Monument record EYE 016 - Eye Castle, medieval (Med)

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Scheduled Monument - Eye Castle, motte (or perhaps two separate mottes, - see (S6)) inner and outer baileys (S1)(S2).


Grid reference Centred TM 1467 7379 (368m by 183m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TM17SW


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Eye Castle, motte (or perhaps two separate mottes, - see (S6)) inner and outer baileys (S1)(S2). A castle is listed at Eye in the Domesday survey of 1086. Beseiged by Earl Hugh Bigod during uprising in 1173. Probably went out of use as defended castle following sacking of 1265, by 1370 it was recorded as worthless, although some parts were still used as a prison, which had existed since at least 1295. By 1673 `the ruins of the Castle' are recorded (S1). Workhouse and school built in inner bailey in 1830s. Kerrison's Folly (also see EYE 023) built on motte in 1844-5 (S6)(R2).
1924: The commanding conical mound of this castle still remains and is some 40 ft high with a diameter at base of about 150 ft. A Norman castle built upon site of earlier fortification. British and Roman remains have been found close by. The horse shoe bailey (to the W of mound) is 400 ft long by 250 ft wide and enclosed by a vallum and external fosse (S1).
1978: Small excavation by SAU at W end of bailey - see EYE 018.
1981: Concrete steps of fairly recent date ascend to summit. Viewing platform erected within Victorian "keep" on summit (S1).

January 1990: Area extended to include both inner & outer baileys. June 1990: Two minor trial excavations at S boundary of motte/inner bailey failed to find Med deposits - details in (S3).
June 1990: 2 minor trial excavations at S boundary of motte/inner bailey failed to find Med deposits - details in (S3).
1991: Mid Suffolk clearing out rubble from castle mound, making walls weather proof. Cottage foundatins & old castle walls uncovered (S5).
July 1994: Surveyed by RCHME. Motte and bailey probably constructed soon after conquest and a stone curtain wall and outer bailey were probably added in the later C12. The castle was situated at the heart of the planned Norman town which subsequently became focused on the market-place at the W end of the outer bailey. For history (and archaeological history) of site see (S6).
For excavations within inner bailey see EYE 018 & EYE 023 and for within motte, see EYE 031. For possible outer bailey ditch see EYE 027.

2012: Archaeological monitoring and a photographic record were carried out on the walls of Eye Castle during work to repair the monument. The bailey wall was constructed of flint rubble with evidence of stone dressings. The wall circuit is polygonal in plan, with remains of towers at the angles. The best preserved section is 27m long. The remains are generally truncated close to the ground but the western most tower and the chambers to the east of it stand at 1.5m high with the wall between the chambers rising to 3.75m. The repairs concentrated on the consolidation of the eroded base of the wall and stabilising overhanging sections of masonary, together with the blocking of a series of box channels that pierced the wall. These channel entrances were reported and it was confirmed that these were structural features requiring preservation. The holes were blocked using tile and brick not used in the original fabric to enable the holes to be identified. These channels were previously identified as drain but it is possible that they were used for timber to support the construction of the building. It has also been suggested that the chamber constructed within the bailey wall was single celled and had a suspended timber floor (S9).

See also Un.

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <R1> (No record type): Creed H, On the Castle & Houses of Eye, PSIA, 2, 117-124.
  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <S2> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TM17SW5.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: (S3).
  • <R2> (No record type): Davy D, Excursions through the County of Suffolk, 1844.
  • <S3> (No record type): SAU, Wade K, site report, EYE 016, ill, June 1990.
  • <M3> (No record type): Excavation archive: (Ipswich).
  • <S4> (No record type): NAU, APs, AUJ 4 AJG 10.
  • <M4> (No record type): Survey archive: 2 plans, 1 section.
  • <S5> (No record type): Suff Pres Soc (Paul Edwards), Survey table of results, 1991.
  • <S6> Unpublished document: An archaeological survey, Eye Castle, Eye, Suffolk:. RCHME, Eye Castle, Eye, Suffolk: An archaeological survey, July 1994, ill.
  • <S7> (No record type): Blome R, Britannia, 1673, 213.
  • <S8> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 37(3) 1991 p267.
  • <S9> Unpublished document: Gill, D.. 2012. Archaeological Monitoring Report: Eye castle masonary repairs, Eye.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

Record last edited

May 18 2016 4:10PM

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