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Roxton Palaceyard Wood

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Plash Yard Wood

In the civil parish of Roxton.
In the historic county of Bedfordshire.
Modern Authority of Bedfordshire.
1974 county of Bedfordshire.
Medieval County of Bedfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL131544
Latitude 52.17683° Longitude -0.34794°

Roxton Palaceyard Wood has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a Palace although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The earthwork in Palaceyard Wood is similar to a Norman Motte and bailey except the level of the island is the same as the surrounding land. The central "Motte" area is separated from the surrounding baileys by a moat, the soil of which has been piled on the outer edges to form ramparts. The ditch of the outer enclosures is very slight. In the large enclosure there are two circular shallow depressions. (PastScape–ref. Dyer)

A circular moat circa 70 metres in diameter, situated in Palaceyard Wood. The arms, which are still waterfilled, vary from circa 6 metres to 12 metres wide. There is no trace of a structure within the level wooded interior. The overflow channel to the north is wide and may have been converted to a fishpond. The purpose of the ditches forming a U-shape to the north east of the moat is uncertain. Mr P C Bath, landowner, retains one of several stone roof tiles found circa 1946 in the enclosed area when replanting trees. Local tradition asserts that there was a monastic settlement here but the name "Palaceyard" suggests perhaps a Bishop's Manor House. (PastScape–ref. field investigators comment, 1975)

The 1813 Enclosure Award map shows the site as called Plash Yard Wood – possibly deriving from 'palis' or 'paleis' and so implying a palisade that may once have been a feature of one of the enclosures. Palaceyard Wood appears to be therefore a moated site designed to serve a variety of farming purposes. (Petre 2012)

John de Kirkby, Bishop of Ely, held a manor in Roxton from 1270-90, but this was not part of the see and was at Chawston - not Palaceyard. The site is close to the boundary with the modern civil parish of Great Barford and may have been one of the manors of Great Barford.
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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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