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Hartford; The Mount

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sapley; Kings Ripton; The Moat

In the civil parish of Kings Ripton.
In the historic county of Huntingdonshire.
Modern Authority of Cambridgeshire.
1974 county of Cambridgeshire.
Medieval County of Huntingdonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL24837551
Latitude 52.36334° Longitude -0.16801°

Hartford; The Mount has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A motte & bailey castle on a low plateau c. 3km N of the River Ouse at Huntingdon. The motte is an oval mound 3m high, 24m long by 12m wide, lying to the N of the bailey. It is surrounded by a ditch whose outer edge is rectangular in plan, and which is up to 1.5m deep. The ditch is 10m wide on three arms, but the NW arm is only 5m wide. There is an outer bank, 4m wide by 0.5m high, along the SW, SE and NE arms. Although there are no surface traces of a bank on NW arm there is potential for the survival of below-ground evidence. A small irregularly shaped bailey 40m long by 15m wide lies on the SE side of the motte. The bailey ramparts on the E side are thought to have been destroyed by agricultural activity, but the interior is intact, and defences are still visible on the W and S sides. These comprise a 0.5m high bank with a waterlogged outer ditch 7m wide by 1.5m deep. An outlet channel, 7m wide and 1.5m deep, emerges from the SW of the bailey ditch. The outer bank on the SW arm of the motte ditch extends along the W arm of the bailey and the W edge of the outlet channel. The site is now called 'The Moat' but on older maps is called 'The Mount', helping to confirm its identification as a castle. It is situated at the N end of the ancient Royal Forest of Sapley. The site is essentially well-preserved. The interior of the bailey & top of the motte will contain below-ground evidence of building remains, whilst the ditches and buried land surface beneath the motte contain silt deposits from which environmental evidence may be recovered. (Camb SMR record ? EH scheduling report)

It is conceivable that the site was a hunting lodge rather than a serious fortification, even though it seems to have been built on a motte and bailey plan. If that were the case, the earthworks could have been at nearly any time in the late-eleventh or twelfth centuries. In the final analysis, the evidence does not seem to suggest that there was a castle in Hartford/Sapley before 1100. (Lowerre 2004)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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