Record Details

NHER Number:3455
Type of record:Monument
Name:Wormegay Castle


The remaining earthworks of a fine medieval motte and bailey castle situated on the west side of what was once an island in the peat fen to the south of the River Nar, controlling the causeway between the island and the higher ground to the west. The present village is thought to have developed around the castle after the Norman Conquest, replacing an earlier settlement in the vicinity of St Michael's Church (NHER 3474) to the east. The motte is visible as a large broadly circular tree-covered mound about 5m high, surrounded on three sides by a ditch, with a ditched bailey to the east.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6592 1173
Map Sheet:TF61SE

Full description

July 1975. Visited.
Motte and bailey of castle.
Motte ditched, and bailey. Slight mounds round lip of both. Motte under trees. Blocking of bailey ditch is in line with village street, and faint traces of possible causeway can be seen in bailey (see sketch and NHER 3463) but crossing of motte ditch is to southeast.
E. Rose (NAU), 15 July 1975.

Plan of castle in (S1) published in King's Lynn.

See file for sketch by R. R. Clarke (NCM) from one in Bulwer Manuscripts of 1830.
Castle was seat of the Barony of Wormegay.
Cropmark, linear, runs south from east end of bailey; does it have any connection with the castle, or is it a later field boundary?
Contour survey by D. Edwards and J. Smallwood (NAU).

Monument under good grass cover. Motte supports mature trees. Some thorn and bramble and nettle patches throughout the site. Grazed by cattle, minimal poaching.
(S2) to be implemented, with cutting of thorn and bramble.
H. Paterson (NLA), 14 May 1993.

Agreement now implemented.
Information board might be considered in conjunction with long distance King's Lynn to Gressenhall path.
H. Paterson (NLA), 13 December 1993.

Site under good grass pasture, with a few thistle and nettle patches. Dump of domestic refuse noted on previous visit has been removed.
Grazed by a small herd of bullocks.
H. Paterson (NLA), 20 September 1995.

Castle Meadow House has been sold by Pearsons. New owner is hoping to fence off the mound and graze sheep on it. Site in good condition, some nettles have been poisoned, a few patches remain on mound.
Poaching minimal on mound sides.
H. Paterson (NLA), 1 December 1995.

(S2) Management Agreement signed 29 January 1997 (3 years).
See copy in office file.
H. Paterson (NLA), 14 September 1999.

(S2) Management Agreement signed 13 October 1998 (5 years).
See copy in office file.
H. Paterson (NLA), 14 September 1999.

NB: Wormegay Castle has two different areas with two different agreements for different periods.

January 2000.
Earthwork survey at 1:1250 and report in file, which does not accept that causeway across bailey is an older road.
See (S6).
B. Cushion (NLA), 8 Feb 2000.

7 July 2000. Visit.
Site in excellent condition. Pasture grazed by sheep on motte, castle and bailey.
Nettles strimmed and sprayed. A few nettle patches against fence around motte.
No animal poaching, a little mole disturbance.
H. Paterson (NLA), 28 August 2000.

Ancient Monument details (S3) and earthwork survey in file and plandale.

October 2001.
Whole site under healthy grass cover with minimal mole disturbance or nettle/thistle growth.
Motte grazed by sheep, bailey by cattle. An area of straw resides in the centre of the bailey.
Field has been rolled and cut.
[1] died September 2000, widow and family to retain field for grazing cattle.
H. Paterson (NLA), 18 October 2001.

January 2003.
Whole site under good grass cover. Bailey grazed by cattle in the summer months. No cattle poaching. Motte close cropped grass, sheep grazing to recommence in February. Moat almost completely waterfilled. One large oak has uprooted to south. Nothing noted in huge upturned root plate. Unable to examine hole under the root, as water filled. Owner did not notice any artefacts.
H.Paterson (A&E), 28 January 2003.

(S4) argues that there is circumstantial evidence for a Late Saxon manor house on the castle site.
D. Gurney (NLA), 14 May 2003.

Section 17 Agreement (S2) signed 7 October 2003.
Copy in office file.
H. Paterson (A&E), 17 October 2003.

December 2009.
Both Section 17 management agreements renewed (one covers the bailey, the other the motte).
See (S5).
D. Robertson (NLA), 11 August 2010.

Monument Types

  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • MANOR HOUSE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Management Statement

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Braun, H. 1937. Earthwork Castles. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Third Series Vol I pp 128-156. p 140.
---Unpublished Document: H. Paterson (A&E), MPP. Section 17 Management Agreement.
---Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1954. TF 6611A.
---Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 184.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 61 SE 10.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 787-788.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Wormegay.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards,D.. 1991. NHER TF6511/AA/EV8 (EDWARDS) 10-DEC-1991.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF306.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF306.
<S1>Publication: 1863. Wormigay or The Weir Amid the Water.
<S2>Unpublished Document: H. Paterson (A&E), MPP. Section 17 Management Agreement.
<S3>Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF306.
<S4>Monograph: Liddiard, R.. 2000. Landscapes of lordship: Norman castles and the countryside in medieval Norfolk, 1066-1200.. pp 31-33, 75-79.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. 2009-2010. Norfolk Monuments Management Project Section 17 agreement. Both Section 17 agreements for this site renewed this financial year..
<S6>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 728.

Related records - none

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