Link to printer-friendly page

It should not be assumed that this site is publicly accessible and it may be on private property. Do not trespass.

Monument details

HER Number:TQ 95 NE 6
Type of record:Monument
Name:Newnham motte and bailey castle


Site of motte and bailey and possible tumulus, now levelled at Newnham.

Grid Reference:TQ 9545 5786
Map Sheet:TQ95NE

Monument Types

  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1150 AD)

Full description

If you do not understand anything on this page please contact us.

[TQ 9545 5786] Castle Mound. Bailey attached on south. (1) On the site of the windmill (shown on O S 6" 1876) adjoining Champion Court, Newnham, there is a mound 5 ft high and 38 paces in diameter surrounded by a ditch 15 ft deep. An outwork, consisting of a semi- circular ditch, is shallower than and connects at its extremities with the ditch surrounding the mound. On the east side, between the ditches a small mound of chalk was removed and found to be "a tumulus containing ashes, human bones, urns and part of a sword and spurs". (2) Motte and Bailey [NR]. (3) This motte and bailey was destroyed by bulldozer in 1957. The motte has been levelled and the ditch filled in but traces remain. Similarly the bailey has been levelled but the course of the rampart can be clearly traced. (Published 25" survey revised). There is no trace of the 'tumulus' which was probably destroyed during the construction of the C19th Mill Cottages. It may have been no more than a part of the bailey rampart, but some of the recorded finds and the proximity of another enigmatic barrow (TQ 95 NE 7) at least suggest a burial mound. (4) (TQ 9545 5786) Motte and Bailey [NR] (Site of) [NAT] (5) All that can now be identified on the ground is a scarp, centred at TQ 9548 5783, which extends for 35m as a slight curve from E to W at the southern end of Mill Cottages garden. It is 1.6m high and 3m long, apparently representing the outer face of the former bailey bank. A further 35m which existed to the W in 1963 has been totally destroyed and planted with orchard trees. (This area, and the motte site is Champion Court property). The OS 25" 2nd Edn. depicts the motte as about 34m in diameter at the base and the bailey on the S as 75m by 50m across. The earthwork, situated on the crest of a steep sided valley has no distant views and was evidently placed in a position that would control the valley road, and Newnham, immediately below. That the motte was subsequently utilised as a mill mound is suggested by the adjacent "Mill Cottages" and in the description given by Payne (see 2 above). (6)

The castle is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs of 2008 and 2012. It consists of a circular enclosure to the northwest of Mill Cottages, 50m x 40m across. This is the section shown on early OS mapping. A second larger enclosure is visible immediately adjacent to the south, with an entrance on the west side (most clearly visible on aerial photos of 2012) which may have been c.90m x 50m across. Both enclosures are formed by substantial ditches. It appears likely then that the northern smaller enclosure was the motte and the southern was the bailey of the castle.

In 2011 the Wychling, Doddington and Newnham Historical Research Group carried out a number of resistivity surveys of the site. A number of test pits were dug around this time. In 2012 two areas were excavated - one focusing on a square structure detected during the resistivity surveys and the other a 11m section across the ditch. The structure was found to be a stone and flint-built tower base with walls c.2m thick. Pottery found within the basement area dated to the mid 12th century. The ditch was found to be more than 4m deep with layers of backfill relating to levelling episodes, most notably in the 20th century. Three substantial post holes were found on the inside edge of the ditch. These are thought to relate to a revetment built to maintain the mound built up around the castle tower. It is thought therefore that the castle is of 11th or early 12th century date, possibly relating to the 'Anarchy'. (10)

During a watching brief at Mill Cottage in 2020, a large cut feature was identified 'extending roughly northeast – southwest across the north-western portion of the Mill Cottage terrace'. This was 'almost certainly… the outer curving edge to the castle ‘Motte’ mound'. (11).

<1> Rec 6" (OGS Crawford 22.6.27) (OS Card Reference). SKE49057.

<2> G Beds (OS Card Reference). SKE43448.

<3> Coll Cant 1893 pp 166-7 (G Payne) (OS Card Reference). SKE39167.

<4> OS 6" 1960 (OS Card Reference). SKE48367.

<5> F1 ASP 26-JUL-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42307.

<6> OS 1:10000 1972 (OS Card Reference). SKE48157.

<7> F2 NVQ 16-Oct-86 (OS Card Reference). SKE43356.

<8> Field report for monument TQ 95 NE 6 - July, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4799.

<9> Field report for monument TQ 95 NE 6 - October, 1986 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4800.

<10> Paula Jardine-Rose, 2012, Newnham Castle-Excavations - Kent - Interim Report, The Castle Studies Group Journal 26: 196–200 (Article in serial). SKE24832.

<11> Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 2020, Mill Cottage, Sharsted Hill, Newnham, Kent ME9 0XJ, Archaeological Watching Brief Summary Report (Unpublished document). SKE53655.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: Rec 6" (OGS Crawford 22.6.27).
<2>OS Card Reference: G Beds.
<3>OS Card Reference: Coll Cant 1893 pp 166-7 (G Payne).
<4>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1960.
<5>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 26-JUL-63.
<6>OS Card Reference: OS 1:10000 1972.
<7>OS Card Reference: F2 NVQ 16-Oct-86.
<8>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 95 NE 6 - July, 1963.
<9>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 95 NE 6 - October, 1986.
<10>XYArticle in serial: Paula Jardine-Rose. 2012. Newnham Castle-Excavations - Kent - Interim Report. The Castle Studies Group Journal 26: 196–200. The Castle Studies Group Journal 26: 196–200. [Mapped feature: #34162 Castle, ]
<11>Unpublished document: Canterbury Archaeological Trust. 2020. Mill Cottage, Sharsted Hill, Newnham, Kent ME9 0XJ, Archaeological Watching Brief Summary Report.