Plowden Mill Ringwork

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NamePlowden Mill Ringwork
Alternative Names
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishLydbury North

The ringwork 90m south east of Plowden Mill is a fine example of this class of monument. Rectangular ringworks are very rare nationally, the majority being circular or irregular in plan. The form of the ringwork is unusual in that the interior has been been raised above the level of the surrounding land. Within the interior the remains of the structures will survive as buried features, which together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the activities and lifestyles of those who inhabited the site. In addition, organic remains preserved in the buried ground surface beneath the raised interior and deposited within the ditches will provide information about the local environment and the use of the land prior to and following the construction of the ringwork.

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork, situated at the western end of a low ridge above the steep southern valley side of the River Onny. From this location there are extensive views of Onny valley and the surrounding uplands. The ringwork is rectangular in plan measuring approximately 42m north to south by 47m east to west. On the southern and eastern sides, where the ground gently rises, it is defined by a ditch between 7m and 8m wide. The spoil excavated from the ditch has been used to create a steep-sided, flat-topped mound raised by as much as 1.8m on the eastern side and up to 2.8m on the other sides. Along the southern and eastern sides of this raised platform are the remains of an earthen bank. The height of the bank on the southern side is considerably lower than that to the east, averaging 0.5m high. At the south eastern corner the bank stands about 1m high and rises to 2.7m at the north eastern end. Within the interior, which measures approximately 21m by 25m, are slight undulations, which are considered to mark the positions of former buildings

(Scheduling Report)

The feature was previously thought to have been a homestead enclosure and was recorded as such under SO 18 NE 18 (now deleted and all references transferred to this record). When surveyed in 1973 the bank rose 1.8 metre above the enclosed area and 3.7 metres above the bottom of the 1.6 metre deep ditch. The enclosed area measured 25 metres E-W and by 20 metres transversely. (PastScape)

An early medieval (or possibly late Saxon) 'ringwork' (small earthwork fortification), with an unusual rectangular form.

Sited on the top of a steep river terrace above the south bank of the River Onny. The land falls away steeply to the N and W and more gently to the East. The site is a square earthwork with a bank and ditch on the South and East sides. The natural angle of the river terrace has been utilised by the construction of this bank and ditch on the S& E sides to form a square enclosure. There are no defences on the N and W sides due to the elevation of the site here being sufficient defence. The defences are very strong, particularly on the E side where the bank rises 1.8m above the enclosed area and 3.7m above the bottom of the 1.6m deep ditch. The bank on the S side rises c0.7m above the enclosed area. The enclosed area measures c 25m E/W by 20m. The enclosure is approached by an original ramp entrance in the SW corner, 2m in width. The ditch is dry. The site is in good condition and appears to be relatively undisturbed . The size and strength of the defences seem to rule against it being a moated site. Approx 25m to its south is a ditch or holloway running E/W and ending at a wood. It is c 150m long, and c 2.5m deep and 6m wide (Watson Michael D. 1980. Site Visit Form). (Shropshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Appears to have been scheduled as a ringwork as recently as 2001 although previously known as a homestead enclosure, despite the fairly obvious description of a partial ringwork given in 1980. Consequently it has not been included in the usually castle gazetteers. Plowden was a hamlet with the very large manor of Lydbury North of the bishop of Hereford. This site may represent the house of the Plowden family who certainly had knightly members (Roger de Plowden was at the siege of Acre in 1194) and who held the house and associated lands from the bishop for a full knight's fee in 1255.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSO385870
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  • Eyton, R.W., 1860, Antiquities of Shropshire (London: John Russell Smith) Vol. 11 p. 219- (tenurial history) online copy


  • English Heritage, 2001, Scheduling Papers (New Scheduling, 18/09/2001)