Wormegay Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameWormegay Castle
Alternative NamesWormgay
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishWormegay

A motte and bailey castle in Wormegay village. The motte is visible as a large, sub-circular earthen mound 5m high and measuring about 77m by 62m at the base, surrounded on the north, west and south sides by a ditch 12m-15m wide which remains open to a depth of 2m. On the top of the mound is a slightly uneven platform on which would have stood a tower. The bailey adjoins the motte on the eastern side and takes the form of an enclosure measuring 150m by 88m, raised about 1m above the external ground level and bounded by a semicircular ditch which runs outward from the motte ditch and ranges in width from 9m on the south side to 19m on the east. The castle was probably built by Hermer de Ferrers after the Norman Conquest. (PastScape)

The remaining earthworks of a fine medieval motte and bailey castle situated on the west side of what was once an island in the peat fen to the south of the River Nar, controlling the causeway between the island and the higher ground to the west. The present village is thought to have developed around the castle after the Norman Conquest, replacing an earlier settlement in the vicinity of St Michael's Church to the east. The motte is visible as a large broadly circular tree-covered mound about 5m high, surrounded on three sides by a ditch, with a ditched bailey to the east. (Norfolk HER)

Gatehouse Comments

There is some discussion as to if there was a Saxon manor house on this site. Village nucleation came relatively late to Norfolk and was not always complete so it is possible there were two or more centres in Wormegay but it does seem unusual for the church and manor house to do quite so far apart and it does seem there was only one manor in Wormegay. In the Saxon landscape Wormegay must have been an island of cultivatable land surrounded by marsh with the castle at the neck of a causeway onto the 'island'. Particularly fine bailey the rampart is well preserved and shows signs of being built in short straight sections to form the general curve, suggesting the bank was made by infilling soil between two upright hurdles about 2m apart.

- 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 ReferenceTF659117
Latitude52.6778907775879
Longitude0.452160000801086
Eastings565930
Northings311730
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
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Copyright Ben Harris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • 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
  • Cushion, B. and Davison, A., 2003, Earthworks of Norfolk (Dereham: East Anglian Archaeology 104) p. 184-5 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, Index and Amendments to Mike Salter's English Castles Books (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 9
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 71
  • Liddiard, R., 2000, Landscapes of Lordship (British Archaeological Reports British Series 309) p. 31-3, 75-9
  • Wade-Martins, P. (ed), 1999, Norfolk From The Air Vol. 2 (Norfolk Museums Service) p. 39
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 164 (slight)
  • Margeson, S., Seiller, F. and Rogerson, A., 1994, The Normans in Norfolk (Norfolk Museums Service) p. 29-30
  • Rogerson, Andrew, 1994, 'Castles' in Wade-Martins, P, (ed), An Historical Atlas of Norfolk (2edn Norwich; Norfolk Museums) p. 68-9
  • Pounds, N.J.G., 1990, The medieval castle in England and Wales (Cambridge University Press) p. 132
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 309
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1962, The Buildings of England: Norfolk: North-West and South (Penguin) p. 390
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 308 online copy
  • 1865, Wermigey; or the weir amid the water (King's Lynn) online copy
  • Blomefield, F., 1807, 'Clackclose Hundred and Half: Wermegay' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 7 p. 493-502 (tenurial history) online transcription

Journals

  • Liddiard, Robert, 2006, 'Early castles in the Medieval Landscape of East Anglia' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 243-50
  • Braun, H., 1937, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol 1 p. 140