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Parishes: E (castles)

Eardisland: moated mound, Monks Court

Historic Environment Record reference no. 1685, Ordnance Survey grid reference: SO 4193 5880

On the north side of the River Arrow and 300m to the north-west of the castle mound is another mound, smaller than the first. It is roughly circular, measuring 28m across the base and rising 1.5m above the surrounding ground. It appears to be the reduced remains of a motte with faint traces of a ditch on the north side; there is, however, no evidence for a bailey.

The mound is flat topped with an off-centre depression. The site is near the river and the old centre of the village.

The name Monks Court suggests former possession by a monastic house, perhaps Wigmore Abbey. It is also situated close to Nun House, which was formerly in the possession of Limebrook Priory.

The raised mound may be an unusual form of moated manor, designed to raise buildings above the flood plain of the river. It seems unlikely that this is the site of a motte, considering that there is another one so close by.

Eardisland: mound, north of church

HER no. 1683, OS grid ref: SO 4207 5858

Eardisland comes from the Old English Earl's Leen which means "the Earl's land", the earl in this case being Morcar, son of earl Algar of East Anglia, who had the estate before 1066 (Bruce Coplestone-Crow, Herefordshire Place-Names, British Archaeological Reports British Series 214, 1989, p. 76).

The larger of the two mounds at Eardisland is 40m to the north of the church and south of the River Arrow.

Description of the Eardisland site today

This moated mound, probably a castle mound, is about 49m in diameter, rising 3m above the moat level. The proportions of the mound cannot firmly place it as a motte but the top (22m across) is large enough to have taken a shell keep.

The moat is fed by a cutting from the River Arrow less than 100m away to the north. A causeway crossed the moat on the north-west, however this no longer exists and access to the mound is difficult.

There is no trace of a bailey, but one could have existed and may have extended as far as the church road to the west and south-west.

Fish can be seen swimming in the stagnant moat today.

Foundation and history of the Eardisland site

1086: According to the Domesday Survey Eardisland was worth £12 (£6 before 1066) and was held by earl Morcar from the King.

1236: Eardisland was held by the de Braose family, who were responsible for building the castle. It later became one of the possessions of the Mortimers.

1650: Silas Taylor writes "there is on the north side of ye churchyard an old moated hall, was the seat of the Pembridges to have been".

Eastnor: Eastnor Castle

HER No. 6709, OS grid ref: SO 7350 3687

Eastnor is a parish near Ledbury, on the eastern boundary of the county.

Description of the Eastnor site today

Eastnor Castle forms the centrepiece of a 5,000 acre estate in the Malvern Hills. It is now home to the Hervey-Bathursts, who are direct descendants of the 1st Earl Somers. The castle was built between 1810 and 1824 by Sir Robert Smirke for the 1st Earl Somers. It was his intent to provide a suitably elaborate home to establish his family within the upper echelons of society. The castle is a classic example of the Norman Revivalist architecture that was popular at this period.

The castle is accessed via a low gatehouse with round towers on the road between Ledbury and Tewkesbury. The castle itself is rectangular in plan, with four circular embattled towers at the angles and a central keep.

Four thousand tons of stone were used in the construction of the castle. This stone was quarried in the Forest of Dean and brought to Ledbury by canal. The castle cost £85,923 to build, which today would be the equivalent of £8.5 million. Two hundred and fifty men worked on the castle every day for the first six years of its construction.

The building measures 320 ft x 180 ft with a 60 ft high entrance hall, which until 1989 displayed the family's armour collection. It has a Gothic Dining Room designed by A.W. Pugin for the 2nd Earl in 1849, which contains a huge chimneypiece with the family tree drawn on it.

Edvin Loach: ringwork

HER no. 11180, OS grid ref: SO 6630 5835

This site consists of a ringwork and bailey. Buried in the ringwork is stone, which may be indicative of a shell keep. There is a partially collapsed stone wall on the counterscarp bank bordering a farmyard. This wall is much thicker (approx. 5ft) than the usual field walls.

The 11th century church (HER 1154) and the later church of St Mary (HER 1364) both sit within the bailey of this site. The bailey ditch has recently been filled in. Other evidence may exist under the present farm buildings to the west and south.

Edvin Ralph: motte and bailey

HER no. 1006, OS grid ref: SO 6441 5745

One hundred metres to the west of the part-12th century parish church of St Michael lies a circular moat enclosing an island.

The motte is 37m in diameter and 2.1m high with evidence of buildings on its summit. The foundations are of a large shell keep. There are also indications of a substantial stone barbican.

The surrounding ditch is 1.9m deep, partially wet and approximately 50m in diameter. On the north side the ditch has been enlarged to form either a quarry or fishponds. To the north of the ditch are more foundations, which may represent a gatehouse or bridge.

There is a bailey and outer enclosure on the north and north-west, with evidence of buildings inside the bailey.

There are earthworks between the motte and the parish church, which may be the remains of a deserted medieval village.

Eye, Moreton and Ashton: Castle Tump

HER no. 5, OS grid ref: SO 5139 6499

0.2km west of the A49 and 350m north-west of Upper Ashton Farm is a motte raised on the end of a natural spur. Surrounding the motte is a now-dry watercourse.

The parish name of Eye, Moreton and Ashton is interesting in that each word has a separate landscape meaning. Eye means "raised ground on a marsh",Moreton means "marsh settlement" and Ashton means "ash-tree settlement". The three names together suggest that this parish is raised above surrounding marshy ground and is associated with  the growth of ash trees. (Bruce Coplestone-Crow, Herefordshire Place-Names, British Archaeological Reports British Series 214, 1989, pp. 83-84)

The mound is roughly circular, 30m in diameter and rising 2.1m above the ground at the back of the spur, from which it is separated by a slight ditch. It is 5.7m above the ground surrounding the spur.

There are faint indications of a bailey, and the site is naturally defensible.