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Bulmer Tye Pepper Mill Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Peppermint Hill

In the civil parish of Bulmer.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL85023904
Latitude 52.01849° Longitude 0.69336°

Bulmer Tye Pepper Mill Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


Motte and bailey on Auberins Estate - could be round barrow (?). It is near the supposed half-hundred of Thunders?? (now lost). According to OS field report, 1976, a mound known locally as "Peppermint or Peppermint Hill" at the side of the main road at the edge of the estate. It measures about 30m in diameter, by 3.2m high with a slight mutilation on the east side of the top. A rectangular dry pond has been dug to the east of the mound with a ditch 1m deep around the north side. From its appearance and the close association of the pond it would appear to be Medieval in date, but its exact purpose is obscure. Surveyed 1983. A moated mound, 50m in diameter, situated in woodland, adjacent to the Halstead-Sudbury road. A wet ditch survives around two-thirds of its circuit. It is tentatively suggested as a small motte, and faint traces of a further ditch to the north may represent a small bailey. (Milton and Priddy 1983-4). (Unlocking Essex' Past)

TL 8501 3901. Motte and bailey on Auberies Estate - could be "old barrow" (?). It is near the supposed half hundred of Thundersham (now lost) (Essex County Planning Dept No 43).
TL 8502 3904. A circular earthen mound known locally as Pepper Mill Hill (name confirmed from Tithe map). It stands on level wooded ground on the edge of the Auberies estate by the side of the main Sudbury to Halstead road and close to the Essex/Suffolk boundary. It measures about 30.0m. in overall diameter by 3.2m. high with a ditch 1.0m. deep on the north side. The mound has been mutilated on the west side and a rectangular depression possibly later, has been dug on the east side. There are no traces of a ramp or causeway and there is no ditch on the south side. The mound stands in a non-defensive position, and no tradition of a motte or earlier barrow is known by the estate office. It may, therefore, be Medieval, but it is possibly an early mill mound as suggested by its name. Its exact purpose is uncertain (F1 PAS 27-JUL-76). (PastScape)

The site is not inconsistent with castle being close to rectangular moated site. The place-name evidence this was a mill mound needs to be careful assessed. Was this called 'Pepper Mill Hill' (pepper was certainly not milled in windmills) or Peppermint Hill (peppermint prefers moist habitats possibly like a silted up motte ditch?). Dismissing possible castle sites as 'non defensive' is problematic, since it predefines a function that is contested.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:30

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