Wouldham Shoulder of Mutton Wood

Has been described as a Rejected Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameWouldham Shoulder of Mutton Wood
Alternative Names
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityMedway
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishRochester

Small mound, suggested as base for Norman lookout tower for Rochester. King writes is most likely a robbed round barrow and rejects as castle. A large mound in a wood called the 'Shoulder of Mutton Shaw' by Pilgrim's Way. Has been variously interpreted as a tumulus, castle and fort . The mound is situated in a prominent in ridge, it measures 24.5 m. in diameter with a maximum height of 2.2 m.. There are faint traces of a ditch and a hollwo in the centre - probable the remains of an old excavation. It is now thought that this is too small for a castle mound and from its general appearance and topographical position there would seem little doubt that it is a bowl barrow. (Kent HER)

Despite evidence of partial excavation, the bell barrow in Shoulder of Mutton Wood survives comparatively well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument includes a bell barrow situated on the crest of a chalk ridge adjacent to the North Downs Way. The barrow has a slightly oval mound 2.2m high, 25m east to west and 23m north to south, with a large central hollow suggesting that it was once partially excavated. Surrounding the mound is a gently sloping platform or berm between 1m and 3m wide. This is most clearly visible to the north where the ground drops away beyond the edge of the berm and to the south where the surrounding quarry ditch survives up to 4m wide and 0.2m deep. The rest of the ditch has become infilled over the years and now survives as a buried feature. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Jessup suggests this may have been a recorded parish boundary marker in the C15 (it lies very close to the modern parish boundary). This certainly excludes it from being a manorial centre and probably suggests it being a pre-Conquest feature. Nothing about the location or form of this mound suggests a castle.

- 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 ReferenceTQ727652
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Calculate Print


  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 239 (reject)
  • Guy, John, 1980, Kent Castles (Meresborough Books)
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Kent Vol. 1 p. 411 online copy


  • Jessup, R.F., 1942, 'An earthen mound near Rochester' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 55 p. 71 online copy