill.


King, A. C., 1979, Bideford Bypass Survey, 15 (Report - Survey). SDV1506.


Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 177 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Possibly not a Medieval castle. A scarped hillock with fragmentary cross-ditch.


Illegible, 1984, Hennaborough or Kenwith Castle (Worksheet). SDV358907.


Devon Buildings Group, 1986, Unknown (Article in Serial). SDV16215.

Scrub cleared on south side by Bridge MSC Agency in 1986.


Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 146 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1992, Preliminary Archaeological Assessment, Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements, 3 (Report - Assessment). SDV18873.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1994, Archaeological Assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements Part 3: Cornborough STW, 6 (Report - Assessment). SDV18876.

Seems to have been subject to relatively modern interference.


Dean, R., 2007, Geophysical Survey of Part of the Grounds of Kenwith Castle Residential Home (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV344649.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 33070 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV345025.


Bray, L., 2010, Kenwith Castle (DV926): Monument Assessment and Draft Management Plan (Report - Assessment). SDV355286.

An earthwork survey was carried out to record the enclosure that encircles the summit of the hill. This identified three main phases of use. The first phase, associated with the enclosure of the hilltop is difficult to interpret, but it is suggested that it may have its origins in a llys, a high status settlement of the Post-Roman period, which is further enhanced by the site’s possible association with Arx Cynuit an Anglo Saxon victory over the Vikings in AD 878. The second phase saw the construction of a path which incorporated the earlier earthworks into its route up to the summit of the hill and was asosciated with the planting of ornamental trees. The final phase saw the insertion of a small quarry into the south-eastern side of the summit of the hill, which cut into and across the earlier earthworks.
Two sources of threat to the Kenwith Castle monument were identified: vegetation and burrowing animals. The objective of the management plan is to restore the monument to optimum condition through the removal of any sources of ongoing damage and the minimisation of the chances of future damage occurring. See report for full details.


Green, T., 2010, Kenwith Castle Residential Home, Abbotsham and Northam, Devon. Results of a Desk-Based Assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV344421.

A natural knoll that has been physically modified and known locally as Henni Castle or Hennaborough. There has been speculation since at least the early 19th century that the mound and its supposed earthworks represent the site of a Saxon encampment from which the men of Devon emerged to defeat the Danish at the battle of 'Arx Cynuit'. There are, however, strong arguments for other locations.


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

'Kenwith Castle' shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11975Monograph: Allcroft, A. H.. 1908. Earthwork of England. Earthwork of England. Unknown. 390.
SDV12738Article in Serial: Rogers, I.. 1948. The Invasion of North Devon by Hubba the Dane. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 80. A5 Hardback. 125.
SDV1506Report - Survey: King, A. C.. 1979. Bideford Bypass Survey. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. Unknown. 15.
SDV16214Un-published: Woollcombe, H.. 1839-1850. Woollcombe Manuscript. Manuscript.
SDV16215Article in Serial: Devon Buildings Group. 1986. Unknown. Devon Buildings Group Newsletter. Unknown. Unknown.
SDV1641Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. A5 Hardback. 13, 202.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 444.
SDV18873Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1992. Preliminary Archaeological Assessment, Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.32. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV18876Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1994. Archaeological Assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements Part 3: Cornborough STW. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 94.12. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6.
SDV20653Monograph: Risdon, T.. 1811. Choreographical Description of Devon, 1580-1640. Choreographical Description of Devon, 1580-1640. Unknown. 287.
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. 177.
SDV336413Monograph: Donn, B.. 1965. A Map of the County of Devon, 1765 (Reprint). A Map of the County of Devon, 1765 (Reprint). Hardback Volume.
SDV339259Article in Serial: Cresswell, W.. 1901. Ancient Dumnonia. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 47.2. Unknown. 186.
SDV339260Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1978. SS42NW5. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV339261Article in Serial: Vidal, R. S.. 1806. Archaeologia. 15. Unknown. 198-208.
SDV339264Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1973. Kenwith Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 146.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 614.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #92900 ]
SDV344421Report - Assessment: Green, T.. 2010. Kenwith Castle Residential Home, Abbotsham and Northam, Devon. Results of a Desk-Based Assessment. Southwest Archaeology Report. 100126. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344649Report - Geophysical Survey: Dean, R.. 2007. Geophysical Survey of Part of the Grounds of Kenwith Castle Residential Home. Southwest Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV345025National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 33070. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV355286Report - Assessment: Bray, L.. 2010. Kenwith Castle (DV926): Monument Assessment and Draft Management Plan. Southwest Archaeology Report. 100714. Digital.
SDV358907Worksheet: Illegible. 1984. Hennaborough or Kenwith Castle. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV7849Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. A5 Paperback. 98.

Associated Monuments

MDV474Related to: Godborough Castle (Monument)
MDV35694Related to: Kenwith Castle Residential Home (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4604 - Desk-Based Assessment of Kenwith Castle, Abbotsham
  • EDV6348 - Earthwork Survey at Kenwith Castle (Ref: NAKC10)

Date Last Edited:Aug 10 2015 12:54PM