Stephens Mount, Crowmarsh

Has been described as a Certain Siege Work

There are no visible remains

NameStephens Mount, Crowmarsh
Alternative NamesCrowmarsh Gifford; Stephens Castle
Historic CountryOxfordshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishCrowmarsh

Has been assumed in the past to be the location of a siege castle. However, this is not supported by current evidence. The recorded features and dating evidence resulting from evaluation at Walter Wilder site did not meet the criteria for the possible presence of a siege castle.

In 1153 Henry, son of Maud, besieged a fort which Stephen had erected opposite Wallingford Castle. Few extant remains - few earthwork ditches. (Timbs and Gunn)

The 'ditch' alleged to have once formed part of the earthwork has for the most part been filled in but a fragment, 82m in length, survives at the west end. It is of very doubtful antiquity and is probably a comparatively modern drainage ditch. South of and at right angles to the Wallingford-Henley road there is a bank and ditch of feeble profile which occupies a position similar to those formerly north of the road but now destroyed. It is 60m in length and apparently continued in an easterly direction but it now fades out after 20m although its line may be indicated by the property boundary to houses south of the road which is also followed by a parish boundary. It may have formed part of Stephens Mount. (Field Notes/Field Visit. A Clarke (1961))

Crowmarsh Castle, 1146, built on 'impregnable site' made of wood; motte and bailey. End of second siege of Wallingford. 'A work of wondrous toil and skill' (Gervase of Canterbury). Duke Henry besieged castle in 1153, built defensive earthworks, probably ditch, and palisade round his force, then demolished it and withdrew to Berkshire side of river. Truce followed. (Slade)

Identified as siege or counter castle constructed against Wallingford Castle during Stephen's Reign. Nothing remains of this fortification, constructed in 1142 and most important of counter-castles round Wallingford. There used to be a feature called Stephen's Mound, lying north of road and west of church, but site has been levelled for industrial purposes and is now covered by houses

Resisted assaults by Angevin forces in 1153. Its purpose described as preventing sorties and raids. Documentary and archaeological updates. (Spurrell) (Oxfordshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Recent investigations have found the ditch of a circular ringwork comparable to Danes Castle and other Stephanic siege works at the site. 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 ReferenceSU613894
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • < >Michael Fradley, Duncan Wright and Oliver Creighton, 2016, 'Corfe, 'Crowmarsh Recreation Ground, South Oxfordshire' in Duncan Wright and Oliver Creighton (eds), Castles, Siegeworks and Settlements Surveying the Archaeology of the Twelfth Century (Oxford: Archaeopress Publishing Ltd) p. 49-56 < >
  • < >Christie, Neil, Creighton, Oliver et al, 2013, Transforming Townscapes From burh to borough: the archaeology of Wallingford AD 800-1400 (London: Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 35) < > p. 235-6
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 275
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 68
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 387
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 338
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 53 online copy


  • Laban, G., 2013, 'Evidence for a Stephanic siege castle at the Lister Wilder site, The Steet, Crowmarsh Gifford' Oxoniensia Vol. 78 p. 189-211
  • Christie, N., O'Sullivan, D., Creighton, O. and Hamerow, H., 2004, 'The Wallingford Burh to Borough research project: 2003 interim report' South Midlands Archaeology Vol. 34 p. 94–102
  • Speight, Sarah, 2000, 'Castle Warfare in the Gesta Stehani' _Château Gaillard_ l. 19 p. 269-274
  • Spurrell, M., 1995, 'Containing Wallingford Castle, 1146-53' Oxoniensia Vol. 60 p. 257-70 online copy
  • Slade, C.F., 1960, 'Wallingford Castle in the reign of Stephen' Berkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 58 p. 33-43 download copy