Monument record NYW 006 - Court Knoll

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Court Knoll, ring work or possible motte & bailey castle.


Grid reference Centred TL 9754 3400 (192m by 194m)
Map sheet TL93SE


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Court Knoll, ring work or possible motte & bailey castle.
Situated on flood-plain of R Stour, Consists of a 'D' shaped earthwork with a mound in the NE corner. Defences comprise a low, faint rampart separated from an outer ditch by a berm. The mound, which is very vague, but appears to be near circular, measures approximately 40m in diameter and has a maximum height of 1.0m. There are faint traces of a ditch around the W side. Main ditch is 50 feet wide, 5 feet deep, a gap in the NW corner is possibly an original entrance.
'A building of Roman tile and Kentish rag in the N part of the enclosure excavated by Major Dick in 1924' (R1). A scatter of tile and Kentish ragstone was visible in the ditch E of the mound in 1960 - ? the mound marks the site of the building (S1).
Two photographs of the 1924 excavations held by Mrs W I Sparrow (copies in Parish File), show coursed stonework with occasional tile (S7).
'The mansion house of the lordship of Neyland or Eiland as it is called in Domesday Book was at Neyland in a pasture ground called the Court: but no foundations of any part of it are to be seen except the chapel' (S2). Domesday book entry for Eilanda - part of the lands of Suane of Essex (S3). `The great lordship of `Eiland' however, which belonged to Suain of Essex, lay a cheval on the river and was surveyed in Domesday partly under Essex and partly under Suffolk. It derives its name from the present `Nayland', where the site of `Court Knoll' is still marked by earthworks on the Suffolk side of the stream' (S4).
1981: Ditch dry, mostly grass and nettles, small trees on E side, some garden refuse tipped on W bank. Interior ploughed. Fair scatter of Rom tile and ? roof slate noted, also possible medieval roof slate (S5).
1986: Site under rape at time of visit. Ditch overgrown with deciduous scrub to S, with nettles elsewhere; dry throughout. Mound still visible but perhaps further spread, say 1m high, 75m diameter. Dimensions very approximate because of height of crop, which made it impossible to tell if any trace of bank remained (S5). For discussion see (S8).
Substantial scatter of brick, tile and stone on the surface of the low mount at the east end of the site. Includes large probably square 'bricks' - one broken specimen measures 9.8 x (8.1+) x 2.3ins (now in SCC store).
2001: Documentary search, geophysical survey and fieldwalking of the interior of the monument. Profiles of the surrounding ditch were also drawn. Exavations in 1924 revealed building foundations believed to be Norman in date and built of flint and Roman tile. Geophysics showed a number of probable building foundations and archaeological features though no obvious plan. Finds from fieldwalking wree mostly of high medieval date although a significant quantity of re-used Roman building materials confirmed that this was used in the construction of buildings which once occupied the site. The majority of finds were focussed around an area in the north eastern corner of the monument which is also where the geophysics showed most activity. Documentary evidence suggests that the site was most likely constructed for Swein of Essex sometime around the Norman Conquest and may have gone into decline during the fourteenth century. By the eighteen century, the only building remains visible on the site were the ruins of the chapel (S9)(S10)(S11).Scheduled

Earthworks visible on Lidar. See associated files.

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <S1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL93SE32.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Note by EM 21/2/1998.
  • <S2> (No record type): Morant P, History of Essex, 1768, 2, 233.
  • <M2> (No record type): AP: (S6).
  • <S3> Bibliographic reference: 1911. Victoria County History, Suffolk (VCH). 614 & 538.
  • <S4> (No record type): Round J H, VCH Essex, 1, 1903, 408.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <S6> Photograph: CUCAP. CUCAP aerial photograph. CUCAP, AP, CJC 73 & 75, 1979.
  • <S7> Photograph: Photograph. Sparrow W,letter, 1998 (& 2 photo's of 1924).
  • <S8> Bibliographic reference: Miscellaneous Bibliographic reference. Hunt C J, The Mystery of Court Knoll, 1999, ms.
  • <S9> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeologcial Service. Various. Breen A, Unpublished Documentary report, 2001.
  • <S10> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeologcial Service. Various. SCCAS, Everett L, Archaeological & Documentary Report No 2001/112, 2001.
  • <S11> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeologcial Service. Various. GSB Prospection Geophysical Survey, Report No 2001/75.

Finds (8)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

Record last edited

May 18 2021 6:38PM

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