Lavendon Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameLavendon Castle
Alternative NamesLaverdon; Lavendene
Historic CountryBuckinghamshire
Modern AuthorityMilton Keynes
1974 AuthorityBuckinghamshire
Civil ParishLavendon

Lavendon Castle, a motte and bailey castle with two associated lesser enclosures. The motte has been reduced and modified from its original form so that today it survives as a low flat-topped platform some 80m diameter and up to 1.4m high: the proportions suggest that the motte was never of great height. The primeter scarp of the platform remains intact around its southern and western arcs only, the north and east sides being disturbed and overlain by 17th century farm buildings. Sections of a once surrounding ditch are visible around the northern and southern quarters of the platform, the former in the shape of a small pond 30m long by 10m wide, The main bailey lies adjacent to the NE side of the motte, though details of the actual junction are today obscured by modern farm buildings. The bailey comprises a rectangular enclosure with internal dimensions of some 130m NW to SE by some 70m NE to SW. This is bounded by an internal rampart of massive proportions which stands up to 4m high along its eastern side. Outside this rampart is an equally substantial ditch up to 2.9m deep and 10m wide which may have linked with that surrounding the motte at its NW and SW corners; ponds exist today in both of these areas. The interior of the bailey is approached by an original and slightly inturned entrance midway along its SE side. A second possible entrance, modified by later mutilation, links the interior of the main bailey to a secondary enclosure adjacent to its NW side. This secondary enclosure has dimensions of 160m NW to SE by 90m transversely. It is non-defensive in nature and, though an integral part of the medieval complex, post dates the main bailey, abutting on to its western side. It is enclosed around its uphill north side by a low bank 0.9m high and around its southern side by by a scarp 2.5m high. Apart from the entrance to the main bailey, a second simple entrance is located midway along the NW side

A roughly circular mound 15m in diameter and up to 1m high lies immediately outside this enclosure at its north-western corner and may be associated. A third enclosure lies adjacent to the N side of the motte, the S side being formed by the motte itself. It measures some 110m SW to NE and is up to some 50m wide, bounded by a bank up to 2m high with an outer ditch 5m wide and 0.5m deep, it is contemporary with the other elements of the complex. Other lesser earthworks in the form of linear banks, surface undulations and an old hollow way lies in the field to the immediate S and are probably associated, Little is known about the history of the site, though a castle at Lavendon is recorded as early as 1192. when the occupier was Henry of Clinton. It is believed to have been built by the baronial family of Bidun, who held the manor in the later 12th century before the later passing into the hands of the Pevers, A reference in 1231 mentions a chapel on the site with the Abbot of Lavendon being responsible for services twice weekly. The castle seems to have been demolished by the 1530s. (EH Scheduling Report, 1994)

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 ReferenceSP917543
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 35
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 28
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 252
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 222
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1927, VCH Buckinghamshire Vol. 4 p. 380, 387 online transcription
  • RCHME, 1913, An inventory of the historical monuments in Buckinghamshire Vol. 2 (north) p. 17, 163-4 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 146-7 online copy
  • Sheahan, J., 1862, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire (London) p. 553 online copy
  • Lipscomb, G., 1847, History and Antiquities of Buckinghamshire Vol. 4 p. 2-5


  • Brown, T. and Everson, P., 2005, 'Earthworks at Lavendon' Records of Buckinghamshire Vol. 45 p. 45-46
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 314
  • Cantor, L.M. and Hatherly, J., 1977, 'The medieval parks of Buckinghamshire' Records of Buckinghamshire Vol. 20.3 p. 444
  • Britnell, Richard, 24 April 1964, 'A History of Lavendon' Bucks Standard Newspaper
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Jope, E.M. and Threlfall, R.I., 1959, 'The Twelfth-Century Castle at Ascot Doilly, Oxfordshire: Its History and Excavation' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 39 p. 239n1

Primary Sources

  • Stenton, D.M. (ed.), 1927, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the fifth year of the reign of King Richard the First, Michaelmas 1193 (Pipe Roll 39) (Pipe Roll Society Publications 41)
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 433 online copy