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Taynton Castle Wood

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Huntley Castle

In the civil parish of Taynton.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO71522113
Latitude 51.88800° Longitude -2.41520°

Taynton Castle Wood has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A roughly circular earthwork (?ring-motte) formed by an earthen bank of average height 1.7 m, with a possible entrance on the east side (F1 RWE 15-MAY-67).
The castle in Glasshouse Woods is similar to Littledean Camp (11/12th cent, SO 61 SE 1), of a type which consist of more or less circular ramparted areas with slight banks, no clear entrances, and definite raised portions on the ramparts (Scott-Garrett 1958).
Scheduled under 'Castles and Fortifications' as 'Motte on Castle Hill Wood, Hartley' (Scheduled Monument Notification 1977).
Taynton Castle earthwork, at SO 715211, was surveyed by GADARG members. The earthwork was a roughly circular enclosure circa 30m in diameter, with a flattened north-west side. The enclosure is surrounded by a bank with an external ditch and a mound is built into the north-eastern wall. A possible entrance, which may not be contemporary, is situated south-east of the mound (Dodd 1980).
The earthwork remains of Taynton Castle are partially visible on aerial photographs. The site is centred at SO 7152 2113 and comprises an earthwork bank which measures 8m wide and extends in a rough semi-circle, partially enclosing an area to the east, which measures circa 25m in diameter. The easternside of the site is obscured by trees on the available aerial photographs (APs). (PastScape)

It has long been known that an earthwork of indeterminate date existed in Castle Hill Wood, Taynton. The site was recorded by Barbara Rawes as a castle mound (Glevensis 11, 1977), when she remarked on its similarity to Little Dean Camp. It is also mentioned in Trans. B.G.A.S. Vol. LXXVII p.59. Todate, there has been no documentation.
A superficial survey recently carried out by Group members showed that the earthwork was a roughly circular enclosure about 30 m in diameter with a slightly flattened north-west side. The enclosure is surrounded by a bank and external ditch. A mound, which encroaches into the central area, being built into the north-east wall. What purports to be an entrance immediately south-east of the mound is not thought to be contemporary with the vallum. The whole earthwork is covered with trees and is badly degraded, especially on the south-west side.
The mound, which is still about 2.5 m high, is composed of a sticky, yellow clay and slopes sharply down to the ditch on the north-east. The bank surrounding the enclosure has a stony-clay make-up which shows some evidence of burning. The central floor of the enclosure, which slopes gently downhill towards the south-west, contains small packed stones.
It seems similar to both Little Dean camp (SO 676135) and Howle Hill camp (SO 612202) and what has been seen, so far, points to it being a Norman 'Ringwork and Watchtower' fortification rather than a conventional 'Motte and Bailey'. If so, it is likely to date from the late 11th century or early 12th century rather than from the anarchical period of Stephen which saw the setting up of so many adulterine M & B castles. (Dodd)

Site isolated from settlement. The dating of this site seems to be from analogue only. Littledean Camp has been positively dated by excavation to the late C11; Great Howle Camp has not been positively dated but is also suggested as a medieval ringwork, rather than a prehistoric enclosure, despite being isolated within the medieval settlement pattern. Badly degraded despite being in woodland and, therefore, not subject to intense modern ploughing (although woodland management can also be erosive). Marked as 'earthwork' on modern OS map rather than 'ringwork' (was marked as 'Castle' (site of) on 1883 map); does this suggests some doubt in the mind of OS archaeologists?
The strategic value of the location of this site is minimal. The main medieval route into Gloucester from the west must have been the route that is now the A40, which is not visible from this site. The suggestion this was a 'watchtower' appears weak. If of medieval date then this seems to be a modest defensive structure perhaps of a domestic building in an isolated location.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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