Howton Farm Mound, Kenderchurch

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameHowton Farm Mound, Kenderchurch
Alternative Names
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishKenderchurch

Earthwork and buried remains of a medieval motte castle, situated on the floodplain of the Worm Brook, a tributary of the River Dore, near the southern end of the Golden Valley. The area is seasonally flooded, and the brook which flows within 10m of the monument has been straightened to minimise this flooding. The remains include an earthen mound of circular form, c.45m in diameter at the base, rising c.2m to a flat top of c.30m diameter. A slight step is visible about one third of the way up the side of the mound, on all but the north west side, where erosion around a large oak tree has modified its profile. This step probably marks the position of a palisade or walkway around the motte. Material for the construction of the mound will have been obtained from the surrounding ditch, which is now largely infilled but is visible around most of the mound as a slight depression with thicker and darker grass than elsewhere. The ditch averages 10m wide and survives to a depth of c.0.3m on the south east side. Traces of a slight external or counterscarp bank are visible on the south east, south west and west sides, surviving as a flattened bank some 8m wide. A break in this feature in the SSE quarter, c.8m wide and discernible as a stretch of slightly darker grass, probably represents an inlet channel, controlling the amount of water filling the ditch from the brook to the east. Evidence for the sluice which controlled the water level will survive buried within the remains of the bank. The Marches area is noted for its concentration of medieval defensive monuments, and the monument is one of several guarding the Golden Valley route into Wales. In common with many similar examples, the proximity of a later residence, in this case Howton Court, illustrates the continuation of lordly occupation in this location. (Scheduling Report)

Resistivity survey carried out on 19/2/2002 by Neil Phillips recorded a low range of resistance

Area A, 11m by 5m wide running rought ENE-WSW, was interpreted as a pit with disturbed fill, possibly part of the 1906 excavation trench recorded in the Victoria County History. Area B and C are linear features about 24m by 3m is interpeted as a later addition to the motte. Area E might represent a pallisade. The results were unclear though it seems likely that there was no masonry on the site. It may well be that Howton was a timber/earthwork sturcture. (Herefordshire SMR)

the low mound represents a fortified-site of late construction and representative of land tenure, held for part of a knight's fee. (Phillips 2005)

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 ReferenceSO414294
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  • Phillips, Neil, 2005, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (University of Wales) p. 206-7 Download from ADS
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  • 1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 49
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  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Herefordshire Vol. 1 p. 227 (plan)


  • Bradley, J. and Gaimster, M., 2003, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2002' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 47 p. 251-68
  • 1998-99, 'Pre-Conquest Castles in Herefordshire' Castle Studies Group Newsletter No. 12 p. 33-4 online copy
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
  • Gavin-Robinson, R.S., 1954, 'Prehistoric Man in Herefordshire' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 108
  • Jack, G., 1911, 'Prehistoric Burials' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 235
  • Clark, G.T., 1880, The Builder Vol. 38 p. 250, 252