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East Chelborough Castle Hill

In the civil parish of East Chelborough.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST55170538
Latitude 50.84625° Longitude -2.63822°

East Chelborough Castle Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

A medieval motte and bailey occupies the ridge top at Castle Hill on the west side of the road. The oval-shaped motte lies south west of the irregular-shaped bailey and rises about 30 feet above it. The motte, constructed by steepening the natural scarp of the summit of the hill, is about 70 yards by 90 yards and has been much damaged on the side by quarrying. The ground falls rapidly on the west side but less so on the east side. South of the scarp of the bailey is a large rhomboidal enclosure. There appears to be no historical evidence of the existence of a castle though, according to Hutchins, the foundations of a wall a clay-lined well or tank, swords and other iron relics were dug up on Castle Hill. It may be that this site was occupied when the site to the east became unsuitable. (RCHME; Hutchins).
From excavations and enquiries it is believed that a Norman castle crowned the hill. It was built of forest marble the ruins of which were used to build a nearby farmhouse (Cunnington).
ST 552055, listed as a ringwork, category Dd i.e. it is situated on a convenient hillock. It has a very large bailey (King and Alcock). (PastScape)

From small excavations made on the hill and from enquiries, he was led to believe that a Norman castle crowned the apex of the hill. It was built of forest marble from a quarry near, and he was informed that a former lord of the manor took the whole of the ruins to build a farmhouse near. (Cunnington, 1896)

This is separated from a motte, Stake Farm by a farm. Speculation about the relationship between the two sites is unsupported by evidence but usually seems to suggest one site being replaced by the other. It may well be better to consider these two sites as one site with several phases of development and with the farm occupying the site of a bailey.
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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The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
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, July 26, 2014

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