Sites of Castles and Castellated Mansions
All the castles in this county have been demolished; but considerable earth-works remain on their sites. The only traces now existing of Bedford castle, formerly the chief seat of the Beauchamps, barons of Bedford, consist of a large circular mount, with a flat space on top, now used a bowling green, and some earth works adjoining.
Extensive vestiges of Eaton Socon castle, which belonged to a younger branch of the Beauchamps of Bedford, are to be seen in a field near the church. In the centre is a high mount, surrounded by a moat, communicating with the river: about twenty-four yards beyond the moat is a vallum surrounding the whole, except on the river side.
The traces of Yielden castle, the seat of the ancient barons of Trally, are extensive. The principal works form a square of about eighty paces; in the centre is a large mount called the Castle-hill, with a vallum on the west side of it, including a space 90 paces long and 45 wide; round these works is a moat, in some parts of which the water still remains; and beyond the moat appear traces of walls for a considerable space.
The elevated keeps of Risinghoe and Cainhoe Castles remain, with extensive earth-works. At Bletsoe and Ridgmont are also traces of castles. In a field near Toddington church is the keep of a castle, and some slight earth works, called Conger-hill. At Meppershall, Puddington and Thurleigh, are vestiges of castles, or at least castellated mansions. At Sutton is a moated site, in the park, commonly called John of Gaunt's castle. At Odell, a mansion house, now the seat of Thomas Alston Esq. Has been erected on the site of the castle, the ancient seat of the barons Wahull, which was a ruin in Lelands time. At Arlesey are considerable earthworks, called Etonbury.
Extract from: Lysons' Magna Britannia being a concise topographical account of several counties of Great Britain by the Rev. Daniel Lysons, A.M., F.R.S. F.A. and L.S. Rector of Rodmarton in Gloucestershire and Samuel Lysons, Esq., F.R.S. and F.A.S. Keeper of His Majesty's Records in the Tower of London, 1806
Page last updated: 23rd January 2014