Knapwell Overhall Grove

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameKnapwell Overhall Grove
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishBoxworth

Mound, perhaps a small Norman motte, on the flat Kimmeridge clay floor of the valley, 50 yards W of the stream. Finds made during an unpublished excavation in 1929 include St Neots ware from 2ft to 3ft below the surface of the mound. The mound is circular, 6ft high and 80ft in diameter with a flat top 30ft to 40ft across. The wet ditch is 30ft wide on the NE and 20ft wide on the SW and holds about two and a half feet of water. On the SW the ditch is crossed by a flat causeway 10ft wide which, in view of the cupped ends of the ditch on either side, is probably original. On the N and W a bank 15ft wide and 1ft to two and a half feet high may be the remains of an outer enclosure or merely a hedge bank separating the mound and ditch from an area of ridge and furrow to the N. (RCHME 1969)

The medieval Overhall manor house presumably stood amid the ancient enclosures in the north part of Overhall grove, inside the rectangular moated site, c. 35 m. by 40 m., whose southern ditch is still wet. Pottery fragments indicate habitation there from the 11th century to the 14th. That moat is surrounded by an irregularly embanked enclosure, c. 165 m. by 210 m., possibly intended for keeping cattle. Perhaps no longer occupied after the Lovetts inherited the manor, the house had disappeared well before 1600. The earthworks, entirely concealed by trees by 1650, were rediscovered only c. 1900. (VCH)

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 ReferenceTL336631
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  • 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. 233
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 21
  • Wright, A.P.M. and Lewis, C.P. (eds), 1989, VCH Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely Vol. 9 p. 271-74 online transcription (mainly manorial history)
  • Taylor, Alison, 1986, Castles of Cambridgeshire (Cambridge)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 41 (possible)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 355
  • RCHME, 1968, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire. Vol. 1: west Cambridgeshire p. 163 no. 11 online transcription
  • Phillips, 1948, in Salzman, L.F. (ed), VCH Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely Vol. 2 p. 34


  • Hurst, J.G., 1956, 'Saxo-Norman pottery in East Anglia' Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society Vol. 49 p. 53 online copy
  • Hughes, T. McK., 1903, 'Earthworks at Boxworth and Knapwell' Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society Vol. 10.3 p. 237-40 online copy


  • 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. 495