Saunderton St Mary Manor, Bledlow Cum Saunderton

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

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameSaunderton St Mary Manor, Bledlow Cum Saunderton
Alternative Names
Historic CountryBuckinghamshire
Modern AuthorityBuckinghamshire
1974 AuthorityBuckinghamshire
Civil ParishBledlow Cum Saunderton

The buried and visible remains of a medieval moated site which lies 100m to the south east of the parish church of St Mary and St Nicholas. It is roughly rectangular in plan. The island measures some 90m north west-south east by 60m transversely, and its surface is raised slightly above the level of its immediate surroundings. The north western and south eastern moat arms measure between 15-20m across and remain open to a depth of around 1.5m. The central section of the south western arm has been largely infilled. The north eastern arm incorporates the natural stream course which flows from a springhead some 200m to the south east. Minor excavation on the island between 1951 and 1953 revealed the corner foundations of a building. A number of medieval artefacts were found in association with the foundations, including C12/C13 pottery sherd and the strap handle from C14 ceramic jug. Roman artefacts, including fragments of tile, plaster and high quality Samian pottery were also found, presumably relating to the Roman villa which is located a short distance away. Examining the site in 1908, the antiquarian A Hadrian Allcroft thought he could detect traces of a circular mound which he interpreted as evidence for a motte and bailey castle at Saunderton. The mound can no longer be seen due to the dumping of dredged material in the 1940s, and Allcroft's interpretation of the earthwork cannot be supported by the evidence, the mound probably being natural. The moated site is thought to represent the site of the manor of Saunderton St Mary, which was held by the de Saunderton family from the mid C12 to the mid C15. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Allcroft was an experience historical earthworks surveyor rather than an 'antiquarian' and the mound being natural does not exclude adaptation and use as a motte, particularly as this is a manorial centre. However lack of evidence does make it impossible to certain as to what was here in medieval times.

- 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 ReferenceSP796018
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 37
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 28
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1925, VCH Buckinghamshire Vol. 3 p. 93 online transcription
  • RCHME, 1912, An inventory of the historical monuments in Buckinghamshire Vol. 1 (south) p. 276 online copy
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 476-7 online copy