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Swavesey Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Swavesey.
In the historic county of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely.
Modern Authority of Cambridgeshire.
1974 county of Cambridgeshire.
Medieval County of Cambridgeshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL359689
Latitude 52.30167° Longitude -0.00769°

Swavesey Castle Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Probably built by de la Zouch family in C13 as emergency against Barons in Isle of Ely who had burnt their corn etc. The area enclosed was bigger than ever needed for development in Medieval times (Ravensdale 1982-3)

No mention of Swavesey castle has been found before 1476, when William Copley held Castle croft of the rectory manor for boonworks and suit of court, services characteristic of tenures on that manor in 1279. It is therefore unlikely that the castle was built by the Zouches in the 13th century. It was not mentioned among the priory's original endowments and was more probably one of its acquisitions c. 1200. It was presumably derelict by c. 1200 when the croft, later known as Castle close, an enclosure c. 114 m. (375 ft.) square, was incorporated into the town defences. It may date, like Burwell castle, from the 1140s or may have been built during the campaign against Ely in 1070-1. (VCH 1989)

King writes "vestiges of large enclosure" which suggests the town rampart, but adds, in agenda, "a high mound may be a fragment of motte". Taylor writes castle was mound, now much robbed in one corner of town and gives plan. Recorded as probable medieval enclosure in PastScape. An unusual and much damaged site which seems to be interpreted in a different way by each individual who looks at it.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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