Biggleswade Ringwork

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameBiggleswade Ringwork
Alternative NamesOld Warden
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishBiggleswade

The earthwork and cropmark remains of a medieval ringwork and bailey castle together with a complex of other buried ditches and enclosures on a low gravel island to the west of Biggleswade. The site was initially identified from the air in 1954. Some rescue excavation was undertaken in 1962 in advance of the A1 Biggleswade by-pass. The site appears to date from the century or so after the Norman Conquest. Finds included pottery and evidence for wattle & daub and timber structures. Ordnance Survey field investigation in 1968 suggested that only the central mound and faint traces of the encircling ditch were still visible on the ground. The remainder had been levelled by the plough. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Lowerre (2005) argues that Ralph de L'isel, the lord of the manor, did not have the resources to build a castle and this was, therefore, a site most likely built by Bishop Alexander during the Anarchy. Gatehouse does not agree with his interpretation. Castles of this modest size are built by relatively impoverished tenants in the marches of Wales quite normally and this is somewhat atypical only in its context of a limited region survey. The likely date of construction is late C11 based on the limited excavated finds.

- 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 ReferenceTL184445
Latitude52.0859489440918
Longitude-0.273030012845993
Eastings518430
Northings244520
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

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.

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Books

  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 70-1
  • Edgeworth, M., 2007, 'The Medieval Period' in M. Oake et al, Bedfordshire Archaeology. Research and Archaeology: Resource Assessment, Research Agenda and Strategy (Bedfordshire Archaeology Monograph 9) p. 99
  • Lowerre, A.G., 2005, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (Oxford: John and Erica Hedges Ltd: BAR British Series 385) p. 127 (an Anarchy castle built by Bishop Alexander)
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 12
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 355
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 5
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 188
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 110
  • Herbert Fowler, G., 1922, Bedfordshire in 1086: An analysis and synthesis of Domesday book (Quarto memoirs of the Bedfordshire historical record society 1) p. 14, 42, 97

Journals

  • Baker, D., 1982, 'Mottes, Moats and ringworks in Bedfordshire: Beauchamp Wadmore revisited' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 35-54
  • 1966, Antiquity Vol. 40 p. 143
  • Addyman, P.V., 1966, 'A Ringwork and Bailey at Biggleswade, Bedfordshire' Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 3 p. 15-18 online copy (large file)
  • 1966, Antiquity Vol. 40 p. 143
  • 1961, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 259 download copy

Other

  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 14 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 14 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 32 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 28 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 39 online copy
  • Lowerre, A.G., 2004, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (PhD thesis: Boston College) p. 441-3
  • Albion Archaeology, 2003 (edited January 2005), Extensive Urban Survey - Bedfordshire and Luton (Bedfordshire County Council and English Heritage) Download copy