The Round Moat, Cambridgeshire…

The Round Moat in the Cambridgeshire village of Fowlmere is a fine example of the many medieval moated enclosures that can be found in England. It has been suggested that The Round Moat dates from the late Anglo-Saxon period and is very similar in design to the Anglo-Saxon fortified enclosure at Goltho in Lincolnshire.

The enclosure at Fowlmere consists of a large platform, surrounded by an earth bank and a ditch. The earth bank would have been surmounted by a timber palisade in order to provide a defensible enclosure. Today, the bank is somewhat dunuded and rises to a height of 2 metres at its highest. The ditch that surrounds the plaform has silted up somewhat so that now at its greatest depth is 1.5 metres in depth, whereas it would have originally been 3 metres in depth and 8 metres in breadth.

Some excavations have taken place at the monument, some cobbled surfaces were found during these in 1887 and 1906. The Round Moat is often referred to as a ringwork and has been described as a possible timber castle. Traces of domestic occupation from the 13th and 14th Century have been found nearby. Another moated enclosure called Crow’s Parlour lies to the south-east.

In all, The Round Moat is a fine example of an early medieval fortification that has yet to reveal all its secrets.

The Earth Bank, The Round Moat
The Earth Bank, The Round Moat
The Moat, The Round Moat
The Moat, The Round Moat
The Interior of the Round Moat
The Interior of the Round Moat
The Moat, The Round Moat
The Moat, The Round Moat
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Pre-Conquest Castles – New Page

Prior to the Norman conquest of England in 1066, it is thought by many that no castles existed in the country. This is not strictly true. There were in fact four castles that existed that were built by Normans who had returned to England with Edward the Confessor in 1041.

I was interested to know more about these castles, how they came into being and who the individuals were that built these castles. So I undertook some research and decided to add an article to my blog about these pre-conquest castles – it is titled Pre-Conquest Castles.

Great Canfield Castle, Essex…

Great Canfield Castle in Essex is a motte and bailey castle once likely owned by the De Veres, Earls of Oxford. The castle was recorded in the Domesday Books as being the property of Aubrey de Vere in 1086.

Located directly next to the village church in Great Canfield, the castle consists of a large motte that is heavily covered in trees. The motte has been estimated as being 48ft high and 280ft in diameter on its east-west axis.

To the south of the motte is a horseshoe-shaped bailey. Both the bailey and the motte are surrounded by moats that were fed from a nearby small stream and the River Roding. The moats are now  dry and some of the bailey moat has been destroyed by ploughing. Much of the bailey ramparts survive.

The castle at Great Canfield is most likely to have been of timber construction as there hasn’t been any masonry remnants found.

It has been suggested that Great Canfield is the site of a possible pre-conquest (pre-1066) castle, though it is more likely the castle at nearby Clavering is in fact this castle.

The castle is on private land and is not accessible. You can view the motte from the side of the road.

Great Canfield Castle Motte
Great Canfield Castle Motte