Hampden Danes Camp
Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)
There are earthwork remains
|Name||Hampden Danes Camp
|Alternative Names||Hampden Park
|Civil Parish||Great and Little Hampden
Dane's Camp is a very well preserved example of an early medieval motte castle. The mound will retain buried evidence for the structures which stood on the summit, and the silts within the surrounding ditch will contain both artefacts and environmental evidence relating to the limited period of occupation. The old ground surface buried beneath the mound is particularly significant as it may retain evidence of former land use, which will have been degraded elsewhere by more recent cultivation. The strategic position of the castle provides an illustration of the methods by which control of the area was established in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest.
The motte castle known as Dane's Camp lies to the north of the village of Great Hampden and some 400m south of Hampden House.
The castle occupies a commanding position overlooking lower ground to the north west and the former line of the Grim's Ditch, now overlain by the St Mary Magdalen's Church and the grounds of Hampden House. The monument includes a large, steep-sided circular mound (or motte), approximately 20m in diameter and 2.5m high, surmounted by a level platform measuring 10m across. The motte is surrounded by a dry ditch, averaging 4m in width and 1m deep, which is broken by narrow causeways to the north west and south east. The north western causeway merges with a slight ramp ascending the motte, and is thought to be the original entrance. The second causeway, with no ramp evident, is considered to be a later addition, perhaps reflecting the mound's later use as an ornamental feature within the grounds of Hampden House. The motte would originally have supported a tower, probably built in timber. A small depression in the centre of the platform marks the location of a limited excavation in 1855, which consisted of a single, narrow shaft
Additional defence may have been provided by a palisade surrounding the ditch and a gate controlling the entrance.
The motte is thought to have been a temporary fortification, serving as a base for operations of limited duration in the early stages of the Norman Conquest. Place-name evidence from the surrounding field and adjacent copse suggests that a windmill may later have stood upon the mound. This is not, however, corroborated by physical evidence, and the buried remains of the original tower's foundations are expected to survive largely undisturbed. (Scheduling Report)
Mound in park of Hampden House, sometimes described as motte, sometimes as mill mound. One of the three mounds mentioned in PastScape NMRN 344295. Excavated in 1855 by B Burgess in 1855, when he had a hole about three yards square by twelve feet deep dug in the centre of the mound. This only yielded several pieces of tile below the turf and a further piece at a depth of about seven feet. Burgess discounts the theory that this mound had been constructed for a windmill (PastScape–ref. Burgess, 1858).