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Edithmead Motte, Burnham

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Burham Without.
In the historic county of Somerset.
Modern Authority of Somerset.
1974 county of Somerset.
Medieval County of Somerset.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST32864932
Latitude 51.23917° Longitude -2.96311°

Edithmead Motte, Burnham has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A previously unpublished moated enclosure at Edithmead was excavated by the Burnham-on-Sea Archaeological and Natural History Society. An occupation level with C14 pottery was found beneath the turf. Much of the central mound had been quarried away (SANH, 1962).
The "excavation" was merely a rectangular pit 8ft by 6ft and 4ft deep dug into the central area. The excavators reached no conclusion as to the purpose of the site Is an irregular moated enclosure with the material from the ditch used to raise the level of the interior. Looks more like a mutilated motte than a homestead moat (OS record card)
Medieval pottery has been found in the locality (see PRN 10994). Scheduled as AM 454 as a moated site but not yet visited by HBMC Field Monument Warden (Dennison, SMR report, 1985)
This work is now considered to probably be a denuded motte and bailey (Moated site Research Group)
The earthworks are in good condition with good grass cover and the previous cattle damage on the N side on the moat slope is now grassed over. Water lying in moat end on western boundary has lead to limited cattle trampling (Site visit report - Graham, A., 1999, English Heritage Field Monument Warden). (Somerset HER)

If the earthwork is a denuded motte-and-bailey rather than a moated site, then it may perhaps have been the work of Walter of Douai or his son Robert of Bampton. Walter was lord of Burnham in 1086 and Robert remained in possession from his father's death about 1107 until his own rebellion in 1136 when he was succeeded by his daughter Juliana. It may be of interest that the owners from the late twelfth century were the descendants of Harold son of Ralph who in the time of William Rufus had owned the great castle of Ewyas Harold in Herefordshire. (Dunning 1995)

Whilst it is certainly possibly this started as a small platform type motte within a round ditch the site has not been fully investigated and the identification is not certain. There does not seem to be a bailey and the reference to one may be an error. It may be atypical moated site (although Gatehouse is of the opinion a number of moated sites are modified platform mottes).
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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