The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Periwinkle Hill, Barkway

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Periwinkle Hall; Reed

In the civil parish of Barkway.
In the historic county of Hertfordshire.
Modern Authority of Hertfordshire.
1974 county of Hertfordshire.
Medieval County of Hertfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL373360
Latitude 52.00563° Longitude 0.00053°

Periwinkle Hill, Barkway has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


At Periwinkle Hill, opposite Rokey Wood, is a moated mound with two small baileys, rapidly becoming level through constant ploughing. (VCH 1914)

Ploughed-out site beside footpath east of Reed; the cropmark resembles a small motte-and-bailey. (Renn 1971)

A small moated mound with a bailey on the NE, partly sub-divided by a branch from the ditch which surrounds the whole. No traces of ramparts remain. The eastern arm of the moat is wet. Oval in shape,it measures 280 ft in length and 230 ft in width. In poor condition through ploughing and the erection of farm buildings on its western half (RCHME; VCH 1908).
Periwinkle Hill, a low broad ridge, is ploughed annually, reducing the "motte" to a height of 1.5m, and spreading it to a vague oval shape, 36.0m WNW-ESE by 24.0m. All that remains of the so called "bailey" is the outer scarp of the ditch, 0.5m maximum height, in the W arc.
The classification of the earthwork as a motte and bailey can be neither confirmed nor denied by ground inspection. AP's suggest small enclosures, possible building steadings and a track occupying the E side of the "bailey". The ditch around the "motte" to the N and E has squarish corners unlike a motte. According to farmworkers much pottery has been found on the site, though none of it was retained. No buildings or earthworks shown on Enclosure Map (1808) (F1 NKB 23-FEB-73). (PastScape)

Cropmarks/earthworks of a possible motte and bailey type earthwork. APs show cropmarks and slight earthworks comprising two parallel linear ditches (possibly trackways) leading to a D-shaped enclosure ditch (approx. 80m x 70m) and a vague oval mound (approx. 35m in diameter). Within the enclosure are rectangular subdivisions which could be building steadings. Ploughed annually, the mound survives to a mere 1m high and the enclosure ditch to approx. 30cms deep in 1984. This is supposed to be the castle belonging to the chief manor of Reed. (Hertfordshire HER)

This site was seriously damaged by ploughing by the start of the C20, however the earthwork is shown on the 1878 OS map, marked as 'moat' but in a plan not unlike a motte and bailey castle although it is small. The site lies close to a bridleway half way between Barkway and Reed. It is on the springline. It seems likely this represent the site of a manor house of one of several manors in Barkway, geographically it would seem likely that this was Rokey although the history of this manor, given in the VCH (1914 p. 33) is fairly scant. The earliest mentioned holders, from the early C14, do not seem to have been knights and the form of service by which the manor was held is not mentioned. It was subsumed into Newsells manor in the C15 and presumably any house on Periwinkle Hill went out of use at this time. It may be speculated that for some reason, possibly a need to keep up with more high status neighbours, a holder of Rokey, some time in the C12, built the manor in the form of a small castle, possibly to reflect some military service duties (although as a sergeant rather than a knight). However it is also possible that Periwinkle Hill was a rather more ordinary square moat, of which there are many nearby manors, that was damaged in such a fashion as to give misleading impression of being a small motte and bailey.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/7/2017 8:57:13 am

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact