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Risinghoe Castle Goldington

Sketch plan of the castle mound and Castle Mill House  in 1961 [Z1169-8-60-18]
Sketch plan of the castle mound and Castle Mill House in 1961 [Z1169/8/60/18] to see a larger version please click on the image

Risinghoe Castle is close to the River Great Ouse in the vicinity of Castle Mills. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for Risinghoe Castle [HER 335] notes: “The site consists of a roughly circular mound approximately 6 metres high and 30 metres across. The top is flattened and the sides fairly steep, but there is no sign of a moat or any other ancillary earthworks. An entry dating from 1180-1200 in the Cartulary of Warden Abbey mentions the old castle beside Risinghoe Mill, indicating that the structure was already old by this date. It is likely to have been one of a number of "adulterine" castles known to have been built by King Stephen (1135-1154) during his siege of Bedford in 1138. As such it would have been a short-lived timber structure”.

“The surrounding fields have been excavated for brick-earth, which may have removed any associated earthworks; a subsidiary mound is said to have existed into the 19th century. Limited excavation of the mound in 1943 found nothing structural, although sherds of medieval pottery were found nearby”.

Volume I of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire, published in 1904, states: “In Goldington parish, about 2½ miles east of Bedford, on the north bank of the river, on ground belonging to the Castle Mills, stands the solitary mound of Risinghoe. In its present state it is more like a barrow than anything else, but the traditions and statements that it is a remnant of a former stronghold are too numerous to be passed over without mention. [John] Leland [c. 1503-1552] says ‘The great round hill where the keep or dungeon stood is clean hole’. The Lysons [Daniel and Samuel Lysons’ Magna Britannica volume for Bedfordshire of 1806] write, ‘The keep of the castle is of considerable height, and adjoining it are large earthworks’. Rev W Monkhouse in 1854 wrote to contest the view that there was ever a castle here, but he had only a stone structure in his view, and he does not appear to have examined the examples we have just described. No traces of earthworks now appear in connection with the mound, but the fields adjoining have been extensively worked out for brick earth. Old inhabitants describe a smaller mound which stood close to the one remaining, which was actually removed for the purpose named. The mound, about 20 feet high, is semi-spherical, though the summit has a small flat space on it made in recent times. There are no signs of a surrounding moat”.