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Toddington Conger Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Gayer's Hill

In the civil parish of Toddington.
In the historic county of Bedfordshire.
Modern Authority of Bedfordshire.
1974 county of Bedfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL01132891
Latitude 51.94954° Longitude -0.52984°

Toddington Conger Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Conger Hill, a motte, having a great round moat 30ft to 32ft wide and 5ft to 6ft deep entirely encircling it and traces of an outer moat, 12ft wide and 2ft deep on the outside. The motte rises 18ft above the present bottom of the moat and has a flat top 92ft in diameter without trace of a rampart. The top is mutilated by digging, and the ditch and slopes in the SE are mutilated by a footpath. There is no trace of stonework, and no finds are known to have been made. The bank and ditch skirting the E and SE side of the motte which was described as an "outer moat", does not connect with the motte, and is unlikely to be associated. It is probably a later field boundary. The castle is identified as the stronghold of Sir Paulinus Pegure in C13. The name Conger Hill is recorded from 1597 and it has been considered that the name may be a corruption of an earlier Celtic British name. The mound was used in C16 as a rabbit warren. A more likely interpretation of the name is as a reference to the use of the site as a rabbit warren (from Middle English 'coneygar' or rabbit warren). (PastScape)

A local Shrove Tuesday custom was focused on Conger Hill. The ringing of a bell would signal all the village children to run to the mound, lay down on the top or side of it and put their ears to the ground to hear the sizzle of a witch cooking her pancakes inside it. The custom was recently discontinued (Viner 1997, 5). (Extensive Urban Survey p. 14)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 80-81
      Lowerre, A.G., 2005, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (Oxford: John and Erica Hedges Ltd: BAR British Series 385) p. 225
      Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 17
      Viner, J., 1997, A Stroll through Old Toddington (Toddington Historical Society)
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 4 (slight)
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 7
      Pevsner, N., 1968, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough (Harmondsworth) p. 157
      Wadmore, Beauchamp, 1920, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire (Bedford) p. 133-7
      Page, Wm (ed), 1912, 'Parishes: Toddington' VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 3 p. 438-47 (manorial history only) online transcription
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Goddard, A.R., 1904, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 1 p. 286-7
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1897, Castles of England Vol. 1 p. 139 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Hitchcock, 1992, Journal of the Manshead Archaeological Society of Dunstable Vol. 32 p. 10
      Baker, D., 1982, 'Mottes, Moats and ringworks in Bedfordshire: Beauchamp Wadmore revisited' Château Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 35-54 (plan)
      Dyer, J.F., 1962-3, 'Bedfordshire Earthworks VIII, The Castles: Part One' Bedfordshire magazine Vol. 8 no. 63 p. 348-9
      Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 200 online copy
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 16 online copy
      English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 33 online copy
      English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 32 online copy
      English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 29 online copy
      Parfitt, C. and Whimster, R. (eds), 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 40 online copy
      Lowerre, A.G., 2004, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (PhD thesis: Boston College) p. 475-6
      Albion Archaeology, 2003 (edited January 2005), Extensive Urban Survey - Bedfordshire and Luton (Bedfordshire County Council and English Heritage) Download copy
      English Heritage Scheduling Revision Notification letter 29th Sept 1994
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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.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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