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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.
Medieval 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.


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.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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