Castle Toll, Newenden

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameCastle Toll, Newenden
Alternative NamesEorpeburnan; ?Haydon Mount
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishNewenden

The significance of the Castle Toll monument is considerably enhanced by the unusual superimposition of two well-preserved defensive sites which illustrate the differing response over time to a comparable military threat. Burghs were defended settlements which were established as part of a widespread scheme of defence against invading Viking armies during the reigns of King Alfred and his successors during the 9th and 10th centuries. Some, such as the example at Castle Toll, were new foundations while others involved the reorganisation of existing towns, such as at Winchester. Thirty-three burghs are named in Wessex - the main concentration of such monuments - in a document known as the Burghal Hideage. Burghs are a very rare class of monument nationally and show a wide variety of plan and design. They mark a significant stage in the development of the English town (representing the first of a number of periods in which towns were created under direct royal patronage) as well as illustrating the strategy adopted by Alfred to combat the Vikings. The smaller defensive site at Castle Toll illustrates the response made later to the same need for defence of the main river channels. This enclosure is well-documented archaeologically, having been partially excavated. The monument at Castle Toll includes two defensive sites of different dates. The earlier of the two has been identified as a burgh, or defended settlement, belonging to the 9th century AD. This burgh took the form of an 8 hectare enclosure on a low peninsula which was defended primarily by the marshland of the former River Rother on three sides and by a broad bank and ditch on the southern side. Partial excavation of this southern ditch in 1971 showed that it was not completed in its intended form but was reduced in scale and remained unfinished

For much of its circuit, the ditch is now visible only as a shallow depression 8-10m across, the feature having been infilled by repeated ploughings between 1965 and 1988. One of the documentary sources for this period, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, describes the storming of an unfinished fort by Viking raiders in 892, and it has been suggested that the unfinished fort was that at Castle Toll. Set within this larger enclosure is a smaller but much stronger defensive work some 100m square with banks up to 2.3m high and a 2m deep ditch on the southern side. Part of the circuit of banking on the north side has again been lost to agricultural activities but over three-quarters of the circuit survives. A broad elevated platform of earth at the north-east corner of this enclosure is interpreted as the site of a look-out post. Evidence recovered during partial excavations in 1965 suggested that this was a fort dating from the early to mid-13th century, positioned to deter French raids up the River Rother. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Earthworks occupy the end of a peninsula jutting into Romney Marsh and are of two distinct phases. The entire end of the peninsula appear to have been enclosed with defences more pronounced to the west across the landward approach. Excavation has shown that the works were unfinished; they are now badly damaged by ploughing. There is a strong possibility that this is the unfinished Eorpeburnan of the Burghal Hidage and mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle 892 as having been attacked by the Danes. Within the larger enclosure is Castle Toll, sub rectangular in plan with a motte like mound. Excavation showed that this had two phases of construction; early and mid C13.

- 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 ReferenceTQ851284
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Julian P Guffogg and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View full Sized Image
Copyright Simon Carey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View full Sized Image

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Kent (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 56
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 133 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 232
  • Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
  • Smithers, David Waldron, 1980, Castles in Kent (Chatham)
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Kent Vol. 1 p. 442-3 online copy
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 419 (misleading) online copy
  • Sands, Harold, 1907, 'Some Kentish Castles' in Ditchfield and Clinch, Memorials of Old Kent (London) p. 158, 189-93 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 146 (? as Haydon Mount as shell keep) online copy
  • Holloway, 1849, History of Romney Marsh (London) p. 36-9 and fortispiece
  • Hasted, Edward, 1798 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 7 p. 8163 (a bare mention) online transcription


  • Kilburne, R., 1659, Topographie, or Survey of the County of Kent


  • Davison, B.K., 1972, 'The Burhal Hidage for tof Eorpeburnan: a suggested identification' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 16 p. 123-7 view copy
  • Hill, D., 1969, 'The Burghal Hidage: the establishment of a text' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 13 p. 84n3 view copy
  • (Davison), 1966, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 10 p. 191 view copy
  • Davison, B.K., 1965, 'Report for 1965' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 80 p. liii
  • Smith, C.R., 1880, 'Newenden, Not Anderida' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 13 p. 488-91 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Ingram, James, (ed) 1912, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Everyman Press, London) Laud Chronicle AD893 view online transcription (Ingram's translation and notes date from 1823. More recent translations of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles should be consulted for serious study)


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 37 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 37 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 40 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 38 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 51 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 47 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 43 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South East (London: English Heritage) p. 49 online copy