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Newton Tump, Clifford

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO29304406
Latitude 52.09036° Longitude -3.03331°

Newton Tump, Clifford has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Newton Tump. Motte and bailey. The motte rises about 16ft above the level of the bailey which has an entrance in the south. A complex of ditches south of the bailey probably fed water to the bailey moat (RCHME). A motte and bailey situated on a gentle N facing pasture slope at the entrace to the Dore Valley and overlooking the Welsh border where it crosses the Wye valley. The motte is 28.0m to 32.0m in diameter and stands 5.0m above the encircling ditch. The ditch is up to 10.0m in width and increases in depth with the slope of the ground from 1.0m on the N to 2.0m on the S. It was formerly waterfilled via a channel from the Bach Brook, 25.0m to the N of the site. There are traces of an outer retaining bank on the E side. The motte stands within the N corner of a D-shaped bailey which is 80.0m across, and is enclosed by a ditch up to 9.0m in width and 1.3m in depth. There are remains of an inner rampart on the S and E sides and a causewayed entrance crosses the S side. The ditch was formerly waterfilled by means of diverting water from a now nearly dry spring, 40.0m uphill to the S of the site. The water was led by a contour-following channel into three side channels, one each leading into the W and E arms of the bailey ditch, to flow downhill into the N arm and so to the brook, the third now a drainage ditch to cut off the site on the W. A stream from a second spring encloses the site on the E. There are traces of a bank subdividing the bailey into two wards. Earthworks in fair to good condition (Field Investigators Comments F1 ASP 05-JUL-72). The earthwork remains of the motte and bailey of Newton Tump described by the above authorities were mapped from aerial photographs. The bailey is 'D' shaped, measures approximately 80m x 80m and is centred at SO 2930 4406. The motte lies to the north-west side within the bailey centred at SO 2929 4408. The motte measures 35m in diameter and has a ditch surrounding the base of the mound (Vertical aerial photograph reference number RAF 106G/UK/1652/4405-6 11-JUL-1946). (PastScape)

Good results were obtained from a Geophysical survey carried out by Neil Phillips as part of PhD research in 2002. There was a structure in the bailey, and it probably had a stone surrounding wall with an entrance and gatehouse on the east. There was a possible tower in the SE corner of the bailey but no evidence for one on the NE. Other buildings were present and a possible bridge, and the site of a possible church as was present at the castle site at Lingen. (Herefordshire SMR)

Traces of masonry noted c. 1900, but these have since been 'tidied up'.
Phillips has some difficulty dating the site, he considers the high motte suggest an early castle but the linear form of the raised bailey suggest a later castle 'designed as a centre of administration and control rather than conquest'. It may be the site had longer term use than most timber castles. Gatehouse feels that Philips's conceptions of 'conquest' castles are leading his interpretation here. Does the placename 'Newton' suggest a late Saxon thegnal site and planned nucleated village centre adapted as a Norman castle (mainly in the sense of administrative centre) at a relatively early date after the Conquest?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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