Burgh Castle

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameBurgh Castle
Alternative NamesBurrough Castle; Cnobersburg
Historic CountrySuffolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishBurgh Castle

Remains of a Roman-Saxon shore fort, probably built in the late C3 and evacuated in the early C5. The fort walls survive on three sides (north, south and east) and reach a height of c.4.6m and up to 3m thick; they are of coursed flint facing a concrete rubble core. At every 5-6 courses of flints are 3 courses of brick, giving a striated appearance to the walls. At the corners and at the centre of the shorter sides (north and south) are bulbous drum bastions which were probably added in C4. The wall on the west has collapsed and is no longer visible. The remains of the late C11 Norman motte and bailey occupied the south west quadrant of the fort, where it was visible at one time as a large earthen mound encircled by a ditch. The mound was partly removed circa 1770 and completely levelled in 1839, and the ditch was infilled, although it survives as a buried feature and has been recorded as a crop mark enclosing an oval area measuring circa 72m north-south by 53m east-west. A section excavated across the ditch on the east side established that it is circa 4m deep and that the lowest levels of fill are waterlogged. On the south east side a breach circa 18m wide in the south curtain wall marks where the ditch cuts through, and traces of the southern edge of the mound above the scarp of the inner edge of the ditch remain visible against the outer side of the wall to the west of the breach. Approximately a quarter of the area formerly covered by the mound was also excavated and found to contain several large, clay-filled pits, identified as foundations for part of a timber sub-structure to support the tower, also of timber, which stood on top of the mound. The remainder of the fort, to the north and east of the motte, was adapted for use as the bailey of the castle

A north-south bank, remains of which were observed in the excavations at the north west corner, is thought to have been constructed at this time to block the gap on the western side of the fort left by the collapse of the north end of the original Roman wall on that side. The broken western end of the north wall was reinforced by a large earthen mound heaped against its outer face up to 6m high above the falling ground level to the north. Post-Conquest occupation of the fort is confirmed by finds of C11/C12 pottery. (Derived from Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTG475046
Latitude52.5820083618164
Longitude1.65087997913361
Eastings647500
Northings304600
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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 76
  • Liddiard, Robert, 2005, 'The Castle Landscape of Anglo-Norman East Anglia: A Regional Perspective' in Harper-Bill, C. (ed), Medieval East Anglia (Woodbridge, Boydell) p. 33-51
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 74
  • Martin, Edward, 1999 (3edn), 'Medieval Castles' in Dymond, David and Martin, Edward (eds) An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (Lavenham) p. 58-9
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)
  • Margeson, S., Seiller, F. and Rogerson, A., 1994, The Normans in Norfolk (Norfolk Museums Service) p. 24
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 200, 357
  • Johnson, Stephen, 1983, Burgh Castle, excavations by Charles Green, 1958–61 (Dereham: East Anglian Archaeology 20)(digital reprint 2003)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 459-60
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 197
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 124
  • Dahl, 1913, The Roman Camp and the Irish Saint at Burgh Castle (London) p. 25
  • Wall, 1911, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Suffolk Vol. 1 p. 587-8 online copy
  • Copinger, W.A., 1909, Manors of Suffolk Vol. 5 p. 18-22 (tenurial history) online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 274-5 online copy
  • King, Edward, 1801, Munimenta antiqua or Observations on antient castles (W.Bulmer and Co) Vol. 2 p. 55 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 269
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 p. 58-61 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 447
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 25 online copy

Journals

  • Liddiard, Robert, 2006, 'Early castles in the Medieval Landscape of East Anglia' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 243-50
  • (Green), 1962-3, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 6-7 p. 311 download copy
  • (Green), 1961, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 319 download copy
  • Thompson, M.W., 1961, 'Motte Sunstructures' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 305-6 online copy
  • Morris, A.J. and Hawkes, C.F.C., 1950-51, 'The Fort of the Saxon Shore at Burgh Castle, Suffolk' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 106 p. 66-9 online copy
  • Morris, A.J., 1947, 'The Saxon shore Fort at Burgh Castle' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 24.2 p. 100-120 online copy
  • Redstone, V.B., 1903, 'Notes on Suffolk Castles. 'II. Burgh Castle' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 11.3 p. 308-314 online copy

Guide Books

  • Johnson, Stephen, 1978, Burgh Castle (HMSO)