Steers Copse Mound, Bentley

Has been described as a Certain Siege Work

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameSteers Copse Mound, Bentley
Alternative NamesBentley Castle
Historic CountryHampshire and the Isle of Wight
Modern AuthorityHampshire
1974 AuthorityHampshire
Civil ParishBentley

At this point in a grass field, formerly arable, is a ploughed-over motte with a surrounding ditch and the remains of a bank which on the south extends from the motte to form a small area - probably a bailey. The motte is flat-topped, 52.0m. in average diameter and 1.8m. high with a ditch, 8.0m. wide and 0.5m. deep. The bank is surveyable only on the west and east sides and elsewhere is visible as a spread rise. The mound is littered with fragments of stone and many flints, but the surface soil in the area is naturally stony. Several fragments of Ro. tile were found including flanged roofing tile which as at Barley Pound - (SU 74 NE 8) may have been taken from the Ro. Villa site - (SU 74 NE 7) and built into the structure which probably surmounted this motte. No other trace of such a structure was seen. The motte is placed on the southern crest of a prominent E-W ridge commanding an extensive area to the south. (F1 WW 26-SEP-56)

Probably a siege-castle which, together with Powderham (SU 84 NW 51), would have been used to blockade Barley Pound (SU 74 NE 8) (King and Renn 1971).

Excavations by Hants. County Council and D.O.E. showed the castle to consist of a low motte with attached bailey. Part of the motte was surrounded by a V-shaped ditch and the bailey was delineated by a bank. Under the motte was a buried ground surface which covered a Roman building (Stamper 1979; 1980).

Excavations in 1980 showed the V-shaped ditch ran right around the motte, apart from where it was abutted by the bailey

The ditch was deliberately filled at an unknown date, with material from the motte, but only after an initial period of natural silting over many years. It remains unclear if Roman material found during the excavations derives from a Roman building in the immediate vicinity of the castle or from the substantial villa site to the north (Stamper 1981; 1984). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Suggested as 1147 siege castle of Barley Pound if this was Lidelea. However it should be noted that the view from this site of Barley Pound is obscured by a low ridge.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU793462
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Osborne, Mike, 2011, Defending Hampshire: The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present (Stroud: The History Press) p. 243 (listed in Appendix)
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 273n3
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Wessex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 40
  • Coulson, Charles, 1994, 'The Castles of the Anarchy' in King, Edmund (ed.), The Anarchy of King Stephen's Reign (Oxford University Press) p. 85
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 189
  • 1983, Archaeology in Hampshire; annual report (Hampshire County Council) p. 96
  • Stamper, P.A., 1981, Archaeology in Hampshire; annual report (Hampshire County Council) p. 24-5
  • Stamper, P.A., 1979, 'Excavations of a Mid-12th Century Siege Castle at Bentley' in Archaeology in Hampshire; annual report (Hampshire County Council) p. 23
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 225


  • Hughes, Michael, 1989, 'Hampshire Castles and the Landscape 1066-1216' Landscape History Vol. 2 p. 27-60
  • < >Stamper, P.A., 1984, 'Excavations on a mid-twelfth century siege castle at Bentley, Hampshire (motte, ditch, ?undefended bailey, c 1147)' Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society Vol. 40 p. 81-9 < >
  • Youngs, S.M. and Clark, J., 1981, 'Medieval Britain in 1980' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 25 p. 200-1 download copy
  • Webster, L.E. and Cherry, J. (Stamper, P.A.), 1980, 'Medieval Britain in 1979' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 24 p. 247 download copy
  • King, D.J.C. and Renn, D.F., 1971, 'Lidelea Castle - a suggested identification' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 51 p. 301-3

Primary Sources

  • Potter, G.R. (ed), 1955, Gesta Stephani (Nelson) p. 138-9 (p. 208 in the 1973 edn.)