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Feckenham Court House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bennett's Bower

In the civil parish of Feckenham.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP00756154
Latitude 52.25213° Longitude -1.99042°

Feckenham Court House has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The monument is an unusually large elliptical moated site of the Royal Manor of Feckenham and the court of the Forest of Feckenham. The site is first documented in a land charter of AD 802 which suggests that the site has Anglo-Saxon origins. This and the good level of documentation from Domesday until the 17th century, which document the high status and various periods of development of the site, also contribute to the importance of the monument. Limited excavations before 1971 have indicated a high level of survival of archaeological deposits representing several phases of domestic occupation.
The monument includes the surviving buried and earthwork remains of Feckenham Court House, a medieval manorial moated site where the court of the Forest of Feckenham was held. Feckenham Manor, a high status Anglo-Saxon manor from about AD 804, had passed to the Crown by the time of the Domesday survey. The manor was held by the Crown for several centuries with references made to royal buildings on the site. The manor house was repaired in 1355 but was later demolished and the buildings removed by the Abbot of Evesham. The monument became the site of the court proceedings associated with Feckenham Forest. A prison, known as Bennets' Bower, is documented at the site, where in the 16th century manorial courts were also held. The court house fell into disrepair following deforestation in the 17th century. During the reign of Charles II the site was planted and used to grow tobacco. The moated site, covering 1.62ha, is larger and more heavily fortified than many manorial moated sites. Its boundary takes the form of an elliptical earthwork approximately 220m by 120m, orientated east-west, consisting of an outer ditch or moat enclosing two concentric earthwork banks separated by a ditch. The moat is deepest on the northern side (2m to 3m), elsewhere it measures 1m to 2m deep. The eastern part of the moat has been largely infilled or levelled with domestic buildings being inserted into the external moat in the north east quadrant; these areas are not included in the scheduling. The double bank and ditch are clearly visible in the north west quadrant; in the south west quadrant the double bank and ditch separate creating an inner berm. In the south east quadrant the double bank and ditch are no longer evident and the outer moat diminishes to become a boundary ditch, which continues as far as the village development at the south east, south and north east of the monument. In 1968 the earthworks of several buildings could be discerned in the interior or island of the moat, but the interior of the monument is now largely level and is used as a sports ground. The only surviving original entrance point, partly infilled, is in the centre of the northern entrenchment. An excavation across a raised platform in the northern half of the monument revealed occupation dating from the mid-12th to mid-14th centuries, with traces of both timber and stone buildings. The modern sports changing room may obscure some of the features previously recorded near the centre of the northern earthworks. A modern breach has been made across the earthworks in the north west quadrant. (Scheduling Report)

The site at Feckenham would be an entirely feasibly site for a fortification and certainly some moated sites seem to be modified small low mottes and the plan of the Feckenham site could well fit into this category of monument. Looking at the PastScape description above this site really does seem to be a high status site which seems to have all the aspects of a castle except the name and a motte (plus a history of growing tobacco, when any possible motte would probably have been levelled).
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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