Monument record LDG 002 - Lidgate Castle

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Lidgate Castle - probably rectangular mound, and bailey to S, which originally included the church.


Grid reference Centred TL 721 582 (209m by 166m)
Map sheet TL75NW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Lidgate Castle - probably rectangular mound, and bailey to S, which originally included the church. Remains of substantial earthworks with later modifications. For possible 2nd bailey to NW - see LDG 010. Castle probably dated from 1143 (R1)(S1).
1836: OS 1:63,360 (1") mapping shows 'Castle' as D shaped (rectangle with semi-circular SW end with circle (motte?) in centre of SW end and internal cross partition (forming rectangle) at NE end (copy in parish file).
Motte 20m square, surrounding ditch averages 5m deep, no traces of buildings, small 2m high mound in SE corner. Raised area on N and E sides, 9m wide and 4.8m high. Bailey ditch destroyed by buildings except on W side. Original recte 5814 entrance in SE. Traces of flint rubble walling, 1m thick, at (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s) with later facing of coursed flints and modern brick (S1). Two subsidiary enclosures (outside scheduled area): one centred (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s) to E of bailey, curved, mostly infilled in recent years except for SE corner, the other to the S is non-defensive with irregular ditch on W side only surviving. These probably later manorial works (S1).
1981: Earthworks as above. Agree that mounds appear to be one mound divided by a trench. W end of S ditch gradually filling up with churchyard rubbish, but with some masonry. E of this several sheets of corrugated iron have been dumped. Interior tree-planted (S3).
1986: Whole monument is very overgrown with nettles and elder, which have invaded even the two areas of recent plantation: one of conifers and beech on the main (quadrangular) motte, and another of beech on the rectangular mound N of it. Earthworks as described in Part 1. Ditches dry and overgrown, except of W bailey ditch, which still holds water. Outer ditch on E used as track. Beyond scheduled area, bank runs along E edge of outer ditch and forms part of cultivated field. It survives to approximately 8m wide and 2m high from ditch bottom and approximately 1m high from surface of field. Entrance and masonry fragmentary recorded by OS still visible. Surface of field to E of monument is undulating. Mr Plumpton says earthwork here (presumably the enclosure at (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s) described and mapped by OS) was levelled some years ago (S3).
1991: Not maintained, moat exists, though site left well alone. Area to S of scheduled area included in site defined by HER, includes W ditch noted above.
December 1995: HER's area increased to include former semi-circular `moat' to E.
1996: Castle earthworks are covered with trees and scrub. A deep and steep- sided ditch divides the castle from the adjacent churchyard. A length of mortared flint walling, c.1m thick, to the E of the church seems to have been a flanking wall in a approach to a causeway across the castle ditch (most of the wall line is indicated by a ridge and parch marks in the grass; the large upstanding fragment could have been part of a gatehouse). The main part of the castle consists of a roughly square raised platform with a flat top. In the SE corner there is a tall linear mound that may be masking a ruined wall. A deep and wide ditch separates the square platform from a rear narrow but still flat-topped linear mound. At the SE corner of this mound there is an entry to the site (?secondary) on the line of the internal ditch. On the S side of the `entrance' there is another linear mound with a steep scarp down to the present farmyard (& probable unfilled outer ditch). A detached semi-circular `moat' to the E (shown on earlier OS maps) has been largely infilled - the `pond' at the S end survives but the rest only shows as a scarp in an arable field (S4).
Castle may have been built in the Civil War of the time of King Stephen, by the then holder - Maurice de Windsor, Steward of Bury Abbey c.1114-9 to c.1154, or by his successors as stewards, the Hastings family. It may have been active again in the troubles of the mid C13, for in 1266 the manor was seized from Henry de Hastings `the king's enemy' and granted temporarily to Gilbert de Clare (S5)

Features visible on Lidar. See associated files.

Taken from NRHE record:
The castle probably dates from 1143 and consists of a rectangular mound and bailey surrounding the church, with outer enclosures beyond to the N and E. Rubble walls of uncertain date in bailey.

Motte and bailey castle, afterwards altered to manorial requirements, consisting of a quadrangular motte, with fragment of its ramparts remaining on the E side and SE corner, and another mound covering foundations. The motte has an escarpment measuring 12ft at the W, 20ft at the N and 35ft on the E angles with a counterscarp of 16ft. The ditch surrounding the bailey has a scarp of 24ft. (with a counterscarp of 8ft). Its entrance is situated at the S. The whole of the S side of the bailey has been destroyed but cottage gardens occupy the ditch which has a scarp of 12ft. Outside the W side and N angle of the ditch is a broad revetment 10ft high which expands into two curved platforms 6ft high. On the E side of these works a portion of another ditch indicates the inclosure of another court which could belong to a later age.

Lidgate Castle (name confirmed), a motte and bailey castle with later manorial enclosures, is situated on a natural rise centred TL 7212 5819. The work comprises a motte 20.0m square, with a mound 2.0m high on the SE side, but no indications of building foundations (area now afforested). The motte is surrounded by a steeply scarped ditch averaging 5.0m deep by 20.0m wide with an outer bank 3.2m high on the NW side. This bank, incorporating two sub-circular platforms at TL 7205 5820, widens on the N and E side to 9.0m by 4.8m high and runs into the main bailey which is now occupied by the 13th-14th century church. (The break at TL 7216 5819 is later). The bailey was approached by the original entrance at TL 7210 5811 which gave access to the motte across a cause-way. Traces of flint rubble walling, c1.0m thick are visible at TL 7208 5819 but this has been faced by coursed flints and modern brick and may be later. See photograph. The bailey ditch has been destroyed by modern buildings on all but the west side.

Two further enclosures are visible; one centred at TL 7220 5811, lies to the east of the bailey surrounded by a waterfilled ditch 2.0m deep. Only the SE angle now remains, the rest having been filled in recent years. The other enclosure, on the gentle slope below the castle, surrounds a non defensive area between Bailey Pond (name confirmed) and the castle entrance. The irregular ditch on the west side measures about 14.0m wide by 1.6m deep but fades towards the pond and has been destroyed by modern boundary banks on the east side. These two enclosures are probably later manorial works.
Published survey (25") revised.

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <R1> (No record type): Renn D, Norman Castles in Britain 1968, 50, 225-6.
  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file: notes, maps correspondence.
  • <S1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL75NW5, 1976 (plans).
  • <M2> Photograph: CUCAP. CUCAP aerial photograph. APs: CUCAP BPK 15, SAU ALN 22-25.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Brown B, XCVIII, 77 (quoting White's Suffolk, 1874).
  • <R2> Bibliographic reference: 1911. Victoria County History, Suffolk (VCH). 600-1 (plan).
  • <M3> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Basil Brown archive: volume.
  • <R3> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA 3, 1849, (3), 413.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <S4> (No record type): SAU, Martin E, site visit, 1996.
  • <M4> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file.
  • <S5> (No record type): SAU, Martin E and notes by M Bailey, 1996.
  • <S6> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S7> Bibliographic reference: William Page. 1911. The Victoria history of the county of Suffolk, volume one.

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Record last edited

Jul 10 2021 9:31AM

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