Woodford Wood Motte, Milton Damerel

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameWoodford Wood Motte, Milton Damerel
Alternative NamesMilton Damerell; Milton Damarel
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishMilton Damerel

Sub-circular motte, stands on average 2.4m above its ditch and has an elliptical top, 16m by 10m, badly mutilated by a modern bank and ditch. It is encircled by a ditch, circa 6m wide and on average 1m deep, which has been damaged by a small quarry on the northwest. The sub-rectangular bailey measured 23m internally north east to south west and 27m north west to south east and is situated on lower ground to the north east of the motte, by which it is protected. There are other earthworks present. (PastScape)

This small motte and bailey lies at the northeastern end of a broad spur above a very steep sided valley of River Torridge. The motte has elliptical top 16 metres by 10 metres, badly mutilated by nearby modern bank and ditch. Motte ditch 6 metres wide average 1 metre deep damaged by small quarry on the north-west side. Sub-rectangular bailey 23 metres north-east to south-west and 27 metres north-west to south-east on lower ground to the north-east of the motte. The north-west bank and ditch are well preserved, that on south-east side is poorer and of a different character. At north and east angles, both bank and ditch turn and terminate abruptly, the intervening gap being a naturally steep slope possibly augmented by scarring. Original entrance lies in west angle protected by motte, and is represented by a causeway across and askew to the ditch. No evidence of internal structures. In addition a bank with outer 2 metre wide and 0.2 metre high lies parallel and 0.5 metres from the motte ditch, on the south-west side a similar bank forms a small sub-rectangular enclosure outside bailey entrance. These have been laid out with specific reference to the motte and the bailey entrance, and pre-date modern bank and ditch, possibly remains of outwork and barbican possibly palisade banks. Another low bank runs from bailey ditch to south-east for 20 metres to the edge of natural slope, with no obvious planned relationship to the main works

(Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card 1977).

A small mound in a large enclosure. Both are surrounded by clearly visible ditches, the outer being 2 metres deep and bank 1 metre high. Entrance on north side. Whole monument bisected by hedgebank and ditch which seems to be part of an old division of the woodland as suggested by old maps (Weston, S., 1979, Field Monument Warden Visit).

Motte and bailey of unusual form, the motte being formed by a crescentic bank at the W end of the bailey enclosure. Possibly an Iron Age enclosure modified by the insertion of a western bank. Its medieval history is undocumented, but it was probably founded in the 1130s or 1140s, during the Civil War. Its closeness to Durpley may reflect local antagonism (Higham 1979). (Devon and Dartmoor HER)

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 ReferenceSS397126
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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. 87 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 117
  • Wall, C., 1906, in Page, Wm (ed), 'Ancient Earthworks' VCH Devon Vol. 1 p. 619-20


  • Higham, R.A., 1988, 'Devon Castles: an annotated list' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol. 46 p. 142-9
  • Higham, R.A., 1982, 'Early Castles in Devon' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 101-116
  • Silvester, R.J. and Higham, R.A., 1980, 'Domestic Enclosures of Probable Medieval Date' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol. 38 p. 63-65