Demesne Farm

Project Profile

Project Title :

Demesne Farm, Bellingham

Client :

Mr and Mrs Telfer

Type of Work :

Watching Brief

Project Gallery 

Building site and castle mound   19th century dry-stone wall  
Castle mound   Development site and castle mound  
Monitoring strip of building footprint   Development site and Castle Mound  


Demesne Farm

From fortified manor to 18th century farm

NAA were approached by the owners of Demesne Farm, Bellingham in Northumberland to undertake a continual watching brief during groundworks associated with the construction of a steel-framed barn and a feed silo. The archaeological work was required as a planning condition because the new farm buildings were situated close to 'Castle Mound', a high grassy mound thought to have been the location of a castle or fortified house.

Documentary evidence suggested there was a castle or fortified house dating from at least the 13th century within Bellingham. Castle Mound has been linked with this site, although it seems unlikely that the feature was a purpose built motte and bailey. It is more likely that it is in fact a natural glacial mound utilised in the 13th century for the manorial seat. There is no evidence of a lower bailey and the mound itself is considered small for a motte. Remains of a stone building were described as ruinous in 1825, and these may relate to a castle or fortified house.

As a result of the removal of the topsoil and subsoil from the footprint of the barn the only archaeological feature to be revealed was the footings of an early 19th century dry-stone wall, presumably a farm enclosure or boundary wall, that was built into a layer of post-medieval subsoil. The groundworks did cut into the base of the Castle Mound, confirming that it was natural feature formed by glacial deposits.

The archaeological monitoring was undertaken entirely within the schedule allocated for the groundworks and did not lead to any delays in the work programme.

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