Hockliffe Manor

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

There are earthwork remains

NameHockliffe Manor
Alternative Names
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishHockliffe

Moated site which lies approximately 100m to the south of the parish Church of St Nicholas, which is detached from the modern village of Hockliffe. The monument consists of a small sub-rectangular moated enclosure set within a square platform which projects from the natural slope of the hillside. The platform is adjacent, on the north, west, and south, to a series of further building platforms and closes which provide evidence of an associated settlement. The hillside to the south west of the of the building platforms and the moated site retains evidence of former cultivation earthworks (ridge and furrow) related to the occupation of the settlement. A section excavated in 1909 across the ditch surrounding the central island produced pottery and a number of metal objects dated to the medieval period. The moated site can be identified as a messuage (dwelling) within the estate of Hockliffe Manor in records which date to C13. Interpreted variously as a moated manorial site, a fortified manor house or a Civil War battery. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Recorded as a possible castle by King who tended to use the term 'possible' for doubtful sites. RCHME field investigator, W.D. Cocroft, argued against this being a manorial site on the bases of the ditches not being able to hold water and the lack of medieval finds. Dry ditches are by no means unknown for manorial sites and finds evidence can troublesome, particular as the site has not been properly excavated, and is adjacent to clear medieval occupation. Cocroft alternatively suggested the site as a Civil War battery on the bases of a commanding position above Watling Street (no finds evidence). The position per se could be used to argue for a fortification of any age and the location is, in fact, readily bypassed. Appears likely as a manorial centre, with earthworks that given a military or defensive impression. Location means might have been a small castle, presumably of the probably sub-tenants the Malherbe family, but this possibility is otherwise unsupported.

- 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 ReferenceSP966268
Latitude51.9318885803223
Longitude-0.595399975776672
Eastings496610
Northings226840
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Books

  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 104 (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)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1912, 'Parishes: Hockliffe' VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 3 p. 383-86 (manorial history only) online transcription
  • Goddard, A.R., 1904, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 1 p. 305

Journals

  • Baker, D., 1982, 'Mottes, Moats and ringworks in Bedfordshire: Beauchamp Wadmore revisited' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 35-54