Ogbourne St Andrew

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameOgbourne St Andrew
Alternative Names
Historic CountryWiltshire
Modern AuthorityWiltshire
1974 AuthorityWiltshire
Civil ParishOgbourne St Andrew

Small rather ill-preserved motte. (King 1983)

A Bronze Age bowl barrow situated in the corner of Ogbourne St Andrew Churchyard. Excavations in 1885 by Henry Cunnington located primary Bronze Age cremation, an Anglo-Saxon inhumation and about twenty intrusive inhumations thought to be part of the medieval churchyard. In 1974 the barrow was visible as an earthwork 23 metres in diameter, 1.6 metres high with an 0.3 metre deep mutilation in the top. (PastScape)

The identification of a low earthen mound within the churchyard of St Andrew's, Ogbourne St. Andrew (SU 189723), as a motte, albeit a weak or mutilated example (King 1983, 500), seems equally specious. Excavation of the mound in the nineteenth century revealed a series of central cremations with intrusive Saxon and medieval inhumations (Cunnington 1885, 345-48). In addition, documentary evidence suggests that the feature served as a windmill mound in the post-medieval period (VCH Wilts. XII 1983, 147). A close spatial relationship between motte and parish church is a recurrent feature within the lowland zone of medieval Britain (Creighton 1997, 30-31), whilst the coincidence of barrow and church is not unknown (Morris 1989, 40-41, 255-58). Here, however, the insufficient magnitude of the mound (it is elevated little more than c. 1 .5m) and lack of a bailey, combined with clear evidence of burials within the mound, confirm its origins as a round barrow and recommend strongly against the thesis that it was adapted as a motte. (Creighton 2000)

Gatehouse Comments

The location near the church and identification of a manorial enclosure means there is a possibility that this barrow might have been used as a motte, although, if so, it would have been as a base for a tower symbolic of lordship status rather than as defensive structure.

- 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 ReferenceSU188723
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 500
  • Crowley, D.A. (ed), VCH Wiltshire Vol. 12 p. 147 online transcription
  • Pugh, R.B. and Crittall, Elizabeth (ed), 1957, VCH Wiltshire Vol. 1 Part 1 p. 186


  • Creighton, O.H., 2000, 'Early Castles in the Medieval Landscape of Wiltshire' Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol. 93 p. 116 (reject) online copy
  • Cunnington, 1885, 'Barrow at Ogbourne St Andrew, Wilts' Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol. 22 p. 345-8 online copy