Long Buckby

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

There are earthwork remains

NameLong Buckby
Alternative NamesThe Mounts
Historic CountryNorthamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough
Modern AuthorityNorthamptonshire
1974 AuthorityNorthamptonshire
Civil ParishLong Buckby

Long Buckby is one of seven surviving ringworks in Northamptonshire and has two largely undisturbed peripheral baileys. The ringwork is well documented historically and through partial excavation. It will retain considerable potential for the preservation of archaeological evidence concerning the development of the buildings and defences of the ringwork and the baileys.

The Castle ringwork at Long Buckby, known locally as The Mounts, lies in the centre of the village. The ringwork consists of a roughly oval bank 4m high which surrounds a central area 23m x 15m. The interior of the ringwork is raised slightly above the surrounding land surface and on the west side of the ringwork the bank is lower indicating the original entrance to the interior. The ringwork is surrounded by a ditch up to 2m deep in places, although this has been partially filled in on the east side. To the west of the ringwork lies the remains of a peripheral sub-rectangular bailey which originally extended as far as the east side of Harbidges Lane. The north western part of this bailey was destroyed in 1955 when houses were built on the site. To the east of the ringwork is located a second peripheral sub-rectangular bailey, the extent of which is marked by the remains of a shallow ditch and slight bank indicating the outer rampart of the bailey. Along the south side of the monument are the remains of a hollow-way which runs for the whole length of the site. In the 18th century substantial foundation walls were recorded at this site. In 1955 a small excavation in the north west corner of the site, carried out prior to house building, revealed that the bailey had been enclosed by a wall, and that this had been superseded by a bank and deep external ditch. A building of 12th century date was also discovered with a curtain wall. The ringwork and bailey is believed to have been built by the de Quincy family in the 12th century

The family were created Earls of Winchester and held the main manor of Long Buckby from the time of Henry II until 1264. (Scheduling Report)

Ring and bailey (SP 625675; Figs. 100 and 102), known as Long Buckby Castle, a little to the W. of the village on almost flat ground on Boulder Clay at 137 m. above OD. Nothing is known of its history. However, on the assumption that it was built in its present form after the mid 12th century (see evidence from excavation below), it was perhaps constructed by the de Quincy family, later Earls of Winchester, who by Henry II's reign held the main manor of Long Buckby and who continued to hold it until 1264 (VCH Northants., I (1902), 379).

The ring motte consists of a roughly oval area enclosed by a bank 4 m. high, surrounded by a wide ditch as much as 2 m. deep in places. The ditch on the E. has been filled in in recent times, but the outline is still revealed by the vegetation. There is a gap in the centre of the W. side of the bank, though whether this is original is now impossible to determine. To the W. are slight traces of an irregular bailey bounded on the N. by a shallow ditch only 0.5 m. deep. Although the whole of the N.W. corner has been destroyed by modern housing, a plan made before the houses were built shows that the bailey extended as far as the E. side of Harbidges Lane. The S. side of this bailey is now edged by a steep scarp up to 2 m. high which also forms the N. side of a deep hollow-way running S.E. from Harbidges Lane along the S. side of the whole site. A narrow ditch in the S.E. corner, joining this hollow-way to the motte ditch, may be part of the original bailey ditch. To the W. of this ditch and thus within the assumed bailey is a large irregular mound which is perhaps the only remaining trace of the bailey rampart.

It has been suggested that there was another, larger bailey to the E. of the motte but the ground there has been entirely levelled for playing fields and no indications of one can now be seen. The form of the hollow-way on the S. side may have led to the belief that this was once part of a bailey.

In the early 18th century Bridges ( Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 544) noted that old foundation walls 'eight or ten feet' thick had been found at Long Buckby Castle. In 1955 a small excavation was carried out, across the N. ditch of the W. bailey before destruction. The tentative conclusions from this were that a shallow ditch, perhaps of an enclosure and possibly of pre-conquest or early post-conquest date, was superseded first by a wall and subsequently by a bank with a deep external ditch. Behind the wall stood a small stone building of 12th-century date. At a later date a curtain wall was constructed around the bailey ( J. Northants. Natur. Hist. Soc. and FC, 33 (1956), 55–66; plans and notes in Dryden collection, Central Library, Northampton; air photographs in NMR; RAF VAP 543/RAF/2337, 0374–5). (RCHME)

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 ReferenceSP625675
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  • Thompson, M.W., 1955-59, 'Trial excavation on the west bailey of a ring motte and bailey at Long Buckby, Northants' Journal of the Northamptonshire NaturaI History Society and Field Club Vol. 33 p. 55-66


  • Glenn Foard, J Ballinger, J Taylor, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire County Council, English Heritage) Download copy
  • Lowerre, A.G., 2004, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (PhD thesis: Boston College) p. 547-49