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Wimborne Mound

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Leaze; Barrow Pool Shallow; Wimbornam

In the civil parish of Wimborne Minster.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: SZ00649952
Latitude 50.79525° Longitude -1.99227°

Wimborne Mound has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The obvious structure, at SZ 00649952, is a mound 33 metres in diameter and 1.7 metres high, with a flattish top 17 metres across. There is no evidence of a surrounding ditch. To the north there is a bank 7 metres wide, and from 0.1 to 0.3 metres high, with traces of an outer ditch about 7 metres wide. The bank described a regular arc some 50 metres from the mound. At the western end of the arc, a narrower straight bank 0.4 metres high, extends to a point about 15 metres south of the mound and there are indications that a similar bank existed on the east side. There is a 20 metres gap where both could have joined close to the river bank; the enclosed area is about 0.6 ha. The whole is situated about 0.5 metres above the river level, on a terrace 150 metres wide, bounded on the north by a vertical rise of 1.2 metres, now followed by a field hedge, beyond which is the C12 planned extension to Wimborne, now an area of medieval desertion. As suggested by R.C.H.M., it seems probable that mound and outer work represent a motte and bailey, possibly controlling a former ford if the shallow element in Hutchin's name 'Barrow Pool Shallow' has any significance. Hutchins reference to a fence and small plantation on the mound suggests an attempt to form an ornamental tree clump here (Field Investigators Comments-F2 NVQ 07-JUL-81).
A castle is documented at Wimborne in 1138. although in a list which is suspect (King 1983). (PastScape)

The mention of a castle built by the Earl of Gloucester at Wimborne in 1137 probably refers to Castle Hill in Cranborne (Penn 1980, 124). (Dorset Historic Towns Survey p. 29)

D.J.C. King did not record The Leaze mound, although, probably, at the time of his survey work it was considered as a barrow. However it was marked on the OS maps he would have been using. Was he unaware of it or did he dismiss it out of hand?
On the modern map this looks an isolated and fairly insignificant mound but seems to have been less isolated in medieval times. However this location, in the flood plain of the River Stour must have been a difficult place for a residence. Perhaps the medieval line of the Stour was different, effecting not only the location of a river crossing but possible natural defences of this mound and possible bailey. A precisely quarter circle 'bailey' shows north of the mound on LiDAR. This seems very neat but given a flat flood plain it is not impossible this was laid out with that degree of precision in the mid C12. It is certainly difficult to explain that feature in terms of a prehistoric barrow or a simple (if large) intended tree stand, although Hutchin may be suggesting a larger plantation which may explain it. It might also represent a relic of a stock enclosure with the mound being a flood stand. It doesn't seem to be located in a position which would suggest it was a prospect mound.
The hollow-way for the planned borough shows well on the LiDAR to the north-east of the mound. Although the mound lies close to this it doesn't appear to relate closely with that layout.
Recorded as 'possible' in Gatehouse, on the authority of the RCHME Inventory and Norman Quinnell (NVQ) although personally I consider it doubtful and favour Cranborne Castle, near Wimborne St Giles, as the historically recorded castle of Wimbornam.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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