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Suffolk HER Number (Pref. Ref.):ORF 054
Unique number (MonUID):MSF21450
Type of Record:Monument
NGR:TM 4193 4986


C12-C13 curtain wall foundations located c.7m north of the keep. Scheduled

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CURTAIN WALL (13th century to 16th century - 1200 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POTTERY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Ancient Monument


English Heritage commissioned a series of investigations at Orford Castle in late 2002/early 2003. These included two trial trench excavations undertaken by SCCAS Field Team. These were carried out in conjunction with a geophysical survey (undertaken by Essex County Council) and a topographical survey (carried out by EH in-house).
December 2002: Trench 1 was excavated to the north of the keep with a view to locating and characterising the curtain wall. Remains of the robbed-out wall's foundation were located some 7m north of the keep. The wall was c.3.4m wide and its construction was found to be of probable C13 date. Beyond lthis, with its centre some 20m from the keep, a large (c.10m wide) ditch was found to have at least C13/C14 origins, although excavation was difficult. The large outer bank (centred some 35m from the keep) was found to have been largely the result of modern landscaping activity.
February 2003: Trench 2 was located in the area of the causeway, some 40m to the south-south-west of the keep, in an area where masonry remains are visible above ground today. This trench identified two well-preserved buried walls, which woould have formed an unusual 4m wide entrance passageway extending beyond the curtain wall. No evidence of a causeway surface was encountered at depths of up to 1.7m below the existing ground level and it is assumed that any surviving causeway surface was beyond the depth of excavation.
The trial trench investigations, along with a previous programme of monitoring undertaken by SCCAS, suggest that the curtain wall was relatively close to the keep, and that the bailey would have been correspondingly small.
It is notable that this limited programme of interventions appear to confirm the accuracy of John Norden's plan, produced during a survey of the Manor of Sudbourne undertaken in 1600-02 (S1).
See also Rom and PMed.


[M1]Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. (S1). (SSF50072)
[S1]Unpublished document: Gardner, R. 2003. Archaeological Evaluation Report, Orford Castle Trial Excavation Orford Castle Trial Excavation., Orford. (SSF51241)

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