Wimpole mound

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameWimpole mound
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishWimpole

Mound on a site occupied by a post mill in 1638, it seems, however, unusually large to have been constructed as a mill mound and it is just possible that it may have been a small motte. In appearance and size it resembles a mound at Knapwell, and its siting recalls that of a circular moat at Papworth Everard. The mound occupies the level summit of a chalk spur 500yds NW of Wimpole Hall and 215ft above OD and is circular, 100ft in diameter and 3ft to 4ft high, with a flat top 65ft across and a hollow 35ft across and 2.5ft deep in the centre. It is surrounded by a dry ditch, 22ft to 30ft wide, 3ft deep and 11ft to 15ft across the flat bottom, crossed on the NW by a causeway 8ft to 10ft wide which seems to be an original feature, since the ditch narrows and terminates in cupped ends on either side. There are very slight traces of an outer bank 15ft to 20ft wide and 6ins high. Ridge and furrow respects the mound, which was reached by an access way on the NW. (RCHME 1968)

The mound was surveyed in 1984. The mound sits in the park on the hill north-west of Wimpole Hall, at the northern end of a flat-topped spur. It is a prominent circular feature, 26.0m in diameter, up to 1.2m high with a top 19.0m across. It is encircled by a broad ditch, averaging 5.0m across its flat bottom, and up to 0.9m deep; this presumably is the source of material for raising the mound. The ditch is crossed by a well-defined causeway in the north-western corner. The windmill was placed at the junction of three former arable furlongs, but more specifically in the corner of one of them. The surrounding arable could have remained in cultivation after its construction. On the 1638 map a four-sailed wooden post-mill is depicted, standing on a large mound

Its relationship to the arable furlongs and headlands confirm its original function as a mill mound, and it is extremely unlikely to be a small motte supporting a timber castle, as proposed by RCHME in 1968 (above): in form and scale it is entirely in line with other examples of small mill mounds in the East Midlands. The post mill probably ceased to operate as a manorial corn mill in the later C17 or early C18 when the land was no longer farmed in common and the park was developing. Subsequently the mound became a convenient site for an estate ice-house. (Cambs HER–ref. Pattison and Garrow)

Gatehouse Comments

The medieval village, church and manorial centre of Wimpole were all at the location now occupied by Wimpole Hall 500m to the East.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL331512
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 41 (possible)
  • Elrington, C.R. (ed), 1973, VCH Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely Vol. 5 p. 263-72 online transcription (manorial history only)
  • RCHME, 1968, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire. Vol. 1: west Cambridgeshire p. 225 no. 20 online transcription


  • Pattison, P. and Garrow, D., 1998, Wimpole Park, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire