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Much Dewchurch; The Camp

In the civil parish of Much Dewchurch.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Herefordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO48553125
Latitude 51.97732° Longitude -2.75045°

Much Dewchurch; The Camp has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork, situated in the valley of the Worm Brook, some 750m west of Grove Farm. The monument occupies a slight rise in the ground and includes an earthen bank which encloses a roughly oval area, measuring c.50m north west-south east by c.38m transversely, including the bank itself. Material for the construction of the bank will have been quarried from the surrounding ditch, which averages 8m wide, and survives up to 2m deep in the north west and south east quarters. Elsewhere the ditch has become infilled, however it appears on aerial photographs as a continuous feature and will survive below ground in these areas. At its highest point the bank rises 4.5m above the bottom of the ditch. It will originally have been surmounted by a palisade to further enhance the visual impact and defensive capabilities of the ringwork. The area enclosed by the bank has been raised slightly above the level of the surrounding area, and the remains of the structures which originally occupied this space are visible as earthworks in the interior. Access to the ringwork was by means of a causeway across the ditch in the north eastern quarter, where a break in the bank is flanked by low mounds. A possible second entrance is indicated on the opposite side, where a similar break in the bank with slight mounding to either side can be seen. The remains of an external, or counterscarp bank, roughly 2m wide, survive in the north west quarter to a height of 0.6m. Its survival in this area is the result of its incorporation into a post-medieval field boundary: elsewhere the bank has been degraded by ploughing and is no longer visible. The ringwork is one of a concentration of medieval defensive sites in the area, one of its closest neighbours being the motte castle at Thruxton, some 6km to the north west. (Scheduling Report)

The shape and height of the mound suggest its later date and function whilst the poorly defended location would suggest the unsuitability of the site for a structure of offence. The valley setting for this site, surrounded by very good agricultural land may suggest the motivation behind its placement. (Philips)

Gatehouse does not see the logic of Philip's argument. Village nucleation in Herefordshire was generally late but it may well be Much Dewchurch was an early example and, if so, The Camp is not inconsistent with a Saxon thegnal site (possibly that site being placed because of agricultural reasons) reused and possibly strengthened by a new Normal lord. Supposed military considerations may be distracting from the full story of this site.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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