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South Moreton Castle

In the civil parish of South Moreton.
In the historic county of Berkshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU55748803
Latitude 51.58842° Longitude -1.19661°

South Moreton Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Siege Work.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

To the west of South Moreton churchyard is an earthwork consisting of an irregularly circular mound with a deep ditch excavated nearby all round it. "It lies close to the brook, and seems to have been intended for a small fortification, but as never completed." (VCH, 1906) Mound, South Moreton "The brook has been dammed back and the mound dug away towards the brook side to form the present mill dam." Betts, in making this observation offered to supply a sketch of:- "The site of the paved ford, embankments for 50 yards to the west now nearly ploughed away and the raised embankment or causeway before the rectory, which was dug down about 1880" Mound called Fossatum Castelli in 1220. (VCH, 1906, 1923, Betts) This mound, situated in a position commanding an alleged ford, has the appearance of a motte although it is of no great height and, on the west, the ditch is incomplete. The raised embankment or causeway in front of the rectory, referred to by Betts, has now disappeared. The embankment running for fifty yards to the west exists now as a slight scarp. It does not join the mound but begins and ends on hedges and most probably represents an old field bank. (field investigators comments, 1963) The remains of a possible Medieval motte centred at SU 5574 8803 with a diameter of 35m was seen as an earthwork. The motte is flanked by a ditch, part of what is thought to be the moat which is visible for almost half of the circuit on the north-eastern side (Small, 1992). (PastScape)

A siege castle of the Anarchy is recorded at South Moreton and has been identified with the moated site at SU56248833, but it seems more probably that this castle was used, if not built, as this siege work.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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This record last updated on Saturday, July 26, 2014

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