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Cransley Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Great Cransley Mound

In the civil parish of Cransley.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP82477670
Latitude 52.38214° Longitude -0.78978°

Cransley Motte has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


A motte 16 feet high above the surrounding ditch, with a flat top 45 feet in diameter, in a plantation a 1/4 mile NW of the church at Cransley. A diagonal section has been cut from the mound. There is no trace of a bailey or of stonework. Described as a tumulus on OS 1", 1835 (VCH).
A small motte utilised as a landscaped feature within Cransley Wood (F1 JB 14-OCT-69). (PastScape)

Great Cransley Mound (3 3/4 miles W.S.W. of Kettering). — This small mound, surrounded by a ditch, stands within a plantation a quarter of a mile north-west from the church, 400 feet above sea level, and 100 feet above a stream which flows north-east half a mile east. It is shown on the one-inch Ordnance Survey (1835), and called a 'tumulus,' but was certainly a mote castle mound. As a castle mound it is small in circumference, like many others in Northamptonshire, being only 16 feet high above its ditch; but its situation near the church, and the comparatively large space nearly level on its summit (45 feet in diameter), mark it as having been erected for defensive purposes. The position has no great command, as there is higher land on the west, and the land on the north is higher than that on the south, as will be seen by the section. The story common to castle mounds all over England of a treasure hidden within the mound is current in the district, and a great diagonal section has been cut through (which has permanently injured the work) to seek for this treasure, or perhaps the mound was taken for a grave. There is now no trace of a court or of stonework. (VCH 1906)

Motte (?) (SP 82477670), in Cransley Wood, on Boulder Clay at 122 m. above OD. It consists of a mound 40 m. in diam., 3.5 m. high, and with a flat top 16 m. across. There is a well-marked surrounding ditch, only 1 m. deep except on the W. where it has been recut in modern times. A partially filled-in trench is still visible across the top of the mound, but there is no record of an excavation here. The site is perhaps a motte, placed to overlook and protect the village to the S. However it is possible that it is post-medieval in date and connected with landscaping. The present ditch is certainly too small and narrow for the ditch of a motte, but the existence of what may be part of an earlier ditch on the N.E. is perhaps significant. There is no trace of a bailey or of stonework. The mound is not shown on a map of the village of 1598 (NRO) though this may not be of significance. (RCHME)

The suggestion this is a motte 'placed to overlook and protect the village' seems contrived. The manorial centre would appear to be Cransley Hall beside the church with no reason to think this was not the site of the medieval manor house. However there were three and later four owners of various lands in medieval Cransley so this may represent the manor house of one of these holdings. The mound is certainly now a focus for a post-Medieval designed landscape
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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