Eastleigh Berrys

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameEastleigh Berrys
Alternative NamesEast Leigh Berrys; East Leighburys
Historic CountryCornwall
Modern AuthorityCornwall
1974 AuthorityCornwall
Civil ParishLauncells

Multivallate defensive enclosure consisting of three enclosures joined and communicating with each other. E and W enclosures each 204' by 144', the centre being 126' by 108' (VCH). "East Leigh Berrys" comprises three contiguous univallate enclosures, situated at 91 m Ordnance datum on a low southwest spur, from which Stratton is visible along the valley. Since 1953 the area has been reclaimed from woodland and scrub, ploughed and put under pasture with the result that the features have been smoothed. The largest, north east enclosure is of irregular plan and internally of about 0.3ha. It is encompassed by a flattened bank 7.0m wide and 0.7m high, an outer ditch 8.0m wide and 0.3m deep, and, on the northwest side, a counterscarp bank. The central enclosure, of 0.14ha is also irregular in plan with a bank 5.0m wide and 0.4m high. The accompanying ditch 6.0m wide and 0.5m deep is not only cut up to 0.3 m deeper and apparently into the preceeding work but continues around the third enclosure to the south west. Thus second and third seem constructed as a whole and although there may have been a cross ditch they are now separated only by a scarp 0.5 m high. The south west enclosure is roughly circular, 50.0m in diameter.It has a flattened dome profile up to 1.7m high on the south west with perimeter scarping, 1.0m high, which fades on the SW leaving a staggered gap 20.0m wide. There is an outer ditch 8.0m wide and 0.5m deep on the north west and a faint almost terrace-like ditch on the south east. There is now no evidence of a ditch around the sout west beyond which the spur ends with a moderately steep slope. There is no entrance to any of the earthworks and the inturning in the south west enclosure appears to have resulted from later mutilation. The earthwork appears to be an adulterine motte (which could never have been very high) with two baileys to the north east

It is not in a good defensive situation being overlooked, at a distance, on all sides but the south west. It does, however control the Medieval route into north Cornwall. The poor state of the earthworks cannot be solely due to clearance but suggests that it was either unfinished or thoroughly slighted. Immediately to the north east 4.0ha of cleared ground exhibit irregularities and possible hollow ways but these are so fragmentary that no conclusion can be drawn as to their date or purpose (Field Investigators Comments-F1 NVQ 07-NOV-77). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Isolated from settlement but is the cleared land to the NE a possible area of deserted or planed settlement. There are a couple of 'park' place-names close by. The strategic place for defence or administration is Stratton 1 mile to the west. Clearly placed to be highly visible from the road, and usually suggested as an adulterine castle of the Anarchy, but Gatehouse suspects may be a hunting lodge built in a modest castle style.

- 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 ReferenceSS244067
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  • Higham, Robert A., 1999, 'Castles, Fortified Houses and Fortified Towns in the Middle Ages' in Kain, R. and Ravenhill, W., Historical Atlas of South-West England (University of Exeter Press) p. 136-43
  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 47 (slight)
  • Cornish, J.B., 1906, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Cornwall Vol. 1 p. 466 online copy


  • Preston-Jones, Ann and Rose, Peter, 1986, 'Medieval Cornwall' Cornish Archaeology Hendhyscans Kernow Vol. 25 p. 135-185 online copy
  • Peter, O.B., 1902, 'The ancient earth-fenced town and village sites of Cornwall' Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall Vol. 15 p. 113 online copy


  • Pearce, Paul, 2009), Archaeological monitoring of fencepost removal at East Leigh Farm (Exeter Archaeology) online copy