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Longtown Village Defences

In the civil parish of Longtown.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Herefordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO322291
Latitude 51.95625° Longitude -2.98832°

Longtown Village Defences has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


SO 322291 Ewyas Lacy, Longtown, A shrunken settlement consisting of a large enclosure with a low boundary bank extending NW from its SE side. House sites are visible on the NE side of the road "as far as the inn" (Hickling 1972).
Ewias Lacy, Longtown. The village appears to be associated in every sense with Longtown Castle (SO 32 NW 1), perhaps accompanying the "new castle" of the 1186 Pipe Roll.
There were reckoned to be 100 burgages in 1310 (Beresford 1967).
In the field centred SO 32312895 there are about 8 crofts and at least 4 house platforms flanking the remains of a hollow way, the predecessor to the modern road. To the N and E of the Court House, centred at SO 32242910, traces of two more crofts are visible (F1 DRB 13-AUG-76).
The remains of numerous conjoined crofts described by the previous authorities were seen centred at SO 3232 2890 with further more fragmented enclosures stretching to the south-east from the Medieval Motte and Bailey (SO32NW 1) to SO 3262 2852, forming a strip 430m x 90m. The enclosures are all rectilinear and defined by a single bank. Towards of the south-eastern end, beyond the croft boundaries are three fields of ridge and furrow centred at SO 3267 2866 which are presumed to be associated with the settlement. To the north-east of the motte and bailey centred at SO 3119 2998 are the fragmented traces of further banked rectilinear enclosures which may be the remains of more crofts associated with the medieval settlement. The remains were seen as earthworks and mapped from aerial photographs (Oblique aerial photograph reference number CUCAP AMQ 57-70).
The earthworks of the medieval borough of Ewias Lacy can be seen in many parts of the present village and its surrounding fields. Adjoining the south of the castle's outer court is a sub-rectangular enclosure defined by banks and scarps. This encloses the core of the medieval town - including the church and the market place - and is generally regarded as the defensive enclosure around the medieval borough. A linear bank running from the north-eastern corner of the castle's eastern bailey is the only surviving fragment of what were once more extensive earthworks in this area of Longtown. Although the earthworks have been destroyed by development during recent decades, archaeological excavations have revealed clear evidence for medieval settlement to the north of the castle.
The best earthwork remains of the medieval borough lie south of, and outside, the suggested borough defences. Adjacent to the Outdoor Education Centre, at SO 32312895, scarps and low banks define seven narrow conjoined crofts, each of similar size and plan, leading back from the edge of a hollow-way which skirts the present road. A terminal bank just inside a modern hedge line delimits their eastern extent. At least four of the strips have building platforms next to the hollow-way, while a recent rectangular enclosure is situated within one. At SO 32602855, in the field opposite the Crown Inn, there is a further series of earthworks. They consist of low banks and scarps forming enclosures between the road and a substantial back scarp which lies at the junction between level ground on the ridge and ground sloping down to the River Monnow. Numerous small building platforms are dotted irregularly amongst the enclosures. Narrow ridge and furrow covers large areas of the field and cuts across some of the earthworks described (English Heritage Field Investigation, N Smith, March 2003) . (PastScape)

Earthworks considered to be part of a rampart have been observed to the W and E of the market place (SMR 19464, 19466). There was possibly some sort of protected entrance gate on the main road leading into the defended area. A report of the discovery of a stone gateway in c. 1960 to the S. of the defences is recorded (SMR 21943). This is supposedly to the S. of the defences, however, It is possible that either its interpretation as a gateway is incorrect or its position misremembered. The defences may be burh built beyond the Golden Valley by Earl Harold Godwinson in 1055-6.
Dependence of Longtown Castle.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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