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:MDV80194
Name:Remains of a Medieval Fortified House, Fishpond and Later Garden Features


The buried and earthwork remains of a medieval fortified house, an associated fishpond and later garden features, at Compton Castle.


Grid Reference:SX 865 649
Map Sheet:SX86SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMarldon
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishMARLDON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Trust SMR: 101156
  • National Trust SMR: 101158
  • National Trust SMR: 101166
  • Old SAM Ref: 34879

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • EARTHWORK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

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

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

Berry, N., 2009, Land at Compton Castle, Devon, 17-18, 20, 54, 57-8 (Report - Survey). SDV347354.

The immediate surroundings of the castle and the ground beneath it are a Scheduled Monument. Scheduled features include the earthworks and dam of a fishpond (possibly medieval) plus a circular mound with a central hollow, at the western corner of the dam. The mound is known to have had a large oak tree growing on it in the recent past, but the mound may have pre-dated the tree and was an artificial mound built to view the pond after it became an ornamental feature. The pond is cut on the southern side by a track connecting to the rear of the barn and Compton Lane, but it would have formerly extended into the lawned area of the car park next to the current driveway. There are faint earthworks towards the north-east corner of this area indicative of another pond. A rectangular pond is shown in this position on the Tithe Map, and in more detail on the 1887 map. It may have been developed from an earlier fishpond into a cart pond. The driveway was originally lined by high stone walls, and the Ha Ha forming the south-east boundary of the grassy entrance area is of twentieth century date, presumably necessary to prevent movement of livestock once these walls were removed. Other details: Site Inventory map (1) 038, 048, 050, 077.

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

Map object based on this Source.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

This monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a medieval fortified house, an associated fishpond and later garden features, at Compton Castle. The house faces north across a shallow valley. Its double courtyard plan contains the hall, chapel, private chambers and service ranges of a 14th century manor house, heavily rebuilt in the later 15th to early 16th century by the Gilbert family. The present house, which is Listed Grade I, contains substantial parts of the latter period of construction, which was contained within a high enclosing wall with a watch tower at its south east corner. The front wall of the outer courtyard was heavily defended with a central gatehouse with portcullis, capped with machicolated battlements. To the rear of the house, parts of the service ranges surrounding the inner courtyard have been removed, their foundations underlying later lawns and paths. In the later 16th to early 17th century, a third courtyard was laid out to the north, fronting the house, with a large threshing barn on its west side. Between this courtyard and the road, which lies to the north, slight earthworks remain of terraced formal gardens, divided from the orchard to the east by a stone rubble faced ha ha, while earthworks of a fishpond in the valley floor to the west measure 40 metres from north to south and at least 20 metres from east to west and up to 1.5 metres deep, with a dam at the west end 10 metres wide and up to 1.2 metres high. A stream runs along the north side of the pond beside the road. At the south west corner of the fishpond, a tree hole 8 metres in diameter and 1 metre deep has a circular mound 4 metres in diameter at its centre. The standing buildings of the fortified house, its curtain walls and other boundary walls, paths, courtyard surfaces and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. Despite the demolition of parts of its service buildings, the buried and earthwork remains of the medieval fortified house at Compton Castle survive well complementing the standing fabric of the house, and providing a context for it. The inner and outer courts will contain buried remains which relate to the construction and use of the house, while the earthworks of the associated formal garden and fishpond are likely to contain stratified environmental remains relating to the post-medieval usage of the site and its surrounding landscape. Map object based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV347354Report - Survey: Berry, N.. 2009. Land at Compton Castle, Devon. National Trust Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 17-18, 20, 54, 57-8.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. gazetteer.

Associated Monuments

MDV8877Related to: Compton Castle, Marldon (Building)
MDV80216Related to: Earthworks in Former Orchard, Castle Barton (Monument)
MDV80205Related to: Gatehouse, Compton Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Sep 5 2017 9:31AM