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Ruislip Manor Farm

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bury Street

In the civil parish of Hillingdon.
In the historic county of London and Middlesex.
Modern Authority of London Borough of Hillingdon.
1974 county of Greater London.
Medieval County of Middlesex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ09058778
Latitude 51.57838° Longitude -0.42769°

Ruislip Manor Farm has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Norman motte and bailey castle at Manor Farm, Ruislip. The castle was founded by Ernulf de Hesdin after 1066, and altered by the monks of Bec, C.1096, when the ditch between the court and mound was filled in. The round motte, which has been very much lowered, still retains its wet ditch which is 220 feet in diameter and "encloses the humped kitchen garden" of the farm house. The bailey, which is roughly rectangular extends with its ditch about 150 feet to the north, but the ditch has been largely filled in; in the bailey stands Manor Farm House. (PastScape Ref. Braun and RCHME)

It has been suggested that a Norman motte and bailey castle occupied the site of the present Manor Farm. The theory is, however, based entirely on topographical evidence, all of which is open to alternative interpretation. (VCH, 1971)

The scheduled monument of Manor Farm motte and bailey, has been investigated over a number of years. The castle was built by Ernulf de Hesdin soon after the conquest of 1066. After 1097 the manor passed into the hands of the Abbey of Bec, who founded a small house on the site of the castle; this was dissolved in 1446. Later a farmhouse was built on the site, and the bailey ditches were filled in at the end of the 19th century. The Motte and bailey included a portion of village enclosure to south. The latter consisted of a bank some 1.5m high with a ditch to south. The bank is cut through by a modern access road and ditch is wet and reed-filled to west and dry to east. The motte, approximately 45m wide, rises to some 3m above the moat. The moat is some 4m wide at widest point. The bailey has been extensively landscaped and the area is difficult to ascertain, though a bank which may be part of the original remains to north. In 1988 some small fragments of tile noted throughout site, these appear post-medieval, also Victorian pottery sherds. A site visit in September 2005 noted that the motte was grass covered, scrub and bramble has been cut back in the motte ditch, some sherds of Roman pottery eroding out of the exposed banks, and the ditches were dry. (Information from Scheduled monument description) It was noted that a previous excavation had occurred on the site, possibly in 1937 by Mr Ewer. These investigations shoed that the Low motte and part of moat remained, as did an early medieval boundary wall on site of Norman palisade on summit of north rampart of one-time castle bailey. (uncertain source) An archaeological evaluation by AOC Archaeology took place in 2008 on land to the southwest. It was anticipated that evidence of the leat that fed the moat might be found. No such evidence was found, and the only medieval evidence recovered, post holes from a possible structure and a pit, dated to a period after the foundation of the motte and probably after the land passed into the hands of the church. In 2004 a small scale watching brief at 27B St Martins Approach noted the presence of part of the south bank of the earthwork in the north of the scheduled area. (Greater London HER)

The history given by Braun is not unreasonable but is probably based on received wisdom rather than actual evidence. An alternative scenario may be an existing Saxon ditched enclosure had a motte added to it (and it ditches redug and enlarged) in the late C11 as at Goltho, Lincolnshire.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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