Risinghoe Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameRisinghoe Castle
Alternative NamesGoldington
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishBedford

Motte, mentioned as old in 1180-1200. Nothing found in excavation done in 1943.

There is only documentary evidence for a bailey but the motte is about 20ft high and looks much like a barrow. (PastScape)

William, son of Wigain, granted 'quic quid habui al baille veteris castelli apud molendium de Risineho' to Warden Abbey, and a contemporary (1180-1200) reference to 'inter motam et terram' may refer to the same site. (Renn 1973, ref. Warden Cartulary)

The site consists of a roughly circular mound approx 6m high and 30m across. The top is flattened and the sides fairlysteep, but there is no sign of a moat or any other ancillary earthworks. An entry dating from 1180-1200 in the Cartulary of Warden Abbey mentions the old castle beside Risinghoe Mill, indicating that the structure was already old by this date; it is likely to have been one of a number of "adulterine" castles known to have been built by King Stephen during his siege of Bedford in 1138. As such it would have been a short-lived timber structure. (Beds HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL090509
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 65-6
  • Lowerre, A.G., 2008, 'Why here and not there? The Location of Early Norman Castles in the South-East East Midlands' in C.P. Lewis (ed), Anglo-Norman Studies 29. Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2006 (Woddbridge) p. 126, 129-30, 135
  • Lowerre, A.G., 2007, 'A GIS Analysis of the Location of Late-Eleventh-Century Castles in the Southeastern Midlands of England' in' Clark, J.T. and E.M. Hagemeister (eds.) Digital Discovery. Exploring New Frontiers in Human Heritage (Archaeolingua) p. 239-252 online copy
  • 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. 219-20
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 4 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 5
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 298-9
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1968, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough p. 93
  • Wadmore, Beauchamp, 1920, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire (Bedford) (Bedford) p. 241-3 (rejects as castle)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1912, 'Parishes: Goldington' VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 3 p. 202-9 (mainly manorial history) online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Goddard, A.R., 1904, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 1 p. 285, 196-7
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1897, Castles of England Vol. 1 p. 141 online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1806, Magna Britannia Vol. 1 p. 89


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 21, 23, 24
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 101 online copy ; Vol. 4 p. 22 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl04lelauoft#page/22/mode/1up]


  • Baker, D., 1982, 'Mottes, Moats and ringworks in Bedfordshire: Beauchamp Wadmore revisited' Château Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 35-54 (plan)
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 199 online copy
  • Monkhouse, Wm, 1854, 'On Risinghoe Castle, in Goldington, and Howbury, in Renhold' Reports and Papers of the Associated Architectural Societies Vol. 3 p. 175-82 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Fowler, H.G. (ed.), 1930, Cartulary of the abbey of Old Wardon (Bedfordshire Historical Record Society 13) p. 125, 131


  • 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. 452-55