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Cranborne Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castle Hall

In the civil parish of Cranborne.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU05931266
Latitude 50.91338° Longitude -1.91701°

Cranborne Castle Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Motte and bailey stands on a prominent rise called Castle Hill, at the N.W. end of a broad ridge. Nothing is known of its history. The earthworks cover some 2 1/2 acres and comprise a circular motte, 180 ft. in diameter and 28 ft. high, surrounded by a small ditch with an outer bank on the W. and N.W. A crescent-shaped bailey on the E. is bounded by a rampart up to 25 ft. high, with an outer ditch. A causeway across the ditch, and what appears to be an entrance through the rampart, are at the S. end of the bailey (RCHME 1975).
The tumulus on the summit of the great mound is modern and was raised in the early 19th century by L D G Tregonwell over the remains of two favourite horses (Warne 1872). (PastScape)

The location is somewhat unusual in being somewhat away from the centre of Cranborne. This may have been the Norman manor but the palace of King John at Cranborne Manor, built at the beginning of the C13, is at a more usual location for a manorial centre, adjacent to the church, and that may represent the site of the pre-Conquest manor. It is, therefore, possible that Castle Hill represents a rare example of Norman castle, built on a virgin site chosen for its height and/or defensive quality.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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