Rayleigh Mount

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameRayleigh Mount
Alternative NamesRayleigh Castle
Historic CountryEssex
Modern AuthorityEssex
1974 AuthorityEssex
Civil ParishRayleigh

Motte and bailey situated in a commanding position on a spur overlooking the Crouch valley. Apparently built end of C11 by Suene (Sweyn), son of Robert Fitz-Wimarc. No masonry survives above ground. Plan consists of a strong keep-mound with a bailey to the E, and a possible outer bailey on the same side. Both the mound and the inner bailey are surrounded by a deep dry ditch, with a strong outer bank with traces of an external ditch on the N and W. A scarp drooping into gardens to the E and traces of ditches at the SE corner may represent the outer bailey. The natural contours of the ground contribute to the defences of the castle. The approach to the mound is by a causeway on the S side, and the entrance to the inner bailey appears to have been through the rampart on the N. The mound is 50ft high above the ditch on the NW side, and the inner bailey is 260ft by 150ft. Documentary evidence indicates that the castle site was occupied from c.1070 to the mid C14, with intensive occupation during the first 100 years, followed by intermittent development, and another period of intensive occupation late C13 and possibly early C14. No record has been found for a deliberate destruction of the castle. (Unlocking Essex's Past)

The Castle, mount and bailey (Plate, p. xxxvii), appears to be identical with that built about the end of the 11th century by Suene, son of Robert Fitz-Wimarc. It appears to have fallen into disuse in the 13th century or even earlier, and was ruinous in the 14th century (V.C.H., 1, p. 300, Essex Arch. Soc. Trans., N.S., XII; Morant, 1, p. 273). No masonry now stands above ground, but recent excavations have disclosed considerable quantities of stone and rubble in the inner bailey and on the N.E

slope of the mound.

The work is of special interest as a strong and well-preserved example of its type.

The castle is situated in a commanding position on a spur overlooking the valley of the Crouch, and depends for its defence to a great extent on the natural contours of the ground. The plan consists of a strong keep-mound with a bailey to the E. and an outer bailey on the same side. Both the mound and the inner bailey are surrounded by a deep dry ditch having on the N. and W. a strong outer bank with traces of an external ditch. The defences of the outer bailey are now represented by a scarp dropping into the gardens of the modern houses to the E., and by slight traces of ditches at the S.E. corner. From the foundations disclosed it appears that the inner bailey was enclosed within a stone wall, which probably continued up the causeway to the mound, and the rubble on the slope of the mound may be part of the keep which had been thrown down from the summit. The approach to the mound is by a causeway on the S. side, and the entrance to the inner bailey appears to have been through the rampart on the N. and along the eastern ditch of the mound. The mound is 50 ft. high above the ditch on the N.W. side and is 260 ft. long by 150 ft. wide, surrounded by a ditch which is 24 ft. below the scarp on the E. side. The dimensions of the outer bailey are not recoverable. (RCHME)

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 ReferenceTQ804909
Latitude51.5884284973145
Longitude0.603760004043579
Eastings580490
Northings190950
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. 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

  • Osbourne, Mike, 2013, Defending Essex (Stroud: The History Press) p. 21, 22, 24
  • Neville, David, 2003, Lost Castles of Essex (Ian Henry) p. 60-2
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 39
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 76
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford)
  • Loyn, H., 1989, 'Rayleigh in Essex, its implications for the Norman settlement' in Harper-Bill, C., Holdsworth, C.J. and Nelson, J.L. (eds), Studies in medieval history presented to R. Allen Brown (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 146
  • Helliwell, L. and Macleod, D.G., 1981, Documentary Evidence and Report on Excavations 1959-1961 and Report on Excavations 1969-1970 (Rayleigh Mount Local Committee)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 283
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 290-1
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 804 (slight)
  • RCHME, 1923, An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex Vol. 4 (south-east) p. 123-4 no. 2 online transcription
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 191-2 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Gould, Chalkley, 1903, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Doubleday, Arthur and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Essex Vol. 1 p. 299-300 online copy
  • Strutt, Joseph, 1774, Horda Angel-cynnan (London) Vol. 1 plate xxx
  • Morant, P., 1768, The history and antiquities of the county of Essex Vol. 1 p. 273

Journals

  • Guy, Neil, et al, 2011-12, 'CSG Annual Conference April 2011' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 25 p. 98-99
  • Godbold, S., 1997, 'The outer bailey at Rayleigh Castle: observation at 23 Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, 1991' Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 28 p. 290-2
  • Harfield, C.G., 1991, 'A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book' English Historical Review Vol. 106 p. 371-392 view online copy (subscription required)
  • 1998, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 29
  • 1997, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 28 p. 290-2
  • Milton, B. and Walker, H., 1987, 'Excavations at Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, Essex' Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 18 p. 39-44
  • 1986, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 17 p. 162
  • Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T., 1986, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 30 p. 134-5 download copy
  • 1984-5, Essex Archaeology and History Vol. 16 p. 132
  • Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T.B., 1984, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1983' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 28 p. 217 download copy
  • Rigold, S., 1975, 'Structural aspects of medieval timber bridges' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 19 p. 48-91 download copy
  • (Helliwell and McLeod), 1971, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 15 p. 145-6 download copy
  • (Helliwell and McLeod), 1970, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 14 p. 176 download copy
  • McLeod, 1970, Essex Journal p. 112-15
  • 1969, 'A find of Stephen coins at Rayleigh Mount (Essex).' British Numismatic Journal Vol. 38 p. 186-8
  • 1963 Spring, National Trust News Letter p. 38-9
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1955, 'Royal Castle-building in England 1154-1216' English Historical Review Vol. 70 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)) p. 19-64
  • Francis, E.B., 1913, 'Rayleigh Castle: new facts in its history and recent explorations on its site' Essex Archaeological Society Transactions Vol. 12 p. 147-185
  • Armitage, E., 1904 April, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 419-20 -[http://archive.org/stream/englishhistorica19londuoft#page/419/mode/1up]
  • Hope, W.H.St J., 1903, 'English Fortresses and Castles of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 60 p. 86 online copy
  • Round, 1895, Essex Archaeological Society Transactions Vol. 5 (new series) p. 41-3
  • Laver, 1893, Essex Archaeological Society Transactions Vol. 4 (new series) p. 172-8 (called a British work)

Guide Books

  • Helliwell, L. and MacLeod, D., 1965, Rayleigh Castle (Rayleigh Mount Local Committee) (revised edn 1981)
  • Voss, W.A., 1951, Rayleigh Mount (National Trust)

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book (II, 43b)
  • Pipe Rolls 1172-3, 1183-6 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)

Other

  • Medlycott, M., 1999, Rayleigh Historic Town Assessment Report (Essex County Council) Download copy
  • Plan of c. 1789 in Kerrich's collection (British Museum Add. MS. 6735)