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Parishes: K (castles)

Kenderchurch: motte, north-east of Howton Farm

Historic Environment Record reference no. 923, Ordnance Survey grid reference: SO 4149 2940

North-east of Howton Farm, between the A465 and the railway and one mile north-east of the parish church, is a mound. It is 45m in diameter with a flat top about 2m above the surrounding ground. There are faint traces of a ditch around the base.

Halfway up the side of the mound there is a visible step on all but the north side, where erosion caused by an oak tree has modified the profile. This step probably marks the position of a palisade or walkway around the motte.

The material for the construction of the mound appears to have come from the ditch, which is now infilled, as it is only visible as a line of thicker, darker grass. The ditch averages 10m wide and survives to a depth of 0.3m on the south-east.

Tradition says that this site was a burial place after a battle at Kilpeck Castle. It was partially opened in 1906 with no definite results.

This motte guards the southern approaches to the Golden Valley.

Kentchurch: Bowlstone Court Wood, defended site

HER no. 3980, OS grid ref: SO 4216 2700

East of Bowlstone Court Wood and about 1 mile to the north-east of St. Mary's parish church, Kentchurch.

A roughly oval mound 50 ft by 43 ft and 12 ft high, with three platforms on top surrounded by a dry ditch, except on the south-west where there is a natural slope towards a brook. There are traces of a causeway on the north-east side, with further earthworks to the south.

It was probably an early motte and bailey castle without stonework.

Kentchurch: Grosmont Castle, possible site

HER no. 6249, OS grid ref: SO 4162 2473

The name Kentchurch is thought to derive from the name of a female saint, Ceina (Bruce Coplestone-Crow, Herefordshire Place-Names, British Archaeological Reports British Series 214, 1989, p. 110).

According to local tradition this is the site of Grosmont Castle, however there is little evidence to support this.

At the site are earthworks of a rough square with what appears to be a ditch on the east side. This feature peters out to the north-east.

The enclosed area is very much disturbed and huge blocks of sandstone are exposed in places. There is evidence of quarrying but trees hide the disturbed ground.

There is nothing to suggest any feature that may pre-date the quarrying.

Kentchurch: Twyn y Corras, motte

HER no. 6248, OS grid ref: SO 4187 2493

Corras is situated 1km south of Kentchurch church. The mound is in the garden of Twyn y Corras.

The mound rises sharply to a height of c.12ft and has a flat top measuring 12ft across. It is probably a motte, to the south of which is a bailey containing a chapel excavated in 1988. The chapel displayed features typical of an early Norman manor chapel. The chapel had been enlarged sometime after 1200, and destroyed by 1400.

Other features are difficult to make out as gardening has disturbed the ground, and it was also once the site of a World War II Home Guard dug-out.

Kings Caple: Caple Tump

HER no. 921, OS grid ref: SO 5593 2880

Four miles north-west of Ross-on-Wye, on the bank of the River Wye on a low ridge south of the main road, is Caple Tump, just to the south-east of the parish church.

The motte has a diameter of 40m and is 2.5m high on the south and 3.5m high on the north. There are the remains of a bank around the flat summit, 4m-6m wide and 0.5m-1.2m high.

There is no trace of a bailey, although a depression to the south-east may be part of a ditch. The bailey may be underneath the church buildings to the north-west.

Finds from the adjacent Colley's Forge suggest that this site may once have contained an early Norman castle.

Kings Caple: castle?

HER no. 6441, OS grid ref: SO 5620 2860

Kings Caple is a parish 6.5km north-west of Ross-on-Wye. It sits on the west bank of the River Wye.

There is evidence of a possible ruined medieval castle on the southern edge of a plateau.

Kings Pyon: motte castle

HER no. 3204, OS grid ref: SO 4425 4895

1.6km south of Kings Pyon church, and 2km west of Canon Pyon, are the earthwork and buried remains of a small motte castle. It stands on a south-east facing slope above a tributary of Wellington Brook, which flows eastwards into the River Lugg.

The remains include a roughly circular earthen motte mound, c. 28m in diameter at the base and c. 17m in diameter at the top. The motte is steep sided and has a flat top, which is c. 2.4m high in the west and c. 1.7m high in the east. Ploughing around the mound has produced an angular boundary at the base, most noticeably on the south-east where the sides are less steep. A ditch is no longer visible, but material for the construction of the mound will have been quarried from a surrounding ditch now completely infilled.

The motte is planted with mature and sapling oak trees, all of which have died.

The motte is legally protected as a Scheduled Monument.

Kington: mound

HER no. 350, OS grid ref: SO 2915 5681

Irregular-shaped mound on the south side of Back Brook, in a field locally known as "Castle Hill". The sides of the mound have been artificially steepened in places.

The top is comparatively flat and has slight traces of a mound. A small portion of what may have been a rampart with scarping exists on the south side.

There is no spring or watercourse nearby that could have fed a moat and the identification of this site is uncertain, as its condition is quite bad.

