Please Wait - Compiling Details.

<< Back to Query / Map page


Somerset Historic Environment Record

53640

Site Name: Castle, Castle Cary
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: A motte with two baileys immediately north of Park Pond [No:33722]
Civil Parish: Castle Cary
Comprises:
PRN 11639Excavation and recording (1999), Manor Farm, Castle Cary
PRN 11640Evaluation (1998), Manor Farm, Castle Cary
PRN 30388Geophysical survey (2011), Castle Cary castle
PRN 55464Watching brief (1977), Castle Cary Castle
PRN 55465Watching brief (1978), Castle Cary Castle
Grid Ref: ST 6411 3214 (ST 63 SW)
  Show site on map (Requires Flash)
   
Image: Image of HER 53640 - Photo by Somerset County Council (July 1984)
  HER 53640 - Photo by Somerset County Council (July 1984)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

Well defended motte and bailey castle on the lower slopes of a NW-facing hill. Strong bank and ditch on the SE, simple scarp on the NW. Three level ?building platforms in the bailey. Site of keep marked by stone piers. {1}

The castle lies at the top of a slope E of the town, with a moderate slope up to the SE. A steep sided combe runs E-W S of site, opening into Park Pond on S. Improvements at Manor Farm have led to some encroachment on the W side, exact extent uncertain without survey. {2}

Probably built in the late C11 or early C12 - it was besieged twice in Stephen's reign in 1138 and 1148 and probably destroyed after c1153. Earthworks may survive (PRN 53641). {3}

Excavation history:

i) 1856: casual digging - no record.

(ii) 1890: Excavation by Gregory concentrating on the area of the "lower" (ie southern) mound and area to the W. Trapezoidal keep of local stone with Ham and Doulting stone dressing found with maximum dimensions 76ftx78ft (23mx24m). Two superimposed "concrete" floors 4" (10cm) apart with bone layer between. These appeared later than the keep and below the lower mound, perhaps deliberately piled against the keep. Inner bailey ditch sectioned N of the keep - 7ft (2.1m) sand in top, 6ft (1.8m) Doulting rubble and "virgin soil". Trenches in outer bailey showed no wall on bank or structure in the interior.

iii) Watching briefs during building work in 1977 and 1978 in the area NW of the keep produced evidence for a ditch between the inner and outer baileys and a limekiln (see PRNs 55464, 55465 ). {4}

See PRNs 11632, 11639 and 11640 for recording work during building works at Manor Farm on the W side of the castle. Despite severe disturbance the castle ditches were recorded and the inner and outer baileys shown to be of one phase. There was evidence for deliberate infilling early in the medieval period. Following this, activity moved to the Manor House (PRN 11641). {7}

Remaining area of site Scheduled on 20/7/2001. {8}

The 2001 excavations (PRN 11639) recorded a massive ditch which may have comprised an early Norman D shaped ringwork, constructed in 11th century. {9}

The results of the excavations suggest that the initial ringwork was improved by the addition of a donjon or great tower. The ringwork was then demolished and the defences re-worked to give the impression of a tower on a motte with an inner bailey around it and an outer bailey to the N. {10}

References:

1 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 63 SW 8 (1966) Location: HER files
2 Verbal communication - Burrow, I [Ian]. Somerset County Council (04/07/1984). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
3 Description - Aston, M and Leech, R. Historic Towns in Somerset.  (1977), 26-30.
4 Verbal communication - Burrow, I [Ian]. Somerset County Council (10/07/1984). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
5 Excavation report - Gregory, S. Notes on the discovery of the site of Castle Cary Castle. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  36 (1890), 168-174
6 Aerial photographs - DAP NG6,7. (1989) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
7 Verbal communication - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (20/04/2001). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
8 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset Historic Environment Record. (7/10/2001) Location: HER files
9 Verbal communication - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (07/06/2005). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
10 Description - Prior, SJ. Strategy, symbolism and the downright unusual: The archaeology of three Somerset castles. In Costen, M (ed). People and Places: Essays in honour of Mick Aston.  (2007) at 76-89 [specifically 77-82].

Record created in June 1984

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2014