Yelden Castle was a motte-and-bailey castle situated at the bottom of the Til Valley, with the river forming the western edge of the castle running between it and the village and belonging to the de Trailly family.
The castle was probably built in the late 11th or early 12th century and is mentioned in The Northamptonshire Pipe Rolls for 1173-74 when Henry 11 paid several knights for garrisoning the castle. By 1360 the castle was abandoned and is recorded as having "fallen intirely into decay".
The earthworks at Yelden show clearly the transition from an early military to later manorial use. They include a motte with baileys to the north and west; beyond the latter was a large fishpond. According to Samuel Lysons the 18th century antiquarian there were traces of wall appearing beyond the moat.
The site was excavated for a week in 1881 by the Rev. R.S.Baker Stone, revealing the base of two small towers at the south west corner, perhaps a gatehouse and a small mound in the in the ditch nearby covers the base of a detached tower.
- Baker, Yelden Castle In The Archaeological Journal Vol.39 1982
- HEARING, Richard. The Topographical context of Bedfordshire Castles. 2002.
- SALTER, M. The Castles of the Thames Valle and the Chilterns. 2002
Yelden Castle by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2012
Page last updated: 4th February 2014