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Ellisfield Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Ellisfield Camp

In the civil parish of Ellisfield.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Hampshire.
1974 county of Hampshire.
Medieval County of Hampshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU62964535
Latitude 51.20390° Longitude -1.10017°

Ellisfield Castle has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


An oblong earthwork of about four acres. Its corners are rounded, the N. & E. sides are fairly straight but the others, pinched in the centre, give the corners, especially the S.E., a sort of bastion shape. It consists of a single bank and outer ditch, C.D. vert. 9-10'; the bank rises 4 or 5' above the area and is higher at the corners. The entrances are in the middle of the south side and in the western half of the north side; breaks in the northern end of each side, with a footpath going through, look quite recent.
The date and purpose of this earthwork is unknown. The O.S. marks "Site of Castle" in the N.E. corner on traditional authority. At that point, for 30 yds. along the N. end of the E. side, there are numerous large flints along the top of the vallum; they are firmly embedded (though without mortar) and seem too large and too uniform in size to be merely the result of field clearance. If it is a motte and bailey, on the same plan as Pinsley why is there no trace whatever of an entrenchment around the 'site of Castle' in the corner. Other local traditions suggest that it was occupied by the Romans, built by Ella, and built by the Danes in 870, after their defeat at Reading.
It is situated on a flat clay plateau about the general level (600-700') of the high ground of the district. The ground begins to slope gently down to the valley about 50 yds E. of the camp. In its natural state the district would be covered with thick woodland. The rampart is overgrown and the area enclosed is now under the plough (Williams-Freeman).
The description of this earthwork by Williams-Freeman is correct except that the causeway through the northern side does not seem to be original. It is in good condition; the ramparts are overgrown and the interior is under pasture.
The earthwork is obviously a defensive one, the profile being very like that of an I.A.'A' hill-fort. Its plan, however, makes it extremely unlikely that it is either IA. or a Ro. military earthwork. The bastion-like appearance of the corners, more obvious on the plan than on the ground, might suggest a Civil War earthwork. The field names Whitbury, Great and Little Whitbury as applied to nearby fields by O.G.S. Crawford on Basingstoke Museum 6" map suggest that the earthwork existed in Saxon times. The only authority given for the field names on this map is an 18th cent. map of Cliddesden which was not traced (F1 VJB 22-JAN-57). (PastScape)

Enigmatic earthwork. Isolated from settlement. At 8km from Basing House might be a back support camp for the Civil War besieging forces. Requires more investigation but most unlikely as a medieval castle.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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