Monument record FRK 007 - Freckenham Castle (remains of); The Beacon Mound (Med)

Please read our .

Summary

Motte and bailey(?), mound much denuded but still standing about fifteen feet in height, bailey on NW side of motte rectangular in shape.

Location

Grid reference Centred TL 6665 7182 (125m by 110m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL67SE
Civil Parish FRECKENHAM, FOREST HEATH, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Motte and bailey(?), mound much denuded but still standing about fifteen feet in height, bailey on NW side of motte rectangular in shape. The N side of the bailey is defended by a bank and ditch, W side by steep slope to stream. S side has disappeared, probably destroyed by later buildings (S1).
Circa 1894: `Some thirty years ago a somewhat amateur excavation was made (into the motte); it was opened to the depth of sixteen feet, but with the exception of a large man-trap and some human bones nothing was found' (S6).
1921: Circular chalk mound approximately 40 feet high with level summit approximately 40 feet in circumference. No evidence of stonework. Flanked on S and E by a sunk road bordering the fens (i.e. lane running past hall and church F.H.), and on N by a considerbale foss (dry) with vallum on S side still of some height, surmounted by stunted trees and composed of chalk. Plain or outer court between foss and sunk road (S1)(R1).
1924: Described as `the Beacon Mound', with the best preserved parts of the works (or fosse) measuring `from the bottom of the vallum to the ridge of the mound as some twelve to fourteen feet' (S6).
1910-1930s (?): large hole said to have been dug into mound by C.S. Leaf of The Manor House (May 2005 information from tenant of Hall Farm - likely but unconfirmed - the date quoted by Callard of circa 1894 above is probably unreliable).
Circa 1940: 'The Orchard' (central NGR TL 66667183) 2 skeletons ploughed up from 'The Orchard' (May 2005 info from tenant of Hall Farm).
Circa 1950: TL 66621 71862 E-W aligned skeleton revealed digging posthole (1st or second from S boundary on western fence line of 'The Orchard' by tenant of Hall Farm. TL 66638 71781 second skeleton, said to have been found standing upright (probably just upright skull?) when (someone else) digging 'about 3rd post hole from N end ' of same fence line (May 2005 site visit & info to Colin Pendleton). Presumably an undated (also see Rom entry) inhumation cemetery is present in this area.
1976: Motte in NE corner of inner bailey divided by strong ditch from outer bailey to N. Outer bailey ditch now mainly road. Most earthworks gone to roads, buildings or (to W) quarrying (S1).
Excavation in mound by present owners at TL 6671 7186 revealed tooled corner stone of substantial building, supporting cobb, flint and chalk mortar wall. Also further foundations of cobb and flint (S1)(S3).
1980: Mound tree-covered, fairly dense undergrowth in places. Hole noted on SW side exposing flint and mortar structure with Barnack, stone-worked approximately 50cm square x 15cm in height. Rabbit burrow noted close by. Mrs Peel said that when burrowing animals exposed the flint and mortar she had a 'scratch away' herself. Bailey is under kitchen garden cultivation and occasionally ploughed to 18 inches - 2 feet (S1).
1981: Further earthworks W of scheduled area (S1)(R3).
1986: Motte and surviving bailey bank covered with deciduous trees and much undergrowth, mainly ivy. Excavations still open with worked stone visible, some of it still in situ. Massive ditch along N edge of bailey bank forms part of grazed meadow in which Mrs Peel says bones are frequently found (e.g. when post-holes are dug). This forms part of the outer bailey. Inner bailey is cultivated as market garden with small orchard (S1).
`Castel' at Freckenham mentioned in a spurious C9 charter written in a `12th century imitative hand' (S5). Document of c.1115 is probably `a clumsy twelfth-century forgery' of what is claimed to be a charter of AD 896 (S6, 26-8)(R2). Note there is no reference to a castle or any substantial buildings in Freckenham in 1185 - see FRK Misc.
October 2000: Report of skull and partial skeleton, apparently part of an 'upright burial' discovered by (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s) and one other when they were digging postholes c.1953 (see Ref Mrs Peel FRK 007 Med). Body recovered with soil (presumably still in situ). Also at (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s) 'a load of bones' but whether human or animal was impossible to tell, subsequently destroyed (S7).

Features visible on Lidar. See associated files.

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <R1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Pevsner, 1961, 202.
  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: DOE scheduling information.
  • <S2> (No record type): Morley C, PSIA, 17, 1921, (3), 182-192, map.
  • <R2> (No record type): Registrum Rofense, Charter of King Alfred by which he grants lands in Frakenham and Isleham to Burri.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: site report, map.
  • <S3> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL67SE24 (ill).
  • <S4> (No record type): SAU, Carr R D, site report, 1981.
  • <S5> (No record type): Hart C R, Early Charters of E England, no 48.
  • <S6> (No record type): Callard E, The Manor of Freckenham, 1924, 26-8, 123, 135-6.
  • <S7> Verbal communication: Personal communication. Thompson R per Geddes S, October 2000.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Sep 22 2020 12:55PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.