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Hockliffe Manor

In the civil parish of Hockliffe.
In the historic county of Bedfordshire.
Modern Authority of Bedfordshire.
1974 county of Bedfordshire.
Medieval County of Bedfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP96612684
Latitude 51.93189° Longitude -0.59540°

Hockliffe Manor has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Moated site which lies approximately 100m to the south of the parish Church of St Nicholas, which is detached from the modern village of Hockliffe. The monument consists of a small sub-rectangular moated enclosure set within a square platform which projects from the natural slope of the hillside. The platform is adjacent, on the north, west, and south, to a series of further building platforms and closes which provide evidence of an associated settlement. The hillside to the south west of the of the building platforms and the moated site retains evidence of former cultivation earthworks (ridge and furrow) related to the occupation of the settlement. A section excavated in 1909 across the ditch surrounding the central island produced pottery and a number of metal objects dated to the medieval period. The moated site can be identified as a messuage (dwelling) within the estate of Hockliffe Manor in records which date to C13. Interpreted variously as a moated manorial site, a fortified manor house or a Civil War battery. (PastScape)

Recorded as a possible castle by King who tended to use the term 'possible' for doubtful sites.
RCHME field investigator, W.D. Cocroft, argued against this being a manorial site on the bases of the ditches not being able to hold water and the lack of medieval finds. Dry ditches are by no means unknown for manorial sites and finds evidence can troublesome, particular as the site has not been properly excavated, and is adjacent to clear medieval occupation. Cocroft alternatively suggested the site as a Civil War battery on the bases of a commanding position above Watling Street (no finds evidence). The position per se could be used to argue for a fortification of any age and the location is, in fact, readily bypassed.
Appears likely as a manorial centre, with earthworks that given a military or defensive impression. Location means might have been a small castle, presumably of the probably sub-tenants the Malherbe family, but this possibility is otherwise unsupported.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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