Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown)

There are no visible remains

Alternative NamesBenhamcastle; Benham-castle; Bonhamcastle
Historic CountrySurrey
Modern AuthoritySurrey
1974 AuthoritySurrey
Civil ParishDorking

Alleged Castle Site, noted by Aubrey in the 17th century as being located in 'Bonhamcastle Meadow, in which once stood a fortress destroyed by the Danes, of which nought now remains but a large ditch'. Subsequent searches for records or visible remains have been unsuccessful. (SHHER)

Mr. Aubrey observes that 'over against the church of Dorking is a meadow, called 'Benhamcastle' Meadow,in which once stood a fortress destroyed by the Danes, of which nought now remains but a large ditch.' (Bray, 1789) The earls had a manor house in Dorking: but though Aubrey mentions traces of a castle, there are neither records nor visible remains (VCH). Inspection of old maps at Kingston Record Office was negative. 1842 Tithe Map was not available for inspection. The area is completely built over (F1 ASP 07-JAN-60). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Entirely feasible site for a Norman castle and/or saxon thegnal site, not unusual in being wrongly attributed to the Danes. Aubrey mentions a ditch, not a mound, so not a misinterpreted barrow. Probably serious damaged even by the late C17 so what form this site actually took is unknowable but both the tenurial history and the location do favour this as the site of a early timber castle. A meadow 'over against the church' may suggest a site north of the church on the plain of the river in an area not particular built over but one which will have been subject to flooding and rapid alluvial infill of ditches.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ165495
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  • Malden, H.E. (ed), 1911, VCH Surrey Vol. 3 p. 146 online transcription
  • Aubrey, J., 1719, Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey Vol. 4 p. 187


  • Bray, Wm, 1789, 'Some account of a Roman road leading from Southampton by Chichester and Arundell, through Sussex and Surrey to London, so far as the same is found in Surrey' Archaeologia Vol. 9 p. 102 online copy


  • Surrey County Council, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Surrey (English Heritage) Download copy