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Woodcott Danesgrove Enclosure

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Woodcote Ringwork

In the civil parish of Litchfield and Woodcott.
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: SU44145450
Latitude 51.28793° Longitude -1.36841°

Woodcott Danesgrove Enclosure has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


In Danesgrove Copse is a small, roughly circular, entrenchment, 30 yds across from ditch to ditch. The rampart and ditch are complete, the bank being 5' above the bottom of the ditch. There are a good many flints in the ditch but they are probably from the fields as there is no trace of a wall. There are no entrances but a faint path runs across from N-S. No trace of an attached bailey is discernible.
It is doubtful whether this should be classed as small 'fort' like that on St. Catherine's Hill, Christchurch SZ 19 NW 32 and Ashurst Lodge SU 30 NW 1 or as an early Norman entrenchment without a bailey. The recent finding of what appears to have been an iron pike inclines on to the latter view (Williams-Freeman; Shore).
This earthwork, in woodland, comprises a substantial bank, averaging 9.5m wide and 1.0m high with a ditch. 4.0m wide and 0.5m deep enclosing an area c 12.0m in diameter. The earthwork is on a NE slope.
It is almost certainly a ring-motte. No trace of a bailey or of an equivalent enclosure was seen or of any internal structures. The bank and ditch are unbroken by entrances and are well preserved though a small coppice bank skirts the N.W. part of the ditch (F1 WCW 12-NOV-55).
This work is sub-rectangular rather than "roughly circular". The S.E. and N.E. sides are fairly straight and set at a near right angle. The other two sides are curved but they are struck on different centres and the NW. corner is well defined. The ditch on the S.E. side is cut into the lower part of a steep lynchet which strengthens the ditch but also allows the work to be completely dominated from that quarter. The slope, small size and barely defensible position all militate against a ring-motte identification. The sub-soil here is chalk and if the work is indeed Norman or MD. it probably represents a dry equivalent of the domestic moated enclosures of the stronger soils (F2 CFW 04-MAR-67). (PastScape)

D.J.C. King called this a 'possible' castle. He tends to use this term for sites about which he had serious doubts.
Woodcott appears to by a dispersed medieval settlement so this may represent the medieval manor despite being 950m from the parish church, it is certainly near to the later grand house of the parish. However that manor was sub-tenanted by a man called Faderlin in 1086 and by other fairly lowly men thereafter. These certainly seem unlikely people to be building even small castles but would have needed domestic security and the suggestion of this as domestic site is entirely reasonable. The site does not have a motte, the usual Norman symbol of knightly status. Had the pre-Conquest manor been held by a Dane?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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