Brightwell

Has been described as a Possible Siege Work, and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameBrightwell
Alternative NamesBretewell
Historic CountryBerkshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishBrightwell Cum Sotwell

Earthwork remains of two sides of a possible medieval moat around the southern and western sides of Brightwell Manor centred at SU 5778 9076. The total length of visible ditch measures 260m, the western side 90m and the southern side 170m at an angle of 108 degrees. A castle is documented in 1153 when it was destroyed by Henry II's troops who took it from Wallingford. Evidently a siege castle to Wallingford. This mound is unlikely to be the site of the siege castle. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Considered an unlikely site by King, but no other author seems to have a problem with this being a siege castle of Wallingford. This was a large moat which formerly included the church and the manor house. If this was the site of the recorded siege castle then it would seem likely that the castle was a strengthening of existing thegnal burh. It is also possible that the nearby Iron Age hill fort, Sinodun Castle Hill, could have been used (or, indeed, both sites may have been used). The Brightwell site is clearly a fortified manor and unusual in including the church within the moat, which is suggestive of an Anglo-saxon origin. The mound may be demolition rubble, a farm waste mound or a small motte marking the knightly status of a Norman tenant. The moat may have been recut and straightened in a later period. The location of 'Bretewelle' is contested and may be Britwell Salome. See Wallingford Castle and Wallingford siege castles for further information and bibliographies.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU577907
Latitude51.6124992370605
Longitude-1.16796004772186
Eastings457780
Northings190760
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 65
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 8 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 13
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 194
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker)
  • Salzman, L.F., (ed), 1939, VCH Oxfordshire Vol. 1 p. 269 online transcription
  • Page, Wm and Ditchfield, P.H. (eds), 1923, VCH Berkshire Vol. 3 p. 464 online transcription
  • 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. 170-1 online copy

Journals

  • Spurrell, M., 1995, 'Containing Wallingford Castle, 1146-53' Oxoniensia Vol. 60 p. 257-70 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Howlett, R. (ed.), 1890, Chronicles of the reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I Vol. 4 Torigni, Robert of. Chronicle (Rolls Series 82) p. 174 online copy
  • Sewell, R.C. (ed), 1846, Gesta Stephani, Regis Anglorum et Ducis Normannorum p. 115 online copy (The newer edition and translation by Potter, K.R. (ed), 1976 (2edn), Gesta Stephani (Oxford University Press) should be consulted for serious study. See also Speight, S., 2000, 'Castle Warfare in the Gesta Stephani' , Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 19 [see online transcription > http://web.archive.org/web/20101229213751/http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/speight.htm])