Biddulph Lea Forge

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameBiddulph Lea Forge
Alternative NamesBaileys Wood
Historic CountryStaffordshire
Modern AuthorityStaffordshire
1974 AuthorityStaffordshire
Civil ParishBiddulph

The earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork castle situated within Bailey's Wood to the north of Biddulph. A D shaped earthwork situated in a strong defensive position at the eastern end of a prominent ridge with the ground falling away steeply to the Biddulph Brook on the north, east and south. The castle is thought to have originally belonged to the de Vernon family of Alton. Excavations in 1966 have demonstrated that the ringwork was originally built in C12 and timber framed buildings were replaced in stone in C13. Traces of a wooden palisade were visible in the top of the rampart bank. A large quantity of Medieval pottery was found. The castle was abandoned in C16. (PastScape)

A cutting on the east side of the mound inside the top rampart showed it to have been built on a natural promontory, using clay from the central area. Lack of pottery from this area made dating difficult but from that found in the central area it is clear that construction occurred before or during the 12th century, and sometime later in the same century the defences had been strengthened by another layer of clay. Traces of the wooden palisade were visible in the top of the rampart bank. No trace of the first phase of occupation was found in the central area but traces of wooden buildings with substantial posts were built in the second occupation phase. These had been cleared in the 13th century and replaced by a building with stone foundations. This structure contained large quantities 13th, 14th and 15th century pottery, bronze objects and iron keys and implements; there was also much evidence or iron working associated with these buildings. Only a little 16th century pottery was recovered and there was little evidence for occupation beyond this time. It is likely that occupation ceased with the building of Biddulph Old Hall in the 16th century and from the 13th century to this time it was probably used as a residential hall rather than a fortress. (Bestwick)

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 ReferenceSJ889594
Latitude53.1324195861816
Longitude-2.16656994819641
Eastings388940
Northings359480
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Richard Cope All Rights Reserved
Photo by Richard Cope All Rights Reserved
Photo by Richard Cope All Rights Reserved
Photo by Richard Cope All Rights Reserved
Photo by Richard Cope All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 1997, Castles and Moated Mansions of Staffordshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15

Journals

  • 1984, Moated Sites Research Group report Vol. 11 p. 25
  • Palliser, D.M., 1972, 'Staffordshire Castles: A Provisional List' Staffordshire Archaeology Vol. 1 p. 5-8
  • Bestwick, J.L., 1968, Biddulph Historical Society transactions Vol. 1 p. 6-9