South Cove; The Mound

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameSouth Cove; The Mound
Alternative NamesFrostenden
Historic CountrySuffolk
Modern AuthoritySuffolk
1974 AuthoritySuffolk
Civil ParishSouth Cove

King writes moated mound, possible motte.

"A. O. visited this site on May 4 1954. It is as shown except that ploughing of the site has now largely filled up the ditch surrounding it.

The purpose of the mound must remain obscure until it has been properly excavated. Its dimensions are as shown with a height of about 8 feet from the present bottom of the ditch. The top of the mound is distinctly flat.

It has been suggested that it is a ship burial mound. This is improbable, for it is tucked in to the bottom of a small valley running down from the direction of Brick Kiln Farm into the marshy Alder Carr. On our present evidence burials of this kind may be expected to be placed on the highest available ground close to the water and much higher ground could easily be had here.

The other suggestion that it is a small defensive site of the "motte" type is not impossible, but once again it is very oddly sited in relation to the surrounding ground, all of which overtops it except on the side of the Alder Carr. It has also been suggested that the slight embayment of the marshy ground towards the mound is artificial and all that remains of a kind of artificial dock. Here again this is not impossible but very difficult to prove.

It will be best to continue to show it as Mound (NR)" (Field Investigators Comments-CW Phillips AO May 1954).

A much ploughed and spread artificial circular mound with ditch at TM 49318034. It is situated within the bottom of a shallow coombe towards the foot of a gentle W-facing slope of arable land and a few feet above an area of marshland. The mound is 56.0m in diameter and is 1.5 to 2.0m in height. The ditch is 16.0m in width and has a maximum depth of 0.7m. It fades out on the lower W side, and is overlaid by a positive lynchet on the N side.

The suggested embayment bordering the marshy ground to the SW of the mound is a line of natural slopes

The date and purpose of the earthwork was not determined. Its position rules out the possibility of it being a round barrow, motte, or windmill mound (Field Investigators Comments-F1 ASP 11-JAN-72).

A sea port existed at Frostenden at the time of the (Domesday) Survey. Morley and Cooper suggest that the mound surrounded by a moat is a Danish fort protecting a dock and a quay, the quay being visible at TM 49198029 as a small elevated terrace jutting into the marshland, with the dock 28 paces to the north. (PastScape)

Mound with surrounding ditch described as oval in 1951 and circular in 1972. Described as at Frostenden, actually South Cove. Trenched by Peter Woodard in Jan and Feb 1951, who found foundations of a palisade wall (?) with evidence of burning and the remains of timber within the wall. Various newspaper cuttings and trench plan mentions 'timber indications', 'quantities of black earth and stones (so called cooking stones)', 'burnt layer stones' and 'sherds (medieval) - thought to have been a Danish fort, the mound may be associated with LSax or EMed period'.10 May 1954: Described as being of same dimensions as shown (on OS plan - oval), about 8 feet high from ditch bottom, with distinctly flat top. 11 Jan 1972: Much ploughed and spread artificially circular mound with ditch towards foot of gentle W facing slope and a few feet above area of marshland. 56m diameter, 1.5m-2.0m high, 16.0m wide ditch, maximum depth 0.7m - fades out on lower W side and overlain by positive lynchet on N side. (Suffolk HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Now fairly isolated but clearly a centre of some sort in C11. Defensive consideration dismissing this as a castle are probably overstated, and based on false ideas about the function of castles. This is a ditched mound, with a palisade and clearly used in C11. Danish origin certainly possible but was there alteration by new Norman lord? There were three medieval manors in Covehithe, two of these were at South Cove.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTM493803
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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 88 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 460 (possible)
  • Copinger, W.A., 1908, Manors of Suffolk Vol. 2 p. 44 (tenurial history) online copy


  • Morley, C., and Cooper, E.R., 1923, 'The Sea Port of Frostenden' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 18.2 p. 167-179 online copy