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Alchester; The Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SP56952030
Latitude 51.87837° Longitude -1.17409°

Alchester; The Castle has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are uncertain remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Probable motte raised over a Roman bath (VCH ii 320; Marshall 1857-8). (King 1983)

Wendlebury: Alchester.—The most extensive Roman site at present traceable in this county is that of the station Alchester, situated in the parish of Wendlebury, one and a quarter miles south of Bicester, opposite the point where the road from that town to Oxford makes a sharp turn to the west. The road to this point is the Roman Way, which continued straight on through the centre of the station and can still be traced to Dorchester-on-Thames. The greater part of the site is, unfortunately, cultivated, but the course of the raised ways through it can still be traced by the low banks which vary in height above the ground from 15 ins. in some places to 3 ft. in others. In that part of the field where they have been destroyed, shown by the dotted lines on the plan, their course can still be laid down, as it is possible to note where they commenced by the breaks in the other banks, and the direction of the furrows has been changed to run parallel with them. At the south-east corner there is a mound 4 ft. 9 ins. high, and at the north-east corner there are the remains of another over which the hedge of the field has been carried. In the meadow to the west of the site, 80 yds. from it, is a roughly circular mound 200 ft. in diameter, and apparently rising from within a square base, called 'The Castle.' Excavations have shown that this covers the remains of a Roman building. We are only concerned here with the remains of the station falling under the classification of Earthworks, and it must be sufficient to state that Roman remains in the shape of foundations, coins, pottery, and other articles have been found all over the site, together with many human skeletons. (VCH 1907)

Nothing in the VCH tenurial history (VCH 1959) would suggest this as a manorial centre. The castle place-name is most probably a much latter corruption of the saxon 'chester' place-name applied to the Roman town, although the Oxfordshire's Historic Archives states the name 'castles' was applied only after the initial excavations of 1766. The mound is, presumably, a collapsed Roman building consolidated with blown in soil.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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