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Barford St Michael

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Barford St John And St Michael.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP43273260
Latitude 51.99087° Longitude -1.37141°

Barford St Michael has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Barford St. Michael, 2 miles from Deddington, had formerly a small castle which stood close to the church. (Mackenzie)

Tradition recorded in 1823 that there was a castle in Barford, and related report of discovery of foundations of 'massive walls' in the churchyard; remains unsubstantiated (VCH).
3 evaluation trenches were excavated by OAU prior to extension of churchyard. Site is north of C12th parish church which stands on man-made mound. Massive walls were found which may be related to the tradition of castle here. Evaluation revealed vestigial ridge and furrow and substantial wall footing (0.9m wide, only 1 course high) running N-S; unglazed medieval pottery and ploughsoil also found (Med. Arch.). (Oxfordshire HER)

Three evaluation trenches were excavated by M. Roberts of the Oxford Archaeological Unit on behalf of Barford St Michael and St John Parish Council in respect of an application for planning permission to extend the churchyard. The site was N. of the 12th-century parish church which stands on a man·made mound. 'Massive walls' were found in the churchyard in 1823 which may be related to the tradition of a castle at Harford St Michael.
The site lies on the W. side of the ridge on which Harford St Michael is built. Most of the site is flat but the slope increases to the N. and W. There was vestigial, but visible, ridge-and-furrow on the site. Trenching revealed a substantial wall footing (0.9 m wide but only one course high) running N.-S., with unglazed medieval pottery, and overlain by ploughsoils which arc probably from the medieval ridge-and-furrow cultivation. (Med. Arch.)

Said to be castle here. It has been suggested that the unusual church tower started out as a C11 watch tower and the church is built on the site of a small Norman Castle. The church is built on a mound.
Did the mound upon which the church stands start out as a motte? Or is the church built on a old barrow with an adjacent manor house? The suggestion the church tower was a 'watch tower' is probably fanciful but the possibility of an early stone castle here should not be dismissed (c.f. Radcot). The large moat of a successor manor house is just west of the castle site a may represent a much remodelled bailey enclosure.
Gatehouse thanks Colin Cohen for information about Barford Castle.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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