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Eaton Socon Castle Hills

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Hillings

In the civil parish of St Neots.
In the historic county of Bedfordshire.
Modern Authority of Cambridgeshire.
1974 county of Cambridgeshire.
Medieval County of Bedfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL17335890
Latitude 52.21578° Longitude -0.28379°

Eaton Socon Castle Hills has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Ringwork and bailey with partly overlying Saxon cemetery and settlement identified from excavations. A large horse-shoe ditch enclosing on the river side two sub-rectangular wards. Excavated 1949/50. In the northern ward were found at least 40 Saxon burials (associated with St Neots pottery) and there had probably been there a settlement and a Church (stone and mortar debris was found overlying the burials) defended by the horseshoe ditch which appears earlier than the other earthworks. (PastScape)

Well defined earthwork under grass. There are many rabbits. The earthwork is situated between the church and the River Ouse and consists of three baileys with the inner bailey on the S side containing a small motte. The whole complex is surrounded by a fosse; the two inner baileys are surrounded by and separated by a second fosse or moat which is not continuous. The ditches and banks are massive on the N or earthwork side and lower on the river side. The whole of the scheduled area lies in the grounds of Castle Hills House and has been recently landscaped, and is for the greater part under much grass with the exception of the bailey banks, which are under rough grass with some mature trees, mostly hawthorn. There has been extensive recent replanting both on the outer moat bank and also on the inner banks. Most of the trees appear to be of smaller ornamental varieties including laurel, cherry etc., however there are also a considerable number of beech, poplar etc. The outer moat runs from the middle of the N side to three quarters of the way round the S side . It is flat bottomed and approximately 3 - 4m wide through most of its length. The ground has been dug for vegetables on the NE corner of the site and the bank slightly cut into by the patio and house extension W of this. A rose bed has been planted on the bank where the moat runs out. The N most bailey is rectangular and measures approximately 55m x 20m the banks to the NW are approximately 3m high on the interior face. There is evidence of animal disturbance possibly fox on the exterior of the N bank. The S bailey appears almost circular measuring 30m across with the interior banks to the NW approximately 2m in height. Evidence of extensive mole activity on the motte. Two flower beds to the S of the motte, that to the SE planted with roses, to the SW planted with trees. Building material noted in the soil. The inner moat is wet, to the S and W crossed by a berm and dry to N and between the inner bailey. Banks are maximum 12m approximately to ditch bottom. (Camb SMR ?English Heritage Scheduling Report)

Harvey list Eaton Socon twice once in Bedfordshire and once in Cambridgeshire.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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