East Chelborough Stake Farm

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Siege Work

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameEast Chelborough Stake Farm
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDorset
Modern AuthorityDorset
1974 AuthorityDorset
Civil ParishEast Chelborough

This site appears to be the remains of a motte and bailey castle. The motte, at the W end, is about 6 feet high on the north and more on the south side. It is irregular in shape and measures 30 yards by 50 yards. There are no traces of a ditch but to the east are the scarps of an irregularly shaped bailey enclosing about 2 acres. Dampness at this site may have caused the removal to the ridge top site (RCHME).

This site is in very poor condition, the motte fairly flat 1.5m high on the north side and up to 4.0m high on the south side. The scarp which presumably represents the bailey averages 6.0m wide and is from 1.0m to 2.0m high.

The break in the scarp at the north end is probably modern (F1 NVQ 23-NOV-71). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

This is separated from a ringwork, Castle Hill by a farm. Speculation about the relationship between the two sites is unsupported by evidence but usually seems to suggest one site being replaced by the other. It may well be better to consider these two sites as one site with several phases of development and with the farm occupying the site of a bailey. It should also be noted King called this a 'possible' site, which seems in his terminology to mean he had serious doubts about it, and this may not be a motte at all but a later earthwork possibly reflecting agricultural practices.

- 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 ReferenceST553054
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Creighton, O.H., 2002, Castles And Landscapes: Power, Community And Fortification In Medieval England (Continuum) p. 55
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Wessex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 22
  • Pomeroy, Colin, 1998, Discover Dorset Castles and Forts (Dovecote Press) p. 26
  • Wilton, P., 1995, Castles of Dorset (Wimborne)
  • Lewis, C., 1989, 'Paired mottes in East Chelborough, Dorset' in Bowden, M., Mackay, D. and Topping, P. (eds), From Cornwall to Caithness: some aspects of British field Archaeology. Papers presented to Norman V Quinnell (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports British Series 209) p. 159-71
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 129 (possible)
  • RCHME, 1952, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 1: west (HMSO) p. 90 No. 3 online transcription


  • Renn, D.F., 1959, 'Mottes: a classification' Antiquity Vol. 33 p. 106-12 (listed as siegework)


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk South West Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 141 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South West Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 142 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 150 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 144 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 158 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 145 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 140 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 South West (London: English Heritage) p. 146 online copy