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Toddington Castle

 Children listening for the witch on Conger Hill [Z50/142/256]
Children listening for the witch on Conger Hill [Z50/142/256]

A large artificial mound known as Conger Hill situated in a field approximately 100 metres to the east of the church is the motte of a Norman motte and bailey castle. The outer bank and ditch of the bailey survives to the east, with vestiges to the south and west. It is likely that the castle was built in the late 11th or early 12th centuries. It may already have gone out of use by the middle of the 13th century when Paulinus Peyvre built his manor house, probably at Old Park to the north-east of the parish, or possibly on the site of the present Manor Lodge.

The name Conger Hill is thought to derive from the middle English word conynger, meaning "rabbit warren". This suggests the mound was used as a warren during the later middle ages. By a local custom which continued until the 1970s a bell would be rung on Shrove Tuesday as a signal for all the village children to run to Conger Hill where they would lie with their ears to the ground to hear the sizzling sound of a witch cooking her pancakes inside the mound.

Conger Hill April 2016
Conger Hill April 2016