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Leafield Barrow

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Barry Tump; Barry's Hill Tump

In the civil parish of Leafield.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP31611541
Latitude 51.83641° Longitude -1.54262°

Leafield Barrow has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

The motte measures 38m across and stands up to 4m high. It has a flat, oval summit which measures 19.9m from NW to SE and 12m from SE to NE. A square feature measuring 10.9m across with an internal depression 7.5m square and 0.3m deep is believed to be the remains of a stone keep, similar to that at Ascott d'Oyley. There is no evidence of a ditch around the base of this motte, the E side of which has been disturbed by the construction of a water reservoir. The water reservoir and the ground beneath it are not included in the scheduling. The ordnance datum trig point is excluded from the scheduling as is the reservoir boundary fence; the ground beneath these features, however, is included. Large round barrow about 12' high damaged on E side by water reservoir. C.25m diameter and 4m high. Damaged on E side by water reservoir. No evidence of ditch. Grass-grown and planted with trees, it has the appearance of having been opened. Mound stands in permanent pasture on highest point of low hill. It is egg-shaped with the large end towards the NW and has a flattened and disturbed top. MPP reinterprets mound as motte castle of Norman date. (Oxfordshire HER)

The motte castle known as Leafield Barrow forms the dominant feature on the hill around the southern side of which the village of Leafield is situated. The motte itself forms the centre of a series of earthworks which include evidence of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation as well as a possible bailey.
The monument includes a motte castle situated on a small hill, around the southern and eastern sides of which lies the village of Leafield. The site provides a commanding view in all directions and is 220m north west of the Church of St Michael and All Angels. The motte measures 38m across and stands up to 4m high. It has a flat, oval summit which measures 19.9m from north west to south east and 12m from south west to north east. A square feature measuring 10.9m across with an internal depression 7.5m square and 0.3m deep is believed to be the remains of a stone keep, similar to that at Ascott d'Oyley. There is no evidence of a ditch around the base of this motte, the eastern side of which has been disturbed by the construction of a water reservoir. (Scheduling Report)
Comments

This mound, previously considered a barrow appears to have been identified as a motte by P.P. Jeffrey in the early 1990s prior to scheduling. This identification does not seem to have been published and, therefore, has not really been subject to critical peer review. The location, with the village at the foot of the motte, is classic for a motte although the lack of ditch and obscurity of a bailey have clearly made the identification as a motte difficult in the past. The square feature in the centre said to be the possible remains of a stone keep may be the possible remains of a stone footing wall for a timber tower. The site must have some features similar to barrows, given its previous identification, and there is a possibility this was a barrow reused as a motte. The village does not appear in Domesday. It may have been a royal manor associated with the royal hunting forest of Wychwood. If so then presumably the motte represented a royal foresters presence.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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