Swaffham Bullbeck

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameSwaffham Bullbeck
Alternative NamesFour Mile Stable
Historic CountryCambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishSwaffham Bullbeck

Situated on a slight ridge in undulating arable about 46m OD are the much reduced remains of a motte and bailey. The bailey, which is the most substantial feature, is sub-triangular and measures 60m N to S 70m transversely within a spread ditch up to 30m wide by 1.7m deep. Around the inner edge is the suggestion of an inner rampart but nothing surveyable . The motte, which stands 1m high measures about 30m in diameter but little trace of a ditch survives except on the N adjacent to the bailey. The interiors are featureless and the whole which has been considerably reduced by ploughing gives the impression of having been adapted from natural folds and gulleys. (Camb SMR report)

Gatehouse Comments

Possible motte (or ringwork) and bailey very badly ploughed down. Recorded as possible castle by King "on strength of an aerial photograph by Dr St Joseph" Area of barrows. This is an area of several barrows. There is no recorded medieval settlement or finds in the area accept for 'An enclosure referred to as Hare Warren in 1605, situated near Upper Hare Park House. It appears to have been a park pale or warren for containing hares. Parts survive as earthworks.' (PastScape record 374434) situated 500m SW. Could be a small castle associated with a park but perhaps this is a barrow and Iron Age enclosure of coincidental connection and a superficial resemblance to a motte and bailey.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL589599
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  • Wareham, A.F. and Wright, A.P.M. (eds), 2002, VCH Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely Vol. 10 p. 247- online transcription (report of barrows and manorial history but no mention of possible castle)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 41
  • RCHME, 1972, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire. Vol. 2: north-east Cambridgeshire p. 10? no. 75 (as barrow and ring ditch) online transcription