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Ongar Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Angra; Angre

In the civil parish of Ongar.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL55440309
Latitude 51.70511° Longitude 0.24819°

Ongar Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Norman motte and bailey castle with sub-rectangular village enclosure. It was probably built by Richard de Lucy in C12, (mention is made of the castle in 1157), but the keep was demolished in C16 and replaced by a brick building which in turn was demolished in C18. The plan consists of a flat-topped mount with encircling moat, an inner bailey, a weaker enclosure to the north and east, and the town-enclosure to the west. Fragments of rubble remain on the motte and flanking an axial gap in the bailey bank, some Roman brick being contained in it. (PastScape – Ref. RCHME, 1291; Renn, 1973)

Motte and Bailey with town enclosure. Consists of a motte, c70m in diameter at the base. Surrounded by a wet ditch c12-15m wide and deep. Kidney-shaped, inner bailey to the west and second bailey to the east (see 4104). Town enclosure to the west of the castle. The castle was mentioned in 1157. According to the RCHM the castle is said to have been built by Richard de Lacy in the 12th century but the keep was pulled down in the 16th century and replaced by a brick building, itself destroyed in the 18th century. The motte and bailey are both moated. Entrance from the town enclosure is in the centre of the west side, through a gap in the rampart, on each side of which is a fragment of flint-rubble containing Roman bricks. The masonry does not appear to have extended along the rampart. At the Conquest Chipping Ongar became the head of the Boulogne estates and was a deliberate plantation attached to the castle. There is no exact date for the establishment of either castle or town though the castle is assumed to be late 11th or early 12th century. The castle and town defences were surveyed in 1981, including profiles of the defences, contours of the entrance and elevation of the south wall of the entrance. Large tree-covered motte surrounded by a wide, water-filled moat; bailey to the west intact. High bank runs from the north-west of the bailey around a car park to Ongar High Street; this is part of the town enclosure - the rest has been totally obliterated by the town of Ongar. (Unlocking Essex's Past)

Grade 2 listed house of C16 date on site. In East England, were soil is often deep and relatively easy to dig and where there was a large medieval population castle earthwork can, as at Ongar, be impressively large.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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