Hamstead Marshall 1 – 'siege' castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Siege Work

There are earthwork remains

NameHamstead Marshall 1 – 'siege' castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryBerkshire
Modern AuthorityWest Berkshire
1974 AuthorityBerkshire
Civil ParishHamstead Marshall

The site comprises an unfinished motte with no trace of a bailey. The mound, which is circular in plan stands to a maximum height of 7m above the ditch bottom on the finished NW side. It declines in height southwards and on the SE and E there is no mound as such only the marking out bank for its base. The incomplete, oval enclosure, 70m by 60m, defined by 1 ditch was centred at SU 4299 6661. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Within the park of Hampstead. The location could be that of a hunting lodge (or even a viewing platform associated with hunting) and not necessarily of a siege castle as it is sometimes described, but there is some evidence that Hamstead Marshall Conquest castle was besieged in 1152 so such a suggestion can not be entirely dismissed and Oliver Creighton does accept this as a C12 siege work. I continue to have some doubt as the unfinished mound does seem to be intended as a mound, rather than as a small ringwork - the form of the certain sieges works of this period (i.e Danes Castle, Exeter and The Rings at Corfe.)

- 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 ReferenceSU429666
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • < >Duncan Wright, Michael Fradley and Oliver Creighton, 2016, 'Hamstead Marshall, Castle I, Berkshire' in Duncan Wright and Oliver Creighton (eds), Castles, Siegeworks and Settlements Surveying the Archaeology of the Twelfth Century (Oxford: Archaeopress Publishing Ltd) p. 82-95 < >
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 21
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 8 (slight)
  • Bonney, D.J. and Dunn, C.J., 1989, 'Earthwork castles and settlement at Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire' in Bowden, M., Mackay, D. and Topping, P. (eds), From Cornwall to Caithness: some aspects of British field Archaeology. Papers presented to Norman V Quinnell (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports British Series 209) p. 173-82
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 11
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 199


  • Duncan Wright, Oliver Creighton, Steven Trick and Michael Fradley, 2015, 'Fieldwork in conflict landscapes: Surveying the archaeology of 'The Anarchy' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 59 p. 313-319
  • Edwards, D.M., 2000, 'The mystery of the Hamstead Marshall castles' Postern Vol. 11 p. 22-3
  • Higgot, Tony, 1998, 'Is Newbury's Mediaeval Castle at Hamstead Marshall?' Transactions of the Newbury District Field Club Vol 14 No. 2/3 p. 28-29
  • Renn, D.F., 1959, 'Mottes: a classification' Antiquity Vol. 33 p. 106-12 (listed as precursor to Hamstead Marshall)
  • Grinsell, L.V., 1936, 'An Analysis and List of Berkshire Barrows' Berkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 40 p. 56 download copy
  • Myres, J.N.L., 1932, Transactions of the Newbury District Field Club Vol. 6 p. 114-26 plans


  • Linford, N., 1997, Hamstead Marshall Berkshire, Report on geophysical surveys, 1996. (Ancient Monuments Laboratory report 2/97) online copy