Meppershall; The Hills

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameMeppershall; The Hills
Alternative NamesMeppenhall; Maperteshalam
Historic CountryBedfordshire
Modern AuthorityBedfordshire
1974 AuthorityBedfordshire
Civil ParishMeppershall

Motte measuring circa 25.0m by 30.0m, with baileys of irreuglar shape. The surrounding ditches are dry and there appears to be the remains of a contemporary sluice ditch on the North-East side. The motte and bailey are surrounded by the bank and ditch of an outer entrenchment in the form of a rough square enclosing about 30 acres. The whole site is largely devoid of habitation, and this outer enclosure is probably comtemporary with the motte and bailey. This motte may have been one of those besieged by King Stephen in 1138. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

A Charter of King Stephan is given to St. Radegund's Priory during the siege of Meppershall (apud Maperteshalam in obsidione). The dating of this charter, and the siege, is contested. Howlett suggested 1138 but Cronne and Davis suggest a date after 1147. Petre writes it is "unclear as to whether Meppershall was itself besieged or was used as a base by Stephen for a siege he mounted of Bedford." The caput of the Meppershall family who held the manor as tenant in chief. A family of local importance and occasional royal service in minor positions.

- 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 ReferenceTL132358
Latitude52.009521484375
Longitude-0.351429998874664
Eastings513250
Northings235850
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Nick Hawkes All Rights Reserved
Copyright Nick Hawkes All Rights Reserved
Copyright Nick Hawkes All Rights Reserved
Copyright Nick Hawkes All Rights Reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Petre, James Scott, 2012, The Castles of Bedfordshire (Lavenham: Lavenham Press for Shaun Tyas) p. 67-9 (plan)
  • Lowerre, A.G., 2005, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (Oxford: John and Erica Hedges Ltd: BAR British Series 385) p. 220-1
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of The Thames Valley and The Chilterns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 14
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 4 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 6
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 259
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 242
  • Wadmore, Beauchamp, 1920, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire (Bedford) p. 109-11
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Goddard, A.R., 1904, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Bedfordshire Vol. 1 p. 295-6
  • Howlett, R. (ed), 1886, Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I (Rolls series 82) Vol. 3 p. 31n online copy

Journals

  • Creighton, O.H., 2004, ''The Rich Man in his Castle, The Poor Man at His Gate': Castle Baileys and Settlement Patterns in Norman England' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 25-36
  • Baker, D., 1982, 'Mottes, Moats and ringworks in Bedfordshire: Beauchamp Wadmore revisited' Château Gaillard Vol. 9-10 p. 35-54 (plan)
  • Dyer, J.F., 1962-3, 'Bedfordshire Earthworks VIII, The Castles: Part One' Bedfordshire magazine Vol. 8 no. 63 p. 271

Primary Sources

  • Cronne, H.A. and Davis R.H.C. (eds), 1968, Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, 1066–1154 Vol. 3 Regesta regis Stephani ac Mathildis imperatricis ac Gaufridi et Henrici ducum Normannorum, 1135-54 p. 51 No. 138 online copy (Charter of Stephan dated apud Maperteshalam in obsidione )

Other

  • Lowerre, A.G., 2004, Placing Castles in the Conquest. Landscape, Lordship and Local Politics in the South-Eastern Midlands, 1066-1100 (PhD thesis: Boston College) p. 456-7