Abinger Motte

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameAbinger Motte
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySurrey
Modern AuthoritySurrey
1974 AuthoritySurrey
Civil ParishAbinger

The motte at Abinger is of especial importance as the site of the first modern-style excavation of such a monument and hence it formed an important stage in the evolution of thought on the origin and use of these mounds. Waterlogging in the base of the ditch holds high potential for the survival of normally-perishable organic remains such as timber. The monument has been laid out to be easily understood and is excellently maintained. It is therefore of high amenity value. The monument, a motte castle of the early Norman period dating to around 1100-1150AD, is adjacent to the later Manor House. It includes not only the prominent earthen mound but also the partially-excavated moat which surrounds it and, to the north and west of the mound, a low outer bank of earth. The flat-topped mound measures some 30m in diameter at its base and stands to a height of nearly 4m above the level of the surrounding land. The mound was originally surrounded by a substantial moat which provided defensive strength as well as the earth for the motte itself. This moat was deliberately infilled in antiquity and is now only visible in two areas. To the south-east, where it was excavated in 1949, it features a natural step left unquarried by the moat diggers to provide sound footings for an access bridge. To the north-west of the mound the position of the moat is marked by a pond considered likely to have been dug into the upper part of the moat relatively recently. Only on the north-east side does an outer bank to the moat survive, this bordering the footpath. The excavations demonstrated that a timber look-out tower, surrounded by a palisade fence, had stood on the mound during the first half of the 12th century. The postholes of both were marked with concrete once dug. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceTQ113459
Latitude51.202091217041
Longitude-0.406989991664886
Eastings511390
Northings145970
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Surrey (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 8
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 242 (slight)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 293-6
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 464
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 176
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 86
  • Hope-Taylor, B.K., 1956, in Bruce-Mitford (ed), Recent archaeological excavations in Britain (London) p. 223-50
  • Malden, H.E. (ed), 1912, VCH Surrey Vol. 4 p. 394-5

Journals

  • Bird, Crocker, and McCracken, 1984, Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 75 p. 265
  • Blair, J., 1981, 'William Fitz Ansculf and the Abinger motte' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 146-8
  • Reynolds ,N., 1975, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 19 p. 203 download copy
  • Rigold, S.E., 1975, 'Structural aspects of medieval timber bridges' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 19 p. 80 online copy
  • Thompson, M.W., 1961, 'Motte Sunstructures' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 305-6 online copy
  • Hope-Taylor, B.K., 1951, Country Life Vol. 109 p. 1528-30
  • < >Hope-Taylor, B.K., 1950, 'The excavation of a motte at Abinger in Surrey' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 107 p. 15-43 < > online copy
  • Grinsell, L.V., 1934, 'An Analysis and List of Surrey Barrows' Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 42 p. 58 online copy