Great Ilford Lavender Mount

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

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameGreat Ilford Lavender Mount
Alternative NamesUphall Camp
Historic CountryEssex
Modern AuthorityLondon Borough of Redbridge
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishRedbridge

".... Uphall .... a very remarkable ancient entrenchment : its form is not regular, but tending to a square; the circumference is 1792 yards ... inclosing an area of 48 acres ..... On the north, east and south sides it is single trenched : on the north and east sides the ground is dry and level ... and the trench from frequent ploughing almost filled up : on the south side is a deep morass : on the west side, which runs parallel with the river Roding .... is a double trench and bank : at the north west corner was an outlet to a very fine spring of water, which was guarded by an inner work, and a high keep or mound of earth (Lysons). Uphall Camp is situated on the left bank of the River Roding on ground which is naturally some 20' above the level of the river. It contained an area of over 48 acres. The best preserved portion is at the N.W. corner where the Lavender Mound and C.80 yards of the rampart survive under grass. The rampart, a single bank, remains around the N.E. quadrant (at its greate some 4' above the interior and 12' above the level outside) and on the south its line can be traced as a step in the ground level 3-5 1/2' high. In digging the foundations of Messrs. Howard's new factories a considerable amount of Roman pottery was found, including the larger portion of a decorated Samian bowl. (Crouch) The date of this earthwork is doubtful, but it does not appear to be pre-Roman. Lavender Mount is am irregular mound 21' high & 85' in diameter at the base. Roman pottery has been found in the camp, and urns containing burnt human bones are said to have come from here. Plan AO/59/54/7. (RCHME) "The earthwork is overgrown with trees. The height above ground level -- (6.5m.) -- is assessed from present ground level The whole area has been 'made up' considerably." (OS report 1960). The site is now covered by buildings. (OS report 1974)

In 1960 a watch was kept by Kenneth Marshall during destruction by building operations of the Lavender Mount and the northwest corner of Uphall Camp. The former proved to be no earlier than the 16th century and may have been a beacon mound erected upon the apparent position of the palisaded entrance to the camp. The rampart yielded pottery assigned by Marshall to Iron Age B of the 1st or 2nd century BC, but a re-assessment of the sherds in the Passmore Edwards Museum, Stratford, suggests that they are rather earlier than this and that this part of the defences can be placed in the Early or Middle Pre-Roman Iron Age. In January 1979 observation of a building trench cut in the bank next to St Luke's Vicarage showed that 0.5m of garden loam had been deposited against it. The present condition of Uphall Camp was examined by Peter Higgins. A remnant of the north bank survives at the south side of Baxter Road. The western slope of the camp is still clear some 20 ft above the River Roding and its turn to the north is visible. (Wilkinson; Powell) Excavation by P. Greenwood of Passmore Edwards Museum in advance of the redevelopment of the interior revealed occupation of Late Bronze/early Iron Age as well as pits, ditches and possible hut gullies of Roman date. (19-20). (PastScape)

Documentary and cartographic evidence (18th century) reveals that a small mound called Lavender Mount existed in the northeast of the ancient Uphall Camp (MLO22746). Rescue excavation Passmore Edwards Museum in 1961 & 1962 sectioned part of Lavender Mount and revealed that the 21ft high mound comprised part of a sixteenth century beacon which had been positioned over what appeared to be a palisaded entrance to the iron age hill fort. An alternative suggestion is that the mound is the last remaining part of a windmill. (Greater London HER)

Drawing conclusions from an absence of medieval finds in a highly damaged site should be treated with caution but there does not seem to be any real evidence this mound was a motte. There is nothing to suggest a defended medieval settlement here.

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ437852
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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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. 29
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 147
  • Powell, W.R. (ed), 1966, VCH Essex Vol. 5 p. 249-66 online transcription
  • RCHME, 1921, An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex Vol. 2: (central and south-west) p. XXVIII, 97, 99 no. 7 (plan) online transcription
  • Gould, Chalkley, 1903, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Essex Vol. 1 p. 281-2, 313 online copy
  • Lysons, Daniel, 1796, The Environs of London Vol. 4: Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent p. 57-8 online transcription


  • Haselgrove, C., 1989, University of London, Institute of Archaeology annual report Vol. 26 p. 27
  • 1985/6, Rescue News Vol. 38 p. 2
  • 1984-5, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 16 p. 128
  • 1984, The London archaeologist Vol. 4.14 p. 390
  • Eddy, M.R., 1983, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 15 p. 36-53
  • Wilkinson, P., 1978, Essex Archaeology and historyVol. 10p. 220-1, 258
  • Crouch, W., 1907, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 10 p. 19-25
  • Crouch, W., 1906, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 9 p. 408-12, 19-25
  • Gould, I.C., 1901, 'Early Defensive Earthworks' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 7 p. 15-38 esp. 30 (placed in Barking) online copy
  • Crouch, W., 1898, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 4 p. 291-3 (plan) online copy
  • Crouch, W., 1893, 'Ancient Entrenchments at Uphall, Near Barking, Essex' The Essex naturalist Vol. 7 p. 131-8 online copy
  • The London archaeologist Vol. 9/8 p. 207-216
  • Way, A., 1864, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 21 p. 94 online copy