The foundation of the castle appears to date from the time of Henry I (1100-135), who created an honour (a group of manors held by one lord) centred on Kington for Adam de Port. The castle was soon abandoned as Roger de Port joined an uprising against the king which Henry II quickly put down, with help from the Welsh. The lordship of Kington was then granted to William de Braose and its centre moved to nearby Huntington. (This information was taken from R.W.D. Fenn and J.B. Sinclair, The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Kington - a Brief History for Visitors, a booklet which is available in the church.)

Kington Rural: Castle Twts

HER no. 347, OS grid ref: SO 2770 5553

Two kilometres to the south-west of Kington, at Lower Hergest, is an earthwork. Castle Twts is situated very close to the Welsh border and very near to Offa's Dyke. Huntington and Turret Castle are also to be found nearby, to the south-west.

Description of the castle twts site today

The earthworks are to be found on top of a small knoll which, judging by its size and shape, was artificially steepened to form the mound.

There is a small motte towards the west, 17m across the base and 1.7m above the small bailey enclosure. The bailey is little more than a flattened area protected by scarp slopes. There are possible traces of an approach causeway, but no evidence of stonework.

The entrenchment on this site is very slight. The south side may have been scarped and the fall is sharp and defensive. To the north and east sides the slope falls away gently and offers no true protection.

The area is on the lower slope of a steep hill that rises up to Hergest Ridge, which is 423m above sea level. The steepness of the slope makes this a very good site defensively. Park Wood is situated nearby to the north-east, and the River Arrow runs north-east to Kington just below the site.

One theory is that this site was abandoned before completion.

Kington Rural: Chickward, possible motte and bailey

HER no. 33732, OS grid ref: SO 287 535

Three kilometres to the south-south-west of Kington, and just to the west of the road leading from Kington into the hamlet of Chickward, is a possible motte and bailey site.

There is an irregular mound, the top of which adjoins the road. The mound has a wet ditch on the south-west and west, and there is the possibility of an associated bailey in a field to the west.

In 1992 the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club described it as a motte formed by cutting a great ditch across the end of the ridge with the bottom of the cutting now carrying the modern road.

The mound has a wet ditch fed by springs, with slight traces of a former dam. In the small paddock adjoining the site there appears to be the partially robbed out foundation trench of a substantial wall. The buried stonework in the trench is up to 2m thick. There is more buried stonework in the paddock.

The slight earth bank crowned by a hedge on the west side of the site was once fronted by a deep ditch which recently has been partially filled in. The larger field to the west of the site is level with or slightly higher than the mound.

The field to the south-west has yielded some early medieval potsherds which were difficult to date.

The top of the mound has humps and bumps, with the main one being a roughly rectangular platform forming the highest point on the south-west side of the mound. One hundred metres to the north-east are one or more ponds behind earth dams; these are possibly fishponds associated with the site.

This may be the site of a fortified dwelling or just a former farmhouse site. It has many of the features associated with other fortified sites in the area, such as fishponds, wet ditches and stonework. If it was a fortified site it is possible to imagine that the mound may once have held a rectangular hall or tower within a simple shell keep.

Also noted in the surrounding area were one or two houses with good worked stone in their walls. Most houses in this area tend to be of rubble or timber, so the worked stone may have come from the castle's defences.

The mound is not marked on modern Ordnance Survey maps.

Kinnersley: Kinnersley Castle

HER no. 1074, OS grid ref: SO 3460 4950

On the A4112, 3km east of Eardisley, the present Kinnersley Castle was erected towards the end of the 16th century on the site of an earlier building. From time to time foundations have been discovered that give an indication of the size and shape of the previous construction.

The name Kinnersley comes from Chinardeslege, which was in use around 1120. This word means "Cyneheard's clearing". (Bruce Coplestone-Crow,Herefordshire Place-Names, British Archaeological Reports British Series 214, 1989, p. 116)

The foundations suggest that it was a rectangular building encircled by a moat, which was crossed on the east side by a drawbridge. It is impossible to say when these original foundations were laid.

History of the site

1250: Hugh de Kynardesley was sheriff of Herefordshire. At this time Kinnersley was a member of the great honour of Wigmore.

1316: John de Kynardesley, lord of Newchurch, received a pardon for having joined in the rebellion of the Earl of Lancaster against the king.

1340: Richard de la Bere was lord of Kinnersley by marriage. In this year he obtained a licence to hold a weekly market and annual fair there. Richard de la Bere served as Knight of the Shire in 1355 and was buried in Black Friars in Hereford in 1382.

The Duke of Buckingham hid his family at the castle after Richard III threatened his life.

The de la Beres retained possession until the reign of Elizabeth I when it passed as dower to Michael Lyster of Kent. It was later sold to Francis Smallman, who served as MP for Leominster in 1620. He died at Kinnersley in 1633.

For more information visit the Kinnersley Castle website.