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Stephens Mount, Crowmarsh

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Crowmarsh Gifford; Stephens Castle

In the civil parish of Crowmarsh.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU61318940
Latitude 51.60057° Longitude -1.11705°

Stephens Mount, Crowmarsh has been described as a certain Siege Work.

There are no visible remains.


Has been assumed in the past to be the location of a siege castle. However, this is not supported by current evidence. The recorded features and dating evidence resulting from evaluation at Walter Wilder site did not meet the criteria for the possible presence of a siege castle.
In 1153 Henry, son of Maud, besieged a fort which Stephen had erected opposite Wallingford Castle. Few extant remains - few earthwork ditches. (Timbs and Gunn)
The 'ditch' alleged to have once formed part of the earthwork has for the most part been filled in but a fragment, 82m in length, survives at the west end. It is of very doubtful antiquity and is probably a comparatively modern drainage ditch. South of and at right angles to the Wallingford-Henley road there is a bank and ditch of feeble profile which occupies a position similar to those formerly north of the road but now destroyed. It is 60m in length and apparently continued in an easterly direction but it now fades out after 20m although its line may be indicated by the property boundary to houses south of the road which is also followed by a parish boundary. It may have formed part of Stephens Mount. (Field Notes/Field Visit. A Clarke (1961))
Crowmarsh Castle, 1146, built on 'impregnable site' made of wood; motte and bailey. End of second siege of Wallingford. 'A work of wondrous toil and skill' (Gervase of Canterbury). Duke Henry besieged castle in 1153, built defensive earthworks, probably ditch, and palisade round his force, then demolished it and withdrew to Berkshire side of river. Truce followed. (Slade)
Identified as siege or counter castle constructed against Wallingford Castle during Stephen's Reign. Nothing remains of this fortification, constructed in 1142 and most important of counter-castles round Wallingford. There used to be a feature called Stephen's Mound, lying north of road and west of church, but site has been levelled for industrial purposes and is now covered by houses. Resisted assaults by Angevin forces in 1153. Its purpose described as preventing sorties and raids. Documentary and archaeological updates. (Spurrell) (Oxfordshire HER)

Recent investigations have found the ditch of a circular ringwork comparable to Danes Castle and other Stephanic siege works at the site.
See Wallingford Castle and Wallingford siege castles for further information and bibliographies.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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