Ramsey Booths Hill

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameRamsey Booths Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryHuntingdonshire
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishRamsey

Within the moat surrounding Ramsey Abbey, and near its southern side, is a curious mound surrounded by a moat. The mound, which goes by the name of Booth's Hill, is not large, but it has been adapted as an ice house in recent years, so its present form cannot be guaranteed as original; it now rises some 16ft above the bottom of the moat, which is itself 4ft below the surrounding surface. It stands about the middle of the S side of the Inclosure, which is 310ft long by about 120ft wide. Within the Inclosure, eastwards of the mound, is a large pond, and there are also three other depressions, but some of these may be Mod. It is possible that this little castle was erected by Geoffrey de Mandeville for his own use when he took possession of the Abbey and quartered his soldiers there. He was killed in 1144, and his son removed the soldiers to Wood Walton. (Pevsner, 1968)

The only visible earthworks in Ramsey are those at Booth’s Hill to the south of the abbey site. They consist of a motte surrounded by a moat of irregular oval shape (c. 90m x 35m) which is some 5m at its widest point. The mound of the motte is about 3.5m. To the east there are a large pond and three smaller (modern?) depressions. This motte has been traditionally associated with Geoffrey de Mandeville who took possession of the abbey and quartered his soldiers there during 1140-1144. The mound was converted into an icehouse much later. The western part of this site is presently occupied by 29 Hollow Lane. During the Fenland Survey sherds of fourteenth- seventeenth century pottery and a large quantity of seventeenth century building debris were recorded at this location (Hall 1992, 48). (Cambridgeshire Extensive Urban Survey: Ramsey.)

Gatehouse Comments

Little motte of about 1140-1144. This is not recorded in the PastScape. On OS map of 1891 it looks like a small motte with square bailey to west. Was this part of the fortification associated with nearby Ramsey Abbey in 1143. Mound still there but overgrown, but possible bailey now built over.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL292848
Latitude52.4457397460938
Longitude-0.0999799966812134
Eastings529220
Northings284800
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright David Dearden and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Hall, D., 1992, The Fenland Project 6: Southwestern Cambridgeshire Fens (East Anglian Archaeology 56)
  • Taylor, Alison, 1986, Castles of Cambridgeshire (Cambridge)
  • Pevsner, N., 1968, Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough p. 335
  • RCHME, 1926, An inventory of the historical monuments in Huntingdonshire p. 208-9 no. 3 (plan) online transcription
  • Inskip Ladds, S., 1926, in Page, Wm and Proby, Granville (eds), VCH Huntingdonshire Vol. 1 p. 291-2 view unattributed online copy

Other

  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 33 online copy
  • Cambridgeshire Extensive Urban Survey: Ramsey. Draft Report 29/01/2004. online copy