Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle
There are earthwork remains
|Alternative Names||Rayleigh Castle
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
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
|OS Map Grid Reference||TQ804909