Desborough Castle

by | Oct 21, 2019 |

Desborough Castle, as its name suggests, was a castle during the Middle Ages and is one of only 60 left in the country today with both a ditch and bailey (defensive wall) from this period. This may be the most obvious part of the sites occupation, but is by no means the first time the site has been used. There is evidence of use on the site dating back to the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age.

Area profile

Desborough Castle is just to the west of Rutland Avenue (close to where it changes its name to Copyground Lane) and north of Spearing Road service road. The central castle area is now wooded but the scheduled area extends over most of the open space beyond and also includes the play area across the road.

Best time to visit

A visit in autumn will give you the best of both worlds with wonderful colours and most of the undergrowth dying back to reveal the contours of the castle in all their glory.


Current evidence suggests that the site has been used intermittently since late Neolithic times (pre 2500BC) with evidence showing that stone tools were being made on the site, with dozens of pieces of worked flint being found during excavations of the site.

600 to 500BC (Iron Age)

A defensive fort is built; this can be seen in the open space where the ground level drops significantly. This would have passed through where there are now properties, so if you live locally have a look in your back garden!

100BC to