A ringwork is a form of fortified defensive structure, usually circular or oval in shape. Ringworks are essentially motte-and-bailey castles minus the motte. Defences were usually earthworks in the form of a ditch and bank surrounding the site.
Ringworks originated in Germany in the 10th century as an early form of medieval castle and at first were little more than a fortified manor house. They appeared in England just prior to the Norman conquest and large numbers were built during the late 11th and early 12th centuries. More elaborate versions comprise a ringwork and bailey, the ringwork replacing the more usual motte and the bailey acting as a military stronghold.
A survey published in 1969 identified 198 ringwork castles in England and Wales, with a further 50 sites that were considered to possibly be ringworks.
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- Friar, Stephen (2003). A Sutton Companion to Castles. Sutton Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-7509-3994-2.
- Darvill, Timothy (2008). Oxford Concise Dictionary of Archaeology, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, p. 386. ISBN 978-0-19-953404-3.
- King, David James Cathcart; Alcock, Leslie (1969). "Ringworks of England and Wales". Château Galliard 3: 90–127.
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