Cretingsbury, The Old Manor House

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameCretingsbury, The Old Manor House
Alternative NamesCottingsbury
Historic CountryHuntingdonshire
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishGreat Staughton

This site although called a Manor House seems to have much of the character of a motte and bailey fortress. It was the Manor House of Sir Adam de Creting (d 1294), who married one of the three co-heiresses of William de Croll (d 1274). It stands on high ground and the fine outer moat encloses an area of about 198m by 131m. Near the middle of the enclosure a low mound very suggestive of the earlier motte. Some farm buildings and a cottage have been built in the NE corner of the outer enclosure, but there is now no other building on the site. The name Cottingsbury does not seem to be known locally, now it is called the Old Manor House. Interior platform stands to 3m - 4m approximately from the ditch bottom in several places. There is a slight internal bank. The moat which is dry throughout most of its length is approximately 2m wide at its base and fringed with mature oak, ash, sycamore and hawthorn except to the N where there is low hawthorn scrub only on outer edge. Trees are pollarded to the S where the moat is broader and deeper. To the SE moat is filled with weed and bulrushes and edged with grass. The entrance to the enclosure would seem to be on the NE side where the foundations and the jumbled back show the site of the buildings. The interior of the enclosure is covered in rough grass and thistles, there is a pond in the SW corner of rectangular shape. The circular inner moat wet throughout 3m wide in places encloses a motte approximately 50m across which rises approximately 4m from ditch bottom. The interior of the motte is covered by rough grass low scrub and nettles elder and hawthorn with a few mature trees. Entrance is to NE aligned with outer enclosure entrance. An arm or long pond stretches N from motte ditch some 4m - 5m broad and wet with rushes. There appear to be earthworks in the outer enclosure to the N. (Camb SMR report)

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 ReferenceTL115630
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  • 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. 237
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 19
  • Taylor, Alison, 1986, Castles of Cambridgeshire (Cambridge)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 224
  • Page, Wm, Proby, Granville, and Ladds, S. Inskip (eds), 1932, VCH Huntingdonshire Vol. 2 p. 355
  • RCHME, 1926, An inventory of the historical monuments in Huntingdonshire p. 251-2 no. 3 online transcription
  • Inskip Ladds, S., 1926, in Page, Wm and Proby, Granville (eds), VCH Huntingdonshire Vol. 1 p. 292-3 view unattributed online copy
  • Watson, Rev H.G., 1916, A History of the Parish of Great Staughton


  • 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. 501-3