Barton Castle, Wield

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Questionable Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameBarton Castle, Wield
Alternative NamesBarton Copse
Historic CountryHampshire and the Isle of Wight
Modern AuthorityHampshire
1974 AuthorityHampshire
Civil ParishWield

A little earthwork in Barton Copse, Wield, is at the edge of the oak copse in the bottom of a hollow which runs out westwards.

It is roughly a square of c.50 yards bounded by a bank standing at most c.2 feet above the area and 3 feet above the bottom of the ditch. On the north face the ditch seems more marked along the inside of the bank; on the west the present hedge bank seems to be the original boundary of the enclosure. On the north side there are some flints along the bank which rather suggest a wall. There is no obvious original approach or entrance. It is just on the edge of the clay. It seems likely that the enclosure has to do with the Barton of the place-name (Williams-Freeman).

In a wood at some distance from Wield is the site of a destroyed house known as the Castle. It was probably a house of the Wallop family, but nothing of it now remains, its masonry having been, according to local report, carried off for building material in the village. (Parish of Wield in the Hundred of Fawley). (May possibly apply to this site, but see also SU 64 SW 16, traditional site of 'Hurst Castle', situated about 250m. outside the parish boundary of Wield) (VCH).

Nothing identifiable with the description by Williams-Freeman was seen in perambulation of Barton Copse. The ground is uneven and in the south of the area demarcated the wood has grown beyond the boundary bank and ditch marking its former west side. This bank and ditch has a profile similar to that described by Williams-Freeman (F1 WCW 04-NOV-56).

A motte and bailey type earthwork close to the right of way between Wield church (SU 63 NW 5) and Godsfield (SU 63 NW 7). Well defined walls suggest a date of mid - C12th. (Hants Treasures). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The Hampshire Treasures entry is reference as Freeman Williams and does not represent recent fieldwork. The VCH does suggest there was possibly a house here and Freeman Williams description of the site would not be inconsistent with the remains of a domestic house. He does not seem to be describing the site as a motte and bailey. The source of the Hampshire Treasures description of this as the site of a motte and bailey is unclear and may well be fanciful. Further investigation required but seems unlikely to have been a motte and bailey castle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU620380
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Williams-Freeman, J.P.,1915, An Introduction to Field Archaeology as Illustrated by Hampshire (London) p. 229, 422
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1908, VCH Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Vol. 3 p. 347 online transcription