Projects - South Cerney Castle
South Cerney Castle
Apart from local people, few would know of the existence of a castle in South Cerney. After all we are not talking here of the grandeur of a royal residence or the ruins of an imposing defender of the kingdom against unrest or invasion.
In fact nothing of South Cerney Castle remains today although that it did exist in some form from 1139 is not in doubt.
But where did it stand?
The castle's site has long been given given by the Ordnance Survey as just off the upper end of Siver Street but this is disputed by local historian Michael Oakehott. In Fertile Fields and Small Settlements: A History of South Cerney and Cerney Wick (2001) he suggests this is in fact the location of a medieval manor house, a claim borne out by a professional excavation in 2017 that revealed a complex of fishponds, rather than a moat.
Instead Oakeshott makes the case for the castle being of 12th century origin and located along Hill View ridge at the top of School Lane with strategic views over the surrounding countryside.
To explore Oakeshott's theory, the Trust has embarked on a series of speculative archaeological investigations during 2019 and 2020. Here you can review what was found and read a little more about the Castle's brief history.
- South Cerney Castle - a brief history
- Phase 1: Initial surveys, October & November 2018
- Phase 2: First archaeological dig, May 2019
- Phase 3: Second archaeological dig, February 2020
- Next steps
The South Cerney Trust would like to thank land owner Will Seymour for his permission to carry out the excavations, and for joining in with the digs; archaeologists John Samuel (assisted by Mike McQueen) for his expertise, project leadership and liaison with the County Archaeologist, including the filing of the required surveys and reports; Trust members James Hill and Chris Snowden who co-ordinated the volunteer diggers and organised equipment; Trust members Mandy Aldridge, Andy Beard, Roger Beard, Barbara Chamberlain, Hazel Finlayson, Hazel Greaves, Jenny May and Patrick Mills who wielded the spades; finally Trevor Sibbick for the supply and operation of the mechanical digger.