The Mill on the Hill
The Distance Project 21

The Monday Photo

Wing motte  Bucks

Wing’s Castle Hill

Right next to the end of Wing’s High Street by the turn to Stewkley is a motte; the mound where Wing’s Norman castle keep once stood. To the North of the mound are earthworks that are probably the edge of the original bailey.

There’s no evidence of stonework on the motte; it would most likely have been a timber keep, and a ditch and palisade defensive wall around the bailey.

Wing Castle was smaller than Castlethorpe’s, but the reason for it being there was the same; to dominate the area.

The castle is set near the top of the hill. It could see, and be seen from, anywhere from due North to nearly due South, including the Roman road that came through Stewkley from the North, and met Akeman Street to the South after going through Mentmore and Pitstone.

This road may have been an important local route, and a main reason for the castle’s position.

It’s fairly common to see a motte with a church nearby, on the site of the castle chapel. But Wing church is half a mile away and the oldest part is Saxon, so there was a settlement here long before the castle came. That’s unlike Castlethorpe where the village formed because of the castle.

The motte is about twenty feet (6 metres) high, and a hundred feet (30 metres) across. It will have eroded over the centuries and the sides would once have been steeper, the top wider and higher.

But now it’s just another piece of history, though a woman who lives very close to it told me she was glad it was there, because it meant the field would never get built on. Oh well.

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