Thurleigh Castle

Last updated
Thurleigh Castle
Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, England
Bedfordshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Thurleigh Castle
Coordinates 52°12′50″N0°27′42″W / 52.2138°N 0.4617°W / 52.2138; -0.4617 Coordinates: 52°12′50″N0°27′42″W / 52.2138°N 0.4617°W / 52.2138; -0.4617
Grid reference grid reference TL052584
Type Motte-and-bailey
Site information
Condition Earthworks

Thurleigh Castle, also known as Bury Hills, was a medieval castle in the civil parish of Thurleigh, in the county of Bedfordshire, England.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th through the 15th centuries

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Castle Fortified residential structure of medieval Europe

A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages by predominantly the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for royalty or nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace.

Thurleigh village in the United Kingdom

Thurleigh is a village and civil parish in north Bedfordshire, England.

Contents

Details

The site is a Scheduled Monument, protected by law and described as Bury Hill Camp: a motte-and-bailey castle with three fishponds. The motte is notable in that it has a top platform on two levels, and the bailey is also of unusual form and is exceptionally large. [1]

Motte-and-bailey castle fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork

A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade. Relatively easy to build with unskilled, often forced, labour, but still militarily formidable, these castles were built across northern Europe from the 10th century onwards, spreading from Normandy and Anjou in France, into the Holy Roman Empire in the 11th century. The Normans introduced the design into England and Wales following their invasion in 1066. Motte-and-bailey castles were adopted in Scotland, Ireland, the Low Countries and Denmark in the 12th and 13th centuries. By the end of the 13th century, the design was largely superseded by alternative forms of fortification, but the earthworks remain a prominent feature in many countries.

The motte is an earthen mound, oval in plan, measuring 60m long by up to 40m wide at its base and between 40m long by 20m wide at the top. The higher level is at the north-eastern end and is thought to have held the stronghold. To the south of the motte is the bailey which is irregular in shape and measures 200m by 270m. [1]

Excavations in the 1970s found few remains of the Norman castle, but finds indicated that the site had been occupied in the Iron-Age, Roman and Saxon periods. It has been postulated that the motte and bailey was the easternmost of a line of defensive sites on the upper reaches of the Ouse which extends to Odell. The building of the castle has been ascribed to King Stephen (1135–54). Much of the site has been developed and the scheduled protection applies mainly to the ground underneath. [1] Only earthworks survive today.

Anglo-Normans Medieval ethnic group in England

The Anglo-Normans were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans and French, following the Norman conquest. A small number of Normans had earlier befriended future Anglo-Saxon King of England, Edward the Confessor, during his exile in his mother's homeland of Normandy. When he returned to England some of them went with him, and so there were Normans already settled in England prior to the conquest. Following the death of Edward, the powerful Anglo-Saxon noble, Harold Godwinson, acceded to the English throne until his defeat by William, Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings.

Roman Britain part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire

Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain that was governed by the Roman Empire, from 43 to 410 AD. It comprised almost the whole of England and Wales and, for a short period, southern Scotland.

Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain The process which changed the language and culture of most of what became England from Romano-British to Germanic

The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain describes the process which changed the language and culture of most of what became England from Romano-British to Germanic. The Germanic-speakers in Britain, themselves of diverse origins, eventually developed a common cultural identity as Anglo-Saxons. This process occurred from the mid-fifth to early seventh centuries, following the end of Roman rule in Britain around the year 410. The settlement was followed by the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the south and east of Britain, later followed by the rest of modern England.

See also

Castles in Great Britain and Ireland Wikimedia list article

Castles have played an important military, economic and social role in Great Britain and Ireland since their introduction following the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Although a small number of castles had been built in England in the 1050s, the Normans began to build motte and bailey and ringworks castles in large numbers to control their newly occupied territories in England and the Welsh Marches. During the 12th century the Normans began to build more castles in stone – with characteristic square keeps – that played both military and political roles. Royal castles were used to control key towns and the economically important forests, while baronial castles were used by the Norman lords to control their widespread estates. David I invited Anglo-Norman lords into Scotland in the early 12th century to help him colonise and control areas of his kingdom such as Galloway; the new lords brought castle technologies with them and wooden castles began to be established over the south of the kingdom. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 1170s, under Henry II, castles were established there too.

Related Research Articles

Bishopton, County Durham village in United Kingdom

Bishopton is a village in the borough of Darlington and the ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is situated to the west of Stockton-on-Tees. It originated as a farming community with rows of cottages and several farms forming a long wide village street, with an adjacent green. St Peter's Church stands at the centre of the village. The hamlet of Little Stainton and the village of Great Stainton were formerly part of the parish of Bishopton.

