The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Alderton Ringwork

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castle Mound; The Mount; Alderingtune

In the civil parish of Grafton Regis.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP74084697
Latitude 52.11610° Longitude -0.91953°

Alderton Ringwork has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Motte or Ringwork (SP 740469), usually known as The Mount, stands on high ground on the N.E. side of Alderton village, on Great Oolite Limestone at 100 m. above OD. Nothing is known of its history apart from some 13th-century references to it (G. Baker, Hist. of Northants., II (1836–41), 120) but it appears to be of 11th or 12th-century date. It consists of a roughly triangular area raised only about 1 m. above the adjacent land, but surrounded by a very large ditch up to 5 m. deep below a well-marked inner rampart or bank which itself is 1 m.–1.5 m. high above the interior. The ditch has been largely destroyed on the S.W. side and modern houses now occupy its line. However even in the early years of this century no ditch was visible here (VCH Northants., II (1906), 403).
Bridges (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 280), writing in about 1720, said that 'the entrance . . . seems to have been on the western side'. Presumably he was referring to the gap in the inner rampart in the centre of the S.W. side, but this gap does not appear now to be an entrance. The interior is uneven and very overgrown and no features are visible apart from a sloping platform 0.5 m. high on the S.E. side. On a map of 1726 (NRO) the ditch is shown as filled with water and the area is called Castle Mound. (RCHME 1982)

The Mount at Alderton is one of seven ringworks which survive in Northamptonshire and has an unusual sub-rectangular shape. The monument is largely undisturbed.
The ringwork known as The Mount is located on high ground on the north eastern side of Alderton village, just to the north of St Margaret's church. The monument has a sub-rectangular bank approximately 1m high enclosing a central area which is about 50m across. A large ditch, up to 10m wide and 5m deep, is apparent around the ringwork on all but the south west side. The uneven interior of the ringwork is slightly raised above the surrounding ground surface and is considered to preserve below ground remains of buildings. The early history of The Mount is not clear, but it is mentioned in 13th century records and is considered to be of late 11th century or early 12th century date. On a map of 1726 the ditch around the ringwork is shown filled with water and the area is called Castle Mound. (Scheduling Report)

Excavation finds suggest C11 foundation, possibly on site of existing Saxon site and abandonment in late C14 or early C15. A surrounding ditch remains up to 5m deep but modern housing has encroached on part of the site.
Excavations in 2009 and 2010 have found substantial masonry walls within the ringwork although it seems fairly clear the defences of the castle were timber and earthwork.
Some comment is sometimes made about the shape of this ringwork, usually to describe it as triangular. Gatehouse sees it as a quadrant of a circle. Where this quadrant fully extended into a circle the parish church and some of the core of the village would be within that circle. Was the original Saxon village demarked by a circular feature (a ditch and/or fence)? Does the ringwork represent a massive Norman strengthening of a Saxon thegnal site occupying one quarter of the village?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape       Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact