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Bledisloe Tump, Awre

In the civil parish of Awre.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO68340818
Latitude 51.77139° Longitude -2.46022°

Bledisloe Tump, Awre has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are no visible remains.

Description

Bledisloe Tump, long thought to be a tumulus, was proved to be a mound of 12th. century date by excavation in 1964 for the MPB & W by Miss A.Dornier. In the 11th-12th.cent. a timber structure, possibly a watch tower was erected on the spur. This could have been a defensive point in the 12th.century disputes over the extent of the Forest of Dean, similar to those at Lydney (SO 60 SW 2) and Littledean (SO 61 SE 1). The structure was removed soon after its construction and a ditch was cut across the spur (except for a narrow causeway) the excavated material being used to make a mound 60ft. in diameter and 7ft. in height. The purpose of the mound could not be determined but it might have been the meeting place of Bledisloe Hundred, or the unfinished motte of a castle, although no documentary evidence remains of one. In the 14th. century a domestic building of Bledisloe Manor was built on the mound, which was used as a smithy until the 17th. century. The mound has now been removed (Dornier).
The mound has been bulldozed and almost flattened and the resultant amorphous mass is unintelligible within the context of the original feature (F1 ANK 05-OCT-71). (PastScape)

Possibly associated with the site of the manor was a mound which occupied a low ridge to the south of the farmhouse. Excavation in 1964, shortly before the mound was levelled, found evidence of an early timber structure, which the mound replaced in the 12th century, possibly as the motte of a small castle which was left uncompleted; a domestic or farm building was built on the mound later in the Middle Ages. (Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxv. 57-69, where the historical background detail is confused and inaccurate.). (VCH)

The interpretation of the finds of the 1964 excavation is flawed by the confused and inaccurate history, part repeated in the PastScape record. The site has some mild defensive quality but the mound and the possible tower that may have proceeded it may well have functioned more as symbolic markers of the knightly status of the tenant, although the manor seems to have been held for only 1/4 of a knight's fee. This is an area of dispersed settlement although there are a few house near the farmhouse, something that may reflect the medieval situation suggesting a manor producing a small income. The actual medieval manor house probably lay under the modern farmhouse and the 'bailey' (which does not seem to have been ditched) is probably still marked out by the farmhouse garden.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated on Saturday, March 29, 2014

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