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Somerset Historic Environment Record

24455

Site Name: Fenny Castle (motte and bailey), North Moor, St Cuthbert Out
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Fenny Castle: a motte and bailey castle [No:29035]
Civil Parish: Wookey
Grid Ref: ST 508 435 (ST 54 SW)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown but it should be visible from a public right of way. Please assume that the site is private property. [Information last updated on 16 December 2002]

Details:

Prominent natural lias hillock lying in peat levels. Rises about 20m from the surrounding land, running NW-SE with a flattish summit. The NW end has been made into a motte by scraping material from a ditch on the SE to separate the oval motte from the bailey. The oval form of the motte may be original but there are indications that much of the lower slopes of the hill has been quarried. There are no signs of any stonework previously noted by Wicks. Quarrying operations were certainly taking place in the early C19 when skeletons were said to have been found at the NW side. The complex earthworks at this side are probably the result of this activity. The skeletons appear to have predated the castle. The bailey is very uneven, again probably due to stone robbing, but at the SE side there is a bank still surviving at the edge of the steep slope and this may be the curtain wall. It is probable that there was a ditch around the base of the entire hillock. Still visible on the SW side. {1}

Miscellaneous banks lie in the surrounding fields, presumably associated with the castle. {5}

Was in St Cuthbert Out parish until boundary change. {8}

Scheduling revised with new national number (was Somerset 420) on Jan 31 1997. {9}

The grass cover on the field is generally good except where cattle feeders have attracted trampling. The mound is covered in low scrub and brambles with a few mature trees. Some cattle erosion on the base of the E side and on the track to the top. Badgers are active in the base of the east facing slope of the bailey. {10}

The monument is still in good condition, some scrub clearance has taken place, and the poached areas are grassing over. {11}

Badger setts in the eastern ramparts have exacerbated subsidence activity. {12}

References:

1 Site visit report - Burrow, I [Ian]. Somerset County Council (29/3/1979) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 3072.
2 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 1966 ST54SW4 (SCC Planning Department)
3 Mention - Victoria County History of Somerset 1906 vol 2, 529
4 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 176 Run 51E 8526. (06/09/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
5 Mention - McDonnell, RRJ [Richard]. Somerset County Council claylands aerial photo survey (1985) (ST5043B). Location: verbal or direct entry to database, no other records.
6 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 176 Run 51E 8526. (06/09/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
7 Aerial photographs - CS No 969 Run 51, 4628 August 1981in Somerset Studies Library
8 Verbal communication - Webster, CJ SCED 10.6.92
9 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council (20.2.1997) in HER files
10 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (20/1/1998) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 16376.
11 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (2/8/2000) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 16377.
12 Detailed records - Coward, A. Motte and Bailey Castle, Fenny Castle, Somerset: Survey to Determine Presence and Use by Badgers.  (2002) report. Location: HER files. HER digital source: 14441.
13 Description - Wicks, AT. Fenny castle, Castle Lane, Wookey near Wells, Somerset. Wells Natural History and Archaeological Society Annual Report  40 (1928) HER digital source: 3073.

Record created in October 1985

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