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HER Number:MDV8429
Name:Tracy Castle


Site of Tracy Castle which was possibly a medieval moated site


Grid Reference:SX 733 986
Map Sheet:SX79NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBow
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBOW

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Tracy Castle. Medieval moated site south east Little Hilldown Plantation

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX79NW/10

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • EARTHWORK (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD? (Between) to 1750 AD? (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, Personal communication to R A Higham (Personal Comment). SDV38160.

The original OS record of this site was destroyed in the Blitz in 1940.

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

'Tracy Castle (Site of)' shown on 19th century map in the northeast corner of a field to the southwest of 'Little Hilldown Plantation'.

Pearse Chope, R., 1929, 28th report on Devonshire folklore (Article in Serial). SDV38166.

Carbonell, B. M. H., 1931, The Nymet area, 299 (Article in Serial). SDV44635.

Tracy Castle a prehistoric earthwork was possible sited around NGR SS72--00--.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 341 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Tracey Castle alleged site. "At Hilldown the Traceys are said to have had a castle, (more probably a fortified manor house) of which some walls remained within living memory".

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1962, SX79NW3 (Site Visit). SDV38159.

The site is at the end of a 2.5m high promontory of clay, bounded on the north and east sides by very small streams. The area has been cut across by several trenches and excavations undertaken a few years ago (according to the owner of Blue Violet Farm) by a school from Exeter. It appears that nothing whatsoever was found, and current examination showed no trace of masonry. It seems most unlikely that any structure such as a fortified manor house ever occupied this site.

Blaen, A., 1983, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV38168.

Griffith, F. M. + Higham, R. A., 1987, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV38161.

Large enigmatic structure, clearly with artifical elements.

Higham, R. A., 1987, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV38162.

Conceivably an island in an artificial lake? it is proposed that Exeter University will clean up one of the old trenches and survey the site in 1988. Other details: Visited Nov 1987.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/KC, 6,6a (Aerial Photograph). SDV218010.

Site of 'Tracey Castle' recorded in 1988.

Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 147 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Higham, R. A. et al, 1988, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV38169.

Other details: Survey drawing.

Griffith, F. M., 1989, DAP/LG, 13-15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV56290.

Higham, R. A. + Rouillard, M., 1989, The site of 'Tracy Castle', Bow, 122-6 (Article in Serial). SDV38163.

Probably a medieval moated site. Two trenches cut in the top of the earthwork were emptied of backfill in 1988. Neither revealed stratification in section, but both produced roof slate, some with peg holes, of medieval, or post-medieval form. 50m N lie the remains of an east to west running dam which, when operative, would have flooded the area in front of and to the sides of the earthwork. A field boundary containing trees of considerable age runs along and post-dates the dam bank. Other details: Plan & photo.

Higham, R. A., 1989, Tracey Castle (Plan - sketch). SDV340361.

Plans of Tracey Castle and location of excavation trenches. Photographs of Tracey Castle and illustration of roofing slates found.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/SD, 3-4 (Aerial Photograph). SDV38172.

Mus=exe 330-395/1910.

Carbonell, B. M. H. + Wauton, M., 2002, Thirteen Centuries in Bow alias Nymet Tracey with Broadnymet, 5 (Pamphlet). SDV321149.

Site of Tracey Castle is marked on the OS map as on the farm of Hildown but no trace is left of any building.

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

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 341.
SDV218010Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/KC. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 6,6a.
SDV321149Pamphlet: Carbonell, B. M. H. + Wauton, M.. 2002. Thirteen Centuries in Bow alias Nymet Tracey with Broadnymet. Thirteen Centuries in Bow alias Nymet Tracey with Broadnymet. Leaflet. 5.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV340361Plan - sketch: Higham, R. A.. 1989. Tracey Castle. Plan.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 147.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108460 ]
SDV38159Site Visit: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962. SX79NW3. SX79NW.
SDV38160Personal Comment: Ordnance Survey. Personal communication to R A Higham.
SDV38161Site Visit: Griffith, F. M. + Higham, R. A.. 1987.
SDV38162Personal Comment: Higham, R. A.. 1987.
SDV38163Article in Serial: Higham, R. A. + Rouillard, M.. 1989. The site of 'Tracy Castle', Bow. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 47. Paperback Volume. 122-6.
SDV38166Article in Serial: Pearse Chope, R.. 1929. 28th report on Devonshire folklore. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 59.
SDV38168Monograph: Blaen, A.. 1983. Devon's Sacred Grove.
SDV38169Report - Survey: Higham, R. A. et al. 1988.
SDV38172Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/SD. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3-4.
SDV44635Article in Serial: Carbonell, B. M. H.. 1931. The Nymet area. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 63. A5 Hardback. 299.
SDV56290Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1989. DAP/LG. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 13-15.

Associated Monuments

MDV79130Related to: Dam North of Tracey Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1122 - DAP/SD

Date Last Edited:May 16 2022 2:21PM