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Parishes: D (castles)

Dilwyn: moated mound

Historic Environment Record reference no. 2238, Ordnance Survey grid reference: SO 4155 5440

Two hundred and sixty yards south of Dilwyn church, in the garden of a private house, lies this moated possible castle site.

Description of the Dilwyn site today

A partially wet moat encloses a nearly circular area, c.165 ft in diameter, rising slightly above the surrounding ground with the remains of a rampart.

The site appears to be a ringwork with reduced remains of an encircling bank on the north side.The ditch is water filled on the east and south, but the north is infilled and only visible as a slight depression.

Buried foundations on the moat indicate a large shell keep with walls 5-6ft thick. Inside the shell, and slightly off-centre, is a large, roughly rectangular block of masonry, possibly an indication that there may once have been a stone keep on the site.
There is a large bailey to the east with two fishponds and an embankment giving it a boundary on the south-east with the road to the east and the north.

The upper bailey is hard to identify as most of the area is now covered by modern housing.

Foundation and history of the Dilwyn site

1086: At the time of the Domesday Survey William de Écouis held Dilwyn. It was given to Godfrey Gamages, and for a long time was the centre of his estate.

13th century: In the early part of this century it was held by William de Braose. In the middle of the century the manor was split into two and shared between the fitz Warins and the Mallorys.

Dorstone: Castle Mound, Nant-y-Bar

HER no. 1266, OS grid ref: SO 2784 4102

The earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, located on the eastern point of a ridge running east-west near the head of the Golden Valley. The ridge slopes steeply down to the north and south.

The monument comprises a circular earthen motte mound, c.23m in diameter at the base. Its steep sides rise c.3m, and the mound's top is c.22m in diameter. On the top, the only feature is an earthen bank running around the rim. This bank is barely visible in the eastern quarter but survives to a height of nearly 0.6m and c.2m wide on the west. It probably supported a wooden palisade to strengthen the motte's defences.

The motte is surrounded by a ditch up to 4m wide; this is mostly infilled, but is clearly visible as an almost complete circle in the grass. It can be seen as a depression, c.0.3m deep, around the north and west, while it is narrower on the south and east where the ground slopes steeply away. The site's natural defences are weaker on the north, north-east and west, where the ground slopes less steeply, and on these sides an earthen bank has been constructed outside the ditch. This bank is visible as a slight rise c.3m on the north-west and east, while on the north it is c.0.5m high, probably because it was incorporated into a later field boundary bank.

On the east-north-east side the ditch is broken by a causeway; this continues as a hollow to the side of the mound. This hollow contains a small amount of masonry at the foot of the mound and also in the counterscarp bank close to the point where it joins the causeway. The causeway is most likely the original access to the motte, and the masonry may be the remnants of a stairway or the foundations of a bridge.

Downton: Castle Mound

HER no. 1645, OS grid ref: SO 4272 7347

Downton means "hill settlement", and was known as Duntune in the Domesday Survey of 1086 (Bruce Coplestone-Crow, Herefordshire Place-Names, British Archaeological Reports British Series 214, 1989, p. 75).

Two kilometres east-south-east of Leintwardine and 100m west of the old church is a mound, 21m across at the base and 3m high.

There is a possible ditch on the north-west and the north-east, and on one side a stream has been dammed to form part of the defences.

There is a slight sinking in the top, and it appears that the mound once possessed an octagonal-shaped tower thought to have been built by the lords of Richard's Castle as a smaller version of the one at Richard's Castle itself.

Traces of a bailey and other outer enclosures are apparent, but modern disturbance makes them difficult to interpret. The corner of the outer tower contains large pieces of masonry buried in tree roots.

Downton: Downton Castle

HER no. 6365, OS grid ref: SO 4450 7475

Downton Castle sits high above the River Teme in a wooded gorge.

The castle was bought by Richard Knight, a Shropshire ironmaster, in 1727. The present castle was built by his grandson, Richard Payne Knight, in 1772-8.

Richard Payne Knight was an archaeologist, anthropologist, writer and poet - an antiquarian through and through, the castle and its carefully landscaped grounds reflect his interests in art and nature. Richard Payne Knight wrote a book called The Landscape, in which he extols the merits of the Picturesque and attacks Capability Brown's gentle and natural layouts. The mansion is asymmetric in form and is decorated in a picturesque Gothic style with towers and battlements.