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HHER Number:28
Type of record:Building


Norman motte & bailey of unusual design

Grid Reference:TL 490 214
Map Sheet:TL42SE
Parish:Bishop's Stortford, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Types

  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1500 AD)

Associated Events

  • Geophysical survey at Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford, 2017 (Ref: N)

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford
  • Listed Building (I) 160900: REMAINS OF WAYTEMORE CASTLE
  • Area of Archaeological Significance 99
  • Sensitivity Map: B Sortford Med Town & Castle

Full description

11th century motte and bailey castle with a motte of unusual subrectangular plan, retaining the masonry remains of a shell keep. The bailey to the south has been much remodelled, as in the 19th century the castle was part of the grounds of a private house owned by the Taylor family, and became a public park in 1907 <2>. Built by William I, the castle was an early stronghold of the Bishops of London <1>.

Some investigation was carried out on top of the motte in 1899: Mr Marshall Taylor 'has, during the last few weeks, had some of the old foundations on the top of the mound uncovered… The excavation was not completed, but as far as it has gone, it has revealed the truth of the record that the castle was destroyed at a certain time (by King John) and afterwards rebuilt; for the inner walls now exposed appeared not to be bonded into the outer wall, but to form parts of an earlier and distinct building. This rather suggested, that when the castle was rebuilt, the rebuilding was that of the outer wall or shell keep. The thickness of this wall was found to be about twelve feet, and the foundation of it about fifteen feet below the present surface of the summit' <2>. The excavation was not backfilled.

From the early 13th century the castle had a prison [13250], the assumed foundations of which were discovered in 1850 <2>. Burials [4227, 9812] which probably relate to the prison have been found in the bailey. Roman coins [1339], have also been found in the grounds. The castle masonry is said to incorporate Roman tegulae, some with flanges <3>. Only the motte is Scheduled <4>.
The moat was cleaned out in 2004, part of works to improve water flow since the diversion of the river around the north and east sides of the castle in 1968 <7>.

Geophysical survey in 2017, within the keep walls on top of the motte, around the motte and in Sworder's Field between the river and the railway line, recorded some anomalies that may represent internal walls within the keep, including a stairwell <8>. Anomalies in the bailey probably relate to the 19th century private gardens, and later features.

<1> RCHM (England), 1911, Inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire, - p63 (Bibliographic reference). SHT9222.

<1> Page, W (ed.), 1914, VCH Hertfordshire vol.4, - p150 (Bibliographic reference). SHT3026.

<2> Glasscock, J L, 1899, Stortford Castle; Trans East Herts Archaeol Soc 1/1, 45-55 (Article in serial). SHT16884.

<2> T B S, 1938, Bishop's Stortford: discovery of human remains; Trans East Herts Archaeol Soc 10 (1937-9), 226-7 (Article in serial). SHT10581.

<3> OS maps annotated by Major Brinson, March 195? (Cartographic material). SHT8216.

<4> Scheduled Monument description (Scheduling record). SHT9990.

<5> CUCAP, Motte & bailey, Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford, PNO 3565 (Aerial Photograph). SHT14853.

<6> Renn, Derek, 1971, Medieval castles in Hertfordshire, - p23 (Bibliographic reference). SHT9405.

<7> Pepper, A T, 2004, River Stort at Bishops Stortford - Castle moat, RNO 2218 (Unpublished document). SHT6855.

<8> Masters, Peter, 2017, Geophysical survey of Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, RNO 3989 (Report). SHT18270.

Sources and further reading

<1>Bibliographic reference: Page, W (ed.). 1914. VCH Hertfordshire vol.4. - p150.
<1>Bibliographic reference: RCHM (England). 1911. Inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire. - p63.
<2>Article in serial: T B S. 1938. Bishop's Stortford: discovery of human remains; Trans East Herts Archaeol Soc 10 (1937-9), 226-7.
<2>Article in serial: Glasscock, J L. 1899. Stortford Castle; Trans East Herts Archaeol Soc 1/1, 45-55.
<3>Cartographic material: OS maps annotated by Major Brinson, March 195?.
<4>Scheduling record: Scheduled Monument description.
<5>Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. Motte & bailey, Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford. PNO 3565.
<6>Bibliographic reference: Renn, Derek. 1971. Medieval castles in Hertfordshire. - p23.
<7>Unpublished document: Pepper, A T. 2004. River Stort at Bishops Stortford - Castle moat. RNO 2218.
<8>Report: Masters, Peter. 2017. Geophysical survey of Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. geophysical survey. RNO 3989.

Related records

11Related to: TOWN OF BISHOP'S STORTFORD (Place)