Pickering Castle castle in Pickering, North Yorkshire, England

Pickering Castle is a motte-and-bailey fortification in Pickering, North Yorkshire, England.

Castle Hill is a scheduled ancient monument in Almondbury overlooking Huddersfield in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England. The hilltop has been settled for at least 4,000 years. The scheduled monument comprises the remains of a late-Bronze Age or early Iron Age univallate hillfort with a single raised bank, a later Iron Age multivallate hillfort, a 12th-century motte and bailey castle and the site of a deserted medieval village. The grade II listed Victoria Tower on the summit of Castle Hill is by far the most conspicuous landmark in Huddersfield. The hill has been a place of recreation for hundreds of years and the easily discernible remains of past occupation have made it a subject for legend, speculation and scientific study. It is located on UK Maps at grid reference SE152140.

Hough-on-the-Hill village in Lincolnshire

Hough-on-the-Hill is a village and civil parish in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. The population of the civil parish including Brandon was 399 at the 2011 census. It is situated approximately 7 miles (11 km) due north from the market town of Grantham. The hamlets of Gelston and Brandon are part of the parish. Hough-on-the-Hill is on a significant rise, hence the name.

Watch Hill Castle medieval castle

Watch Hill Castle is an early medieval motte-and-bailey on the border of Bowdon and Dunham Massey, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. As the only Scheduled Ancient Monument in Trafford, it is arguably the most important archaeological site in the borough. The castle is located north of the River Bollin and south of a deep ravine.

Castles in South Yorkshire

While there are many castles in South Yorkshire, the majority are manor houses and motte-and-bailey which were commonly found in England after the Norman Conquest.

Stowey Castle Grade I listed castle in Sedgemoor, United Kingdom

Stowey Castle was a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, built in the 11th century, in the village of Nether Stowey on the Quantock Hills in Somerset, England. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Totternhoe Knolls

Totternhoe Knolls is a 13.1 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Totternhoe in Bedfordshire. It is also a Local Nature Reserve, and part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site is owned by Central Bedfordshire Council and leased to the National Trust. Most of the site is maintained jointly by the National Trust and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (WTBCN), and is part of the WTBCN Totternhoe nature reserve, which also includes Totternhoe Chalk Quarry and Totternhoe Stone Pit. The SSSI also includes Totternhoe Castle, the earthworks of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle which is a Scheduled Monument.

Woodwalton Castle

Woodwalton Castle was a small motte and bailey castle at Church End, the northern end of the parish of Woodwalton, Huntingdonshire. Located on a natural hillock, the earthworks of the castle still remain, with an outer moat enclosing a circular bailey with a central motte. A large dyke, apparently ancient, runs from the outer moat in a north-easterly direction. The site is a scheduled ancient monument.

Hampstead Norris Castle

Hampstead Norris Castle was a Norman castle in the village of Hampstead Norris, Berkshire, England.

Denham Castle

Denham Castle, also known as Castle Holes, is a medieval motte and bailey castle near the village of Gazeley, Suffolk, England. The castle was also known as Desning Castle at the time of building and occupation.

Locking Castle

Locking Castle was a castle that once stood on Carberry Hill near the site of RAF Locking in Locking in the North Somerset district of Somerset, England. It has been scheduled as an ancient monument.

Scheduled monuments in Maidstone Wikimedia list article

There are 27 scheduled monuments in Maidstone, Kent, England. In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is an archaeological site or historic building of "national importance" that has been given protection against unauthorised change by being placed on a list by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Historic England takes the leading role in identifying such sites. Scheduled monuments are defined in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the National Heritage Act 1983. They are also referred to as scheduled ancient monuments. There are about 20,000 scheduled monument entries on the list and more than one site can be included in a single entry. While a scheduled monument can also be recognised as a listed building, Historic England considers listed building status as a better way of protecting buildings than scheduled monument status. If a monument is considered by Historic England to "no longer merit scheduling" it can be removed from the schedule.

Scheduled monuments in Somerset

There are over 670 scheduled monuments in the ceremonial county of Somerset in South West England. The county consists of a non-metropolitan county, administered by Somerset County Council, which is divided into five districts, and two unitary authorities. The districts of Somerset are West Somerset, South Somerset, Taunton Deane, Mendip and Sedgemoor. The two administratively independent unitary authorities, which were established on 1 April 1996 following the breakup of the county of Avon, are North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset. These unitary authorities include areas that were once part of Somerset before the creation of Avon in 1974.

Bury Castle, Brompton Regis

Bury Castle near Brompton Regis in the English county of Somerset was an Iron Age univallate hillfort which was reused with the creation of a motte after the Norman Conquest. It has been scheduled as an ancient monument.

References