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Abingdon, Serpenhills

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Shippon; Northcourt

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SU50389842
Latitude 51.68221° Longitude -1.27304°

Abingdon, Serpenhills has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Linear Defence or Dyke although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Traces of a bank and ditch c. 390' long extend along a footpath leading to Radley, on the N. side of a large field opposite the turn to Northcourt, on the upper Oxford Road, near Abingdon. Much slighter traces of a bank extend for the same distance on the east side, but nothing was visible on the other two sides. The site is comparable with the unfinished Park Wood intrenchments at Hampstead Norris (SU 57 NW 14) and it fits the position, described by Leland, of an earthwork called 'Serpenhill'. All traces of this earthwork have been destroyed by a housing estate. (PastScape–ref. Huntingford)


Serpenhil is clearly a corruption of Serpent hill – showing the linear nature of the work in Leland's time.
Leland reports this as the site of C9 battle between the Saxons and the Danes and called it the remains of camp trenches. However, Huntingford recorded this as one a several linear earthworks crossing the line of pre-historic and Saxon routeways, and this is a more probably function. Its recorded form, as a linear bank and ditch, is not at all suggestive of a castle, despite being listed by King, and it is unlikely to have had any use after 1000CE.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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