Colmworth Manor and 'Motte'

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameColmworth Manor and 'Motte'
Alternative Names
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishColmworth

Moated manor, extant building dated to early C17. Alleged to have a motte (a low mound) nearby. (PastScape)

Manor House has a mostly 18/19th century exterior but features a panel of Tudor terracotta tiles set below the ground floor windows on the north east front. The house has been snowcemed and is not outstanding. It is situated on a square platform elevated above a natural south west slope and commands the adjacent road and river valley. The platform achieves a maximum height of 4.3m above the moat bottom and is 50.0m square. It has a ramped entrance at the east angle which could be original, the modern one being further to the north. An air-raid shelter has been dug into the slope at the south angle. Around the platform are the fragmentary remains of a moat and outer enclosure. The moat survives only as a large irregular pond at the north angle and a dry south west arm, 34.0m long by 10.0m wide and 1.2m deep. This is cut lower than the pond suggesting the surrounding ditch would have been at several levels rather than a continuous feature. No trace of north west and south east arms survive. A platform outside the south angle is probably building debris grassed over. The outer enclosure runs in a crescent from the west angle. It starts as a dry ditch 3.5m wide and 0.5m deep and now terminates in a pond 13.0m wide and 1.2m deep. Further enclosures visible on RAF air photographs in the field south east of The Manor have been filled and ploughed and are at present under standing corn. The site is probably spring fed but no trace of an outfall can be seen. (PastScape–ref. Field investigators comments, 1977)

Gatehouse Comments

Adjacent to parish church. Clearly the manorial centre. A small castle here can not be excluded; although the small nesting island (TL10485865) in the, now lost, pool created by a dam to the west of the manor site can certainly be excluded as a motte.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL107585
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  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 101 (discounted as castle)
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 17 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 8 (possible)
  • Goddard, A.R., 1904, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 1 p. 186, 305


  • 1985, South Midlands Archaeology: CBA Group 9 Newsletter Vol. 15 p. 10-11 (plan) online copy