Cricklade Town Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCricklade Town Wall
Alternative NamesCrecgelade
Historic CountryWiltshire
Modern AuthorityWiltshire
1974 AuthorityWiltshire
Civil ParishCricklade

Nineth century burh of Cricklade, fortified by 919 or possibly earlier. The town is surrounded by a square earthwork now surviving as a low bank. The present circuit extends for 2073 metres, the equivalent of 1650 hides. Version A of the Burghal Hidage attributes 1400 hides to Cricklade, while Version B attributes 1500 hides. Excavations have discerned four elements of the circuit; a timber-revetted clay and turf bank; a double-ditch system externally; an intra-mural walkway around the inner face of the bank; a simple tower at each corner inside the bank. A stone wall, 4 feet thick at the base, was added to the front of the bank, probably early in the 10th century. Haslam notes that the parish boundary of the former parish of St Mary's, now a 'ward', was in existence by 985, and he suggests that it reflects a Saxon land division designed to support the defence of the north sector of the town. (PastScape)

The original Alfredian defensive system consisted of a 6m wide clay bank surrounding by a triple ditch arrangement. The banks formed a rough square with sides 510 – 550m long, and a narrow walkway of laid stones ran along their inner face. Extensive weathering and levelling have meant that it is not now possible to estimate the original height of the bank or what form of stockade stood upon it. 5.4.3. In the 10th or 11th century the defences were strengthened by the construction of a stone wall set into the outer edge of the bank, with a second lesser revetment supporting the inner face of the rampart. Both were apparently levelled quite soon after they were built. Haslam (1984) attributes this phase to the strengthening of defences by Ethelred and their subsequent slighting by Cnut. He expresses the belief that it was policy to remove such defences from towns, and is not evidence that the town itself was under attack at this time. (Urban Survey Cricklade p. 9)

Gatehouse Comments

It is probably the town was refortified during the Anarchy (see Cricklade), although that refortification may have involved no, or only slight, building.

- 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 ReferenceSU103933
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  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
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  • 1964, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol. 59 p. 188 online copy
  • Loyn, Henry, 1963, 'The Origin and Early Development of the Saxon Borough with Special Reference to Cricklade Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol. 58 p. 7-15 online copy
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  • 1954, 'Cricklade Excavation 1953' Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol. 55 p. 181 online copy


  • 2004, The Archaeology of Wiltshire's Towns An Extensive Urban Survey Cricklade (Wiltshire County Archaeology Service) online copy
  • Harding, P. and R. Newman, 1990, Cricklade Town Walls: archaeological evaluation (Trust for Wessex Archaeology) Unpublished Report.