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Motte and Bailey
Ceramics; Bronze; Soil profile - buried; Soil analysis
X Y Grid Ref
Upper Chalk; Third River Terrace
A Medieval motte and bailey castle excavated several times, including 1990 and 1996.
A)Motte and bailey castle altered by landscape work. Castle recorded in AD1137, built by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Dug by Pitt-Rivers, who saw foundations but not published. B)Excavation in 1990. C)A poorly defined concentric feature seen in 1996. D)A ringwork and bailey, later re-used as a formal garden with an earthwork theatre, and an area of Roman remains under and to the south of it. The ringwork and bailey survive as earthworks, although these were modified in the 18th century to establish a formal garden and associated earthwork theatre. The ringwork is at the centre of the monument and is defined by earthworks surviving to between 5m and 6m above the Medieval ground surface. Two entrances, to the north east and to the west, divide the earthworks into two separate sections. The interior area is 20m across. Beyond the ringwork, to the east and north, is the bailey, an enclosed area which contained associated ancillary building and settlement. The north side of the bailey has been partly levelled and built over although below ground level remains will survive. To the east and north east the bailey is visible as a level area c80m north to south by 40m east to west, defined by a bank and ditch. The bank has been altered, presumably at the time the garden was established but survives to 2m high. The accompanying ditch is c5.5m deep on the south east side. To thenortheast the ditch has largely been infilled; a small sclae excavation in 1990 suggested that this occurred at the time of the 18th century remodelling. The defensive works still visible at The Moot were probably constructed by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, in 1138. It was put under seige during the civil wars of Stephen and Matilda, and was probabaly slighted in 1155. It was occupied throughout the Medieval period and had royal visits in 1317 and 1344. The last sizeable works were in 1466 and by 1647 the site was in disrepair. The 18th century remodelling of the earthworks has produced a fine example of formal gardens and a terraced earthwork theatre, landscaped as an amenity for Moot House which lies nearby. To the west of the theatre is a large fishpond which may have been constructed as a backdrop to the stage. Also, at the rear of thetheatre and on the southern bank of the ringwork, are the foundations of a building, the Temple of Mercury. Geophysical surveyhas indicated that the area south of the ringwork's southern ditch was occupied by earlier buildings, one of which was cut by the construction of the ditch. Other features in this area include a further smaller, building as well as a track and associated ditches. Some of these align with sections excavated further to the south which were dated the to Roman period.
The Surgery, Moot Lane, Downton 1996 Wessex Archaeology
Downton 1990 Wessex Archaeology for The Moot Trustees
A) Archaeological Journal Vol 104, p166
Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine Vol 29, p103 Rev J K Floyer (note)
The Moot and Its Traditions 1906 Squarey, Elias Pitts; Pitt-Rivers, A L F
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