Berden; The Rookery

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are no visible remains

NameBerden; The Rookery
Alternative NamesCumber Hills
Historic CountryEssex
Modern AuthorityEssex
1974 AuthorityEssex
Civil ParishBerden

Small ringwork Excavated by Knocker, finds included C12-C13 pottery. Surrounded by a U-shaped ditch, overall diameter c180ft, central area 72ft across. Ditch 5-6ft deep, filled with c2ft of wet silt. Finds also included a C12 pot in the make-up of the bank, a C13 pot in the central hearth. A map of 1602 shows the earthworks somewhat sketchily as a rectangle (with S P Plowden at Berden Hall?). On an RAF photo donated by Mrs Angela Colne, a note says 'The interior of this work is boggy and contains water. Destroyed by ploughing and the name 'The Rookery' is no longer used locally (1975). The field in which the earthwork stands was called 'Cumber Hills' in 1839. 1950 the moat was permanently dry for half its circumference on the south side. It is suggested that it was unfinished and that it predated the similar site at TL 46952895. By 1966 the site had been completely ploughed out. Excavation 1954 by G.M. Knocker on behalf of the DOE. Report TEAS NS 25, 258 suggests C12-C13 date on basis of finds. (Derived from Unlocking Essex's Past)

Gatehouse Comments

Destruction seems complete with nothing now visible on air photo. Comparison with Berden Crump and a knowledge of the tenurial history of Berden needed for a proper understanding of this site.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL465291
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

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  • Osbourne, Mike, 2013, Defending Essex (Stroud: The History Press) p. 24
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 23
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 143
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 107
  • RCHME, 1916, An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex Vol. 1 (north-west) p. 26 No. 22 online transcription


  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Knocker, G.M., 1958, 'The Rookery and ringwork at Berden, Essex' Essex Archaeological Society Transactions Vol. 25 p. 257-62