Roxton Palaceyard Wood

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

There are earthwork remains

NameRoxton Palaceyard Wood
Alternative NamesPlash Yard Wood
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishRoxton

The earthwork in Palaceyard Wood is similar to a Norman Motte and bailey except the level of the island is the same as the surrounding land. The central "Motte" area is separated from the surrounding baileys by a moat, the soil of which has been piled on the outer edges to form ramparts. The ditch of the outer enclosures is very slight. In the large enclosure there are two circular shallow depressions. (PastScape–ref. Dyer)

A circular moat circa 70 metres in diameter, situated in Palaceyard Wood. The arms, which are still waterfilled, vary from circa 6 metres to 12 metres wide. There is no trace of a structure within the level wooded interior. The overflow channel to the north is wide and may have been converted to a fishpond. The purpose of the ditches forming a U-shape to the north east of the moat is uncertain. Mr P C Bath, landowner, retains one of several stone roof tiles found circa 1946 in the enclosed area when replanting trees. Local tradition asserts that there was a monastic settlement here but the name "Palaceyard" suggests perhaps a Bishop's Manor House. (PastScape–ref. field investigators comment, 1975)

The 1813 Enclosure Award map shows the site as called Plash Yard Wood – possibly deriving from 'palis' or 'paleis' and so implying a palisade that may once have been a feature of one of the enclosures. Palaceyard Wood appears to be therefore a moated site designed to serve a variety of farming purposes. (Petre 2012)

Gatehouse Comments

John de Kirkby, Bishop of Ely, held a manor in Roxton from 1270-90, but this was not part of the see and was at Chawston - not Palaceyard. The site is close to the boundary with the modern civil parish of Great Barford and may have been one of the manors of Great Barford.

- 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 ReferenceTL131544
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 105-6 (discounted as castle)
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 17 (slight)
  • Brown, A.E. and Taylor, C.C., 1991, Moated sites in Northern Bedfordshire: Some surveys and wider implications (University of Leicester, Vaughan Paper 35) p. 9-17
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 8 (possible)
  • Wadmore, Beauchamp, 1920, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire (Bedford) p. 169-171
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1912, VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 3 p. 218-22 (Roxton manorial history) online transcription
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1912, VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 3 p. 181-85 (Great Barford manorial history) online transcription
  • Goddard, A.R., 1904, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 1 p. 302


  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Dyer, J.F., 1962-3, 'Bedfordshire Earthworks VIII, The Castles: Part One' Bedfordshire magazine Vol. 8 no. 63 p. 350


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 2 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 2 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 2 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 2 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 21 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 20 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 18 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 27 online copy