Eaton Socon Castle Hills

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameEaton Socon Castle Hills
Alternative NamesThe Hillings
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishSt Neots

Ringwork and bailey with partly overlying Saxon cemetery and settlement identified from excavations. A large horse-shoe ditch enclosing on the river side two sub-rectangular wards. Excavated 1949/50. In the northern ward were found at least 40 Saxon burials (associated with St Neots pottery) and there had probably been there a settlement and a Church (stone and mortar debris was found overlying the burials) defended by the horseshoe ditch which appears earlier than the other earthworks. (PastScape)

Well defined earthwork under grass. There are many rabbits. The earthwork is situated between the church and the River Ouse and consists of three baileys with the inner bailey on the S side containing a small motte. The whole complex is surrounded by a fosse; the two inner baileys are surrounded by and separated by a second fosse or moat which is not continuous. The ditches and banks are massive on the N or earthwork side and lower on the river side. The whole of the scheduled area lies in the grounds of Castle Hills House and has been recently landscaped, and is for the greater part under much grass with the exception of the bailey banks, which are under rough grass with some mature trees, mostly hawthorn. There has been extensive recent replanting both on the outer moat bank and also on the inner banks. Most of the trees appear to be of smaller ornamental varieties including laurel, cherry etc., however there are also a considerable number of beech, poplar etc. The outer moat runs from the middle of the N side to three quarters of the way round the S side . It is flat bottomed and approximately 3 - 4m wide through most of its length. The ground has been dug for vegetables on the NE corner of the site and the bank slightly cut into by the patio and house extension W of this. A rose bed has been planted on the bank where the moat runs out

The N most bailey is rectangular and measures approximately 55m x 20m the banks to the NW are approximately 3m high on the interior face. There is evidence of animal disturbance possibly fox on the exterior of the N bank. The S bailey appears almost circular measuring 30m across with the interior banks to the NW approximately 2m in height. Evidence of extensive mole activity on the motte. Two flower beds to the S of the motte, that to the SE planted with roses, to the SW planted with trees. Building material noted in the soil. The inner moat is wet, to the S and W crossed by a berm and dry to N and between the inner bailey. Banks are maximum 12m approximately to ditch bottom. (Camb SMR ?English Heritage Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Harvey list Eaton Socon twice once in Bedfordshire and once in Cambridgeshire.

- 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 ReferenceTL173589
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Primary Sources

  • 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. 449-50