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Castle Orchard

In the civil parish of Stourton With Gasper.
In the historic county of Wiltshire.
Modern Authority of Wiltshire.
1974 county of Wiltshire.
Medieval County of Wiltshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST769319
Latitude 51.08595° Longitude -2.33117°

Castle Orchard has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthwork remains of a Motte and Bailey castle. The castle was excavated by Pitt-Rivers in 1879-80 when a quantity of Norman and Medieval pottery was found. Excavations also took place in 1939. (PastScape)
A very good example of a motte and bailey castle occupying the east end of a steep sided densely wooded spur. The motte has an uneven top resulting from excavations, particularly those of 1939 where the trenches are still open though in part collapsed. Such masonry as can be seen forms no intelligible plan. The bailey is to the west of the motte with a deep ditch cutting it off from the spur. In the south-east corner a quarried out platform seems to incorporate a building site but this platform may be of subsequent date and not connected with the fortifications. It now affords the only reasonable approach to the interior. There are no traces of bridge abutments at the ends of the bailey. Immediately north of the castle is a natural shelf, much lower than the spur. Part of this has been enclosed to form an outer ward, utilising a steep valley slope on the east and north east and constructing a bank and ditch along the north west to about the bailey ditch. The bank is now approximately 2.0m high and very spread, the outer ditch mostly completely silted, but 0.4m deep in two short sections. (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments-F1 NVQ 10-JUN-70)

One of three closely space castles, the others being Ballands Castle and Cockroad Wood, 'with which Castle Orchard may have formed part of a unified programme of castle-building' (Creighton). Creighton writes the site was fortified with a buttressed rectangular keep.
NB. This castle is sometimes placed in Penselwood parish, Somerset.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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