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Parishes: B (castles)

Bacton: motte and bailey

Historic Environment Record reference no. 369, Ordnance Survey grid reference: SO 3713 3356

Situated in the Golden Valley, 0.1km south-west of Newcourt Farm, lies a fortified enclosure triangular in shape.

In the eastern corner of the enclosure there is a small motte, 18ft x 11ft and 8ft high, which has a sinking top. This motte is 5ft above the bailey with a "rampart" around the top, roughly 2-3ft above the ground level of the motte. The outer face of this rampart shows some signs of having been revetted with stone.

At the western apex of the enclosure is found a small, circular mound with a rectangular depression, no more than 6-8ft, showing traces of buried masonry.

The mound is protected on two sides (the north-east and south-east) by a mainly natural double scarp, which runs for 10ft below the enclosure. In between these scarps there is a berm. A ditch and inner rampart protect the third side of the enclosure. The exterior ditch may have once been a wet defence system.

In 1086 Gilbert held Bacton from Roger de Lacy. One of his descendants, perhaps William de Bacton or Richard de Hampton, is thought to have built this small castle.

Brampton Bryan: Lower Pedwardine, motte and bailey

HER no. 189, OS grid ref: SO 3680 7047

Two kilometres south of the church at Brampton Bryan lies a roughly circular mound, 28.3m in diameter. It rises 3.6m above ground with a slight ditch to the south.

From the earthworks that remain at this site it is possible to make out an outer rampart which forms a small ditch on the south side. The area of the site exhibits platforms, enclosures and holloways.

Due west are two fields which show old field banks and enclosures, and are probably the remains of an ancient field system. To the north, silted up fishponds can be seen in a valley.

The settlement is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as being held by Ralph de Mortimer; at this time it was called Pedewrde.

Brampton Bryan: Upper Pedwardine, motte and possible bailey

HER no. 188, OS grid ref: SO 3649 7078

0.4km to the north-west of the site at Lower Pedwardine is found what may be the traces of a medieval motte and bailey.

The southern part of the mound appears to have once been 33m across but it is hard to be definite about this, as the mound has since been half cut by more modern farm buildings.

The mound indicates traces of a tower, a small bailey and maybe even a dovecote, indicated by circular foundations to the south. The site however has become very confused by later farm buildings, which interrupt the immediate landscape.

Bredwardine: Bredwardine Castle

HER no. 1564, OS grid ref: SO 3350 4430

Immediately south of the churchyard and adjoining the River Wye are the earthworks and foundations described as a motte and bailey.

Description of the Bredwardine site today

There is an irregular oblong-shaped bailey with a narrow projection at the south end, on which once stood the keep. The keep appears to have been divided from the bailey by a ditch. The slight mound of the keep indicates foundations of a rectangular building 78ft x 45ft with a projecting bay on the west side and with two banks extending from either end of the south side, indicating the position of the curtain wall.

The enclosure is protected on the east by a scarp to the river and on the north and west sides runs a ditch. A double scarp with berm encloses the south side.

Foundation and history of the Bredwardine site

The Manor was granted to John de Bredwardine at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.

1227: The Castle had become the property of the Baskerville family, with the Bohuns as their overlords. In the following century it was held by Hugh de Lacy.

The building on the site was termed "Oldcastle" as early as the reign of Henry III; it is thought to have been built soon after the Conquest. It was rebuilt as a fortress during the wars of Stephen and Matilda, but this fortress was dismantled in the reign of Henry II or III.

1374: In September of this year it was described as being called "Castel Place" without mention of any fortifications. Seventy years after this date it is described as being a waste site with no annual value.

The ruined castle and manor passed from the family of Baskerville to the Vaughan family. Roger Vaughan converted the castle and manor into a multi-gabled house, thus losing the fortified nature of the building that would have classed it as a castle. This house was named the "Castle of Gronw", but it became a castle in name only.

Bredwardine: Castle Coppice

HER no. 12018, OS grid ref: SO 3360 4400

Just south of the site of Bredwardine Castle are two small valleys, across which banks have been built to form fishponds. This is the first clue to what may have once stood here.

Excavation has revealed two phases of timber buildings followed by a possible three stages of stone buildings. The whole site is thought to have been built and altered from the 12th century to the 16th century.

The earlier periods of building could represent the remains of a castle or defended site, whilst remains from the 14th century appear to suggest that by this time it had become little more than a farm complex.

(Ron Shoesmith, Castles & Moated Sites of Herefordshire, Logaston Press, 1996, p. 64)

Brilley: Cwmma Farm

HER no. 5582, OS grid ref: SO 2760 5140

Brilley is a parish in the north-west of the county, close to the Welsh border. Its location near the border is evident in its name which contains elements of both Welsh and English.

2.8km north-east of the church, and just north of Cwmma Farm, is situated a circular mound 27m at its base and 5m in height. The mound is oval in shape and unusually even, with no flat top. Though damaged, the motte probably held a tower, as there is no room for anything else. Upon the wall on the counterscarp bank buried foundations of a chemise wall can be found. There is much loose stone on the site, some of which shows diagonal tooling.

The upper bailey contains buried foundations but is densely covered by trees and undergrowth. Other evidence has been destroyed by roads and ploughing

There still exist signs of substantial wet defences, and a stream that runs through the ditch on the west could have made this a wet moat.

Buckton and Coxall: mound at Buckton

HER no. 195, OS grid ref: SO 3831 7322

The parish of Buckton and Coxall is situated on low-lying land to the west of the village of Leintwardine. The first part of the name Buckton may come from the Old English Bucca which means "he-goat", but it may also be derived from the name of a person, Bucca. (Bruce Coplestone-Crow, Herefordshire Place-Names,  British Archaeological Reports British Series 214, 1989, p. 49)

Just to the south-west of Buckton Farm, and close to a mill leat from the River Teme, is an oval mound 39m across at the base and rising to 4m above the dry ditch, now partially destroyed. It is possible that this ditch was once fed from the mill leat, making it a wet defence.

Some stone exists in the mound, but not enough to be sure of the size, shape or scale of buildings that may have once existed there. The bailey may be underneath the present farm buildings and there is evidence of a second bailey on ground to the west of the motte.

Byton: motte and bailey

HER no. 11169, OS grid reference: SO 3705 6412

6.5km from Wigmore, just to the south of Byton church, can be found what is described as a motte with traces of a former shell keep and possible gatehouse to the south. The bailey, to the north, includes the church. At the south end there is evidence of a gatehouse with small twin towers like those at Brampton Bryan.

Documentary sources date this site to c.1190.