MSO8841 - Bury Castle, Brompton Regis (Monument)


Bury Castle, on a spur end, overlooks the junction of the Rivers Exe and Haddeo. It is a series of earthworks forming an oval enclosure of probable Iron Age origin, with a small motte believed to be of the early 12th Century at its southern end.

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Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

Full Description

Bury Castle Camp is marked at SS 9385 2698. [1] Bury Castle stands above the junctions of the River Exe with its tributary the Haddeo, at the end of a high ridge running north and south. It is oval in shape, the apex pointing southwest, and the base northeast. Its maximum length and breadth is about 120 by 80 yards. The apex, where the entrance is found, is occupied by a mount with an enclosing ditch, and the camp might be classed with mount and base court forts, but the mount is very small as compared with the area of the enclosure. Hillfort Class B. [2] This is a motte and bailey castle. It was re-surveyed at 1:2500. [3] Bury Castle, at SS 939270, is scheduled as Somerset 342, listed under 'Camps and Settlements'. [4] There is a possible entrance on the southeast. The outer banks are up to 8 metres high on the north of the earthwork, but generally between 1.8 and 5 metres high on the southwest. The motte is circled with its own ditch and rises some 4 to 5 metres high. The oval bailey extends over 100 metres. It is a possible reuse of an early Iron Age fortification. [7] The site is apparently undocumented, but it is suggested that it was probably built by William de Say before 1144, the year of his death. [8] Bury Castle was surveyed in June 1996 at 1:1000 scale, as part of RCHME's East Exmoor Project and at the request of the Exmoor National Park Authority. It is believed that the site is a resused late prehistoric defended enclosure. The earthworks comprise an oval enclosure, presumably of Iron Age date. Built onto the south end of the prehistoric ramparts is a small motte, possibly built in the early 12th century. The prehistoric enclosure measures 85 metres north to south, by 58 metres east to west, and is enclosed by a bank up to 4 metres high. There is no sign of an entrance and this was probably blocked in the medieval period. The motte is 23 metres diameter, placed over the ramparts, and with a ditch 6 metres wide encircling it. [9-12] The earthworks comprise an oval enclosure, presumably of Iron Age date. Built onto the south end of the prehistoric ramparts is a small motte, possibly built in the early 12th century. [12] Bury Castle has been mapped at 1:10,000 scale, based on the RCHME 1:1000 plan, but it is almost completely obscured by trees on the available aerial photographs. [14-15] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 9. [18] Work was undertaken to remove bracken from the site in 2008 and 2009. [19] The site was surveyed in July 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 10. [20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [21]

Sources/Archives (21)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1911. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 2. P.482-483.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 17 August 1965.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Various. Scheduled Monument Notification . Department of Environment. Ancient Monuments of England 2, 1978, 119.
  • <5> Monograph: Allcroft, A.H.. 1908. Earthwork of England: Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Danish, Norman, and Mediaeval. Macmillan (London). P.136-137.
  • <6> Article in serial: Fryer, A.C.. 1923. Monumental Effigies in Somerset. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 69. 9. P.21.
  • <7> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <8> Monograph: Dunning, R.. 1995. Somerset Castles.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. R Wilson-North and H Riley, 12 June 1996.
  • <10> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Riley, H.. 1996. Bury Castle/ink survey. 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <11> Report: Wilson-North, R. and Riley, H.. 1996. Bury Castle, Brompton Regis, Somerset: Exmoor Project / Request Survey.
  • <12> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <13> Photograph: Photograph Plan of Bury Castle at Brompton Regis. OS63/F374/3. B/W.
  • <14> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F65) 274-5 (27 April 1964).
  • <15> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS92NW.
  • <16> Monograph: Binding, H. + Bonham-Carter, V.. 1986. Old Dulverton and Around: Dulverton - Bury - Brushford - Exebridge. The Exmoor Press. P.80.
  • <17> Monograph: Dulverton and District Civic Society. 2002. The Book of Dulverton, Brushford, Bury and Exebridge. Halsgrove. P.137.
  • <18> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <19> Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2009. Monument Management Scheme: 2008-9 Report. P. 8.
  • <20> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <21> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36540, Extant 5 April 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9384 2695 (113m by 125m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS92NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO191
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11072
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 92 NW7
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36540
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): SO 342
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33369

Record last edited

Apr 5 2022 5:43PM


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