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BURGH CASTLE

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A late 11th century or early 12th century motte and bailey castle which was constructed within the surviving walls of the Roman-Saxon shore fort known as Burgh Castle. The Norman motte occupied the south west quadrant of the fort, where it was visible at one time as a large earthen mound encircled by a ditch. The mound was partly removed circa 1770 and completely levelled in 1839, and the ditch was infilled, although it survives as a buried feature and has been recorded as a crop mark enclosing an oval area measuring circa 72 metres north-south by 53 metres east-west. A section excavated across the ditch on the east side established that it is circa 4 metres deep and that the lowest levels of fill are waterlogged. On the south east side a breach circa 18 metres wide in the south curtain wall marks where the ditch cuts through, and traces of the southern edge of the mound above the scarp of the inner edge of the ditch remain visible against the outer side of the wall to the west of the breach. Approximately a quarter of the area formerly covered by the mound was also excavated and found to contain several large, clay-filled pits, identified as foundations for part of a timber sub-structure to support the tower, also of timber, which stood on top of the mound. The remainder of the fort, to the north and east of the motte, was adapted for use as the bailey of the castle. A north-south bank, remains of which were observed in the excavations at the north west corner, is thought to have been constructed at this time to block the gap on the western side of the fort left by the collapse of the north end of the original Roman wall on that side. The broken western end of the north wall was reinforced by a large earthen mound heaped against its outer face up to 6m high above the falling ground level to the north. Post-Conquest occupation of the fort is confirmed by finds of 11th/12th century pottery. Scheduled.

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