Castlefacts

England - South East - Hertfordshire - Rickmansworth; The More

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The buried remains of the Manor of the More, a great house of the late medieval period (with antecedents in a moated site dating from C13) lie on the south side of the flood plain of the Colne Valley. The site was excavated between 1952 and 1955, demonstrating two main phases of occupation before and after 1426, when a royal licence was granted for the construction of a large building. Three main periods of construction were identified prior to this date as well as three successive periods of adaption and aggrandisement. The earliest reference to the site dates from circa 1182 when the Manor of the More was granted by the Abbot of St Albans to Adam Aignel. Excavation uncovered no evidence as early as this, although by circa 1250-1300 (Period I) a small double island moated site had been constructed. The intervening arm, separating the two moats, was filled in around 1300-1350 (Period II) and partly overlain by a kitchen building. The construction work in Period III (c1350-1429) may coincide with the death of John Aignel in 1364 and saw the development of a new timber house on the northern island. This house was swept away in 1426 when Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, William Flete and others (Bishop of Durham), obtained a charter licensing them to construct an elaborate moated manor house. The house, constructed shortly thereafter (period IV) overlay the former dwelling. licensed again in 1458 to Sir Ralph Boteler. In the 1460s the house passed to George Neville, Archbishop of York, who elaborated on the work of his predecessors up to 1472 (period V). In 1522 the manor was in the hands of Cardinal Wolsley and was thus greatly embellished (period VI) with the addition of new wings and formal gardens. In 1531, the year after the cardinal's fall from favour, the manor was ceded to the Crown. Work continued on the complex (period VII), perhaps completing projects begun by Wolsey which include reversing the effects of neglect in the gardens

Other changes included creating King's and Queen's lodgings and a hunting park. (PastScape)

The licence of 1426 also allow the emparking of 600 acres of land in Rikmersworth and Watford. Site covered with dumped clay.