The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Desborough Castle, High Wycombe

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Disborough; West Wycombe; The Roundabout; Wicumbe

In the civil parish of High Wycombe.
In the historic county of Buckinghamshire.
Modern Authority of Buckinghamshire.
1974 county of Buckinghamshire.
Medieval County of Buckinghamshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU84719332
Latitude 51.63231° Longitude -0.77741°

Desborough Castle, High Wycombe has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Siege Work.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Norman ringwork, partly overlying a mound, possibly a barrow reused as a Saxon moot. Both lie within an enclosure, possibly a slight univallate hillfort of the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. The defences of the ringwork enclose an area of roughly 0.5 hectares and consist of a single rampart and ditch with a break in the middle of the south east side. Finds indicate the existence of a substantial building within the enclosure during the medieval period. West of the ringwork lie the remains of a probably once circular mound, cut through by the ringwork ditch and thought to represent the remains of a bowl barrow. (PastScape)

The rampart, of the IA fort, on the south is 16ft high and 63ft wide and the ditch is 12ft deep and 57ft wide. Desborough Castle for all its strength exhibits the classic characteristics of an Iron Age settlement. It is set into a slope, its entrance is at the change of slope and the rampart of 'hood' fades away on the downhill side until it is non-existent. So skilfully is this done that from the outside the inner slope of the ditch presents a remarkably uniform face. The earthwork thus created is a large platform protected on its upper side by a strong rampart and open on its downhill side where it overlooks and dominates to Wye Valley. (PastScape)

Suggested as siege castle of Anarchy date but if overlying Saxon site than possibly C11. Probably the castle of West Wycombe mention c. 1210 in the Winchester Pipe Roll. The excavation in the 1980's suggested abandonment in the early C12.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact