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Newport Pagnell Castle; The Battery

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Someries Castle; Castle Mead

In the civil parish of Newport Pagnell.
In the historic county of Buckinghamshire.
Modern Authority of Milton Keynes.
1974 county of Buckinghamshire.
Medieval County of Buckinghamshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP87974404
Latitude 52.08748° Longitude -0.71836°

Newport Pagnell Castle; The Battery has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


A mount measuring 60ft in diameter and 4ft in height. Formerly interpreted as both a motte and as a Civil War gun emplacement, its position is not particularly suitable for a defensive purpose. Probably a prospect for the River Ouse. (PastScape)

PastScape records a 'Supposed site of a Castle' at SP87894401 stating 'This is a doubtful antiquity and there is no substantive evidence.' and adding 'The historical evidence for a castle at Newport Pagnell is meagre. The main authorities, Leland and Camden associated the castle with the Paynels and Somerys (six) who held the manor in C12 and C13. Leland also mentions "certen the chirche, as there had been a castelle". There are also references to Castle Mead on the opposite bank of the Lovat (now Castle Meadow SP 880439) going back to C12, but no specific documentary reference to a castle. In any case it must have become disused at an early date, and the capital messuage here in 1272 probably replaced the castle if such ever existed.' (PastScape–record 345055)

The comment in PastScape about the defensive position is somewhat strange. Apparently P. Fenton, the Designation Archaeologist felt 'This was possibly a garden feature or prospect mound. The feature is too small to be the site of a castle or battery.' (English Heritage Alternative Action Report 8-1-2004). The two given map references are close enough together to be one castle site. The position between the river and a tributary and by the church and the bridges crossing these waterways is entirely typical of many castles. On the 1886 map the site is marked as 'site of mottes' so perhaps this was an earthwork within this possible castle complex. It seems likely that some of the castle earthworks were preserved and altered to make a prospect mound, whilst others were removed for various purposes (road maintenance fore instance). The use of the site as an extension to the church yard will mean earthworks will have been destroyed and although the site will have been intensively dug it is very unusual for finds made during the digging of graves to be recorded or, indeed, even considered. The comment about historical evidence being meagre is also somewhat ingenious - many clear castle sites have no historical documentary evidence whatsoever and any reference is, therefore, worth critical consideration. The presence of a castle in Newport Pagnell is confirmed by some historical records, Leland, and by castle place-names and this is the most likely site. This would have been, as most castles were, an administrative centre, rather than military fortress, and the dismissal of a castle at Newport Pagnell probably has more to do with dated conceptions of what castles were rather than anything to do with historical or archaeological records.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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