Over Stowey Mound

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameOver Stowey Mound
Alternative NamesStaweie
Historic CountrySomerset
Modern AuthoritySomerset
1974 AuthoritySomerset
Civil ParishOver Stowey

Possible Medieval settlement at Over Stowey. Over Stowey is a hamlet including a C12 parish church and the 'old castle precinct' on the Stowey 'herpath'. The castle may have been the caput of the estate of Alfred d'Epaignes at Stowey in the later 11th century and the precursor of a castle at Nether Stowey Alfred d'Epaignes held Stowey in 1086 in succession to Earl Harold. Two large mounds may indicate the site of the early castle. (PastScape)

The earthwork remains of two smoothed sub-rectangular mounds lie to the south of Cross Farm, Over Stowey. The origin of these earthworks is unclear; they have been identified as an early medieval precursor to the motte and bailey castle at Nether Stowey, but the earthwork evidence is equivocal. The two mounds have been recorded on aerial photographs. (PastScape)

A large flat mound N of the village may be a flat castle mound.

The "old castle precinct" is referred to in the late C12 and may have been the caput of the estate of Alfred d'Epaignes in the later C11 and the precursor of the castle at Nether Stowey.

The mounds have also been recorded on, and mapped from, aerial photographs. They measure approximately 40m by 35m and 45m by 30m. (Somerset HER 10673)

Magnetometry and resitivity survey in Castle Field and Parsonage Farm orchard, a site reputed to be a castle, in November and December 2003 revealed several possible features. The survey area was c 2.3 hectares in extent.

Results suggested the presence of a wide ditch (c 5m wide) partially surrounding the western earthen mound in Castle Field. The existing Castle Field earthworks produced areas of high resistance suggestive of the deliberate build up of soil or other material at this location. Within the area of Parsonage Farm orchard magnetic and resistive anomolies were interpreted as formal garden earthworks and other garden features

(Somerset HER 16807)

The limited area of level ground in the parish dictated the pattern of medieval settlement. With one exception, dwellings were in small clusters at the mouth of each combe. The exception is the hamlet of Over Stowey, which lies on a small spur commanding an extensive view of the coast and the Parrett. It included by the later 12th century both the parish church and the 'old castle precinct' on the Stowey 'herpath' (Cart. St. Mark's Hosp). The castle may have been the caput of the estate of Alfred d'Epaignes at Stowey in the later 11th century and the precursor of the castle at Nether Stowey (Dunning 1981). It survives as a large, flat mound to the north of Over Stowey village. (VCH 1992)

Gatehouse Comments

There were two manors of Stalwei recorded in Domesday both held by Alverdi De Ispania as tenant in chief but the smaller manor still had the Saxons Alward and Osward of Trewsbury as lords (Domesday Map) Nether Stowey, whilst it lies adjacent to Over Stowey is not only not in the same parish it is not even in the same Hundred. Gatehouse does not see this site as likely to have been a precursor site to Nether Stowey but more likely to be initially a contemporary site soon abandoned. There is little visible evidence of ditches surrounding this site, although possible ditches were reportedly more apparent several decades ago and a geophysical survey is reported to have found the mound 'was partially surrounded by a wide ditch' (Clarke 2005). However, it does seem fairly clear this was never a substantial earthwork. However it is located close to the church and the documentary evidence does suggest this was a residential site of some status. Was this the site of a small Saxon thegnal burh with Alfred d'Epaignes building his castle on the site at Nether Stowey from the start?

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST185386
Latitude51.1396789550781
Longitude-3.16420006752014
Eastings318570
Northings138660
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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

  • Prior, Stuart, 2006, A Few Well-Positioned Castles: The Norman Art of War (Tempus) p. 68-109
  • Dunning, Robert, 1995, Somerset Castles (Somerset Books) p. 44-5
  • Dunning, R.W. (ed), 1992, VCH Somerset Vol. 6 p. 161 online transcription

Journals

  • Guy, N. et al., 2010-11, 'Castle Studies Group Conference 'Castles of West Wessex'' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 24 p. 4-146 esp 114-117
  • Dunning, R.W., 1981, 'The Origins of Nether Stowey' Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society Vol. 125 p. 124-6

Guide Books

  • Clark, Ian, 2005, Welscome to Nether Stowet Castle! (orientation leaflet) online copy

Primary Sources

  • Ross, C.D. (ed), 1959, Cartulary of St. Marks' Hospital, Bristol (Bristol Record Society 21) no. 236 p. 159-60, 275 online copy

Other

  • Prior, Stuart, 2004, "Winning Strategies" An Archaeological Study of Norman Castles in the Landscapes of Somerset, Monmouthshire and County Meath, 1066-1186 (PhD thesis; University of Bristol) Vol. 2 p. 138 Download via EThOS
  • Sabin, D.J. 2003, A Report for English Heritage on a Geophysical Survey carried out at Over Stowey, Somerset. (Unpublished Stratascan report) summary
  • Hollirake, C. and Hollirake, N., 1994, Over Stowey, Parsonage Farm: archaeological survey