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CASTLE HILL

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A medieval motte and bailey castle with associated cultivation earthworks and fishponds, located on the tip of a low promontory. The castle utilises a natural hillock near the end of the spur, and the central motte is largely a remodelling of the summit. During the period of occupation, the stronghold crowning the summit was surrounded by a circular ditch measuring about 10 metres wide and 2 metres deep, and with a diameter of about 50 metres. Post-medieval quarrying has hollowed out the summit of the mound, and only one section of the ditch survives in full on the south eastern side. The motte was surrounded by a concentric ditch, which ran around the foot of the hillock at an average distance of 50 metres from the ditch on the summit, and served as the outer boundary of the castle's baileys or courtyards. The ditch remains clearly visible around the north and north eastern part of the circuit, where it measures between 5 metres and 10 metres in width and averages 0.8 metres in depth. The outer bailey is subdivided by two main hollow ways and the area of the bailey between these two features contain a number of minor earthworks which include a rectangular pond and a building platform. The area enclosed by the bailey ditch on the western side of the castle retains a series of low cultivation earthworks representing a fragment of an earlier medieval open field system. The earthworks here are also overlain by a small group of partly infilled fishponds. The castle may have been erected by the de Bolbec family between 1086 and 1134, or by the Abbey of Ramsey which was granted the manor by Walter de Bolbec in 1134. Alternatively, it may have been built during the period of civil war known as The Anarchy, either by the sons of Aubrey de Senlis, who seized Woodwalton Manor in 1143-4, or by Ernald, son of Geoffrey de Mandeville, who moved his forces from Ramsay to Woodwalton after the death of his father in 1144. Scheduled.

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