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Martley Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Martley.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO77155923
Latitude 52.23086° Longitude -2.33588°

Martley Castle Hill has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are uncertain remains.

Description

SO771592 Castle Hill. (OS map) C18 map names fields to E of road as "Castle Field". (Worcestershire and Worcester City HER)

A small hamlet, on the eastern edge of Martley parish is called Castle Hill; it lies just north of a crossing of Laughern Brook. No antiquity is marked on 1st edition or new OS maps. Nearby farms are called Buryendtown, perhaps suggesting a fortification existed here is Saxon times. The Masons Arms, a public house, is sited on the top of the hill. Nothing is recorded in the VCH.
I have talked to the  farmer who farms next door in fact, and he tells me that a moat used to exist just down the road.  That moat was just off the main road, the B4204 in the direction of Martley, on the right, next to the barn conversions where a new bungalow has been built in a coppice.  That is maybe 150 yards away from the pub. Maybe 200.  That moat was filled in when the bungalow was built.
I have found and seen the remains of a circular moat (pers. corr. to Gatehouse received 6-2-2013)
Comments

Seems most unlikely as the site of a medieval castle or fortified structure in the more usually accepted senses. Possibly the site of a small thegnal holding (or even the holding of a ceorl with the ambition to have the five hides, bell-house and Burh-geat required to become a thegn. (see William, A., 1992, 'A Bell-House and a Burh-Geat: Lordly Residences in England Before the Conquest' Medieval Knightood Vol. 4 (Woodbridge) p. 221-40) of which the reported small homestead moat my represent a later stage of the development of that holding. Was it possible this homestead, despite it small size, has some very local administrative function in the township of Buryend? Could this administrative function (presumably organising and resolving disputes in the local agriculture) have led to it being given a 'castle' name? Another possibility is that Buryend and Castle Hill take their name from a prehistoric farmstead enclosure long lost to ploughing. It may also be that the Buryend and Castle Hill place-names are not related and that the Castle Hill name comes from a lost, but relatively modern, building with decorative battlements as was true for some turnpike toll-houses. (Philip Davis 6-2-2013)
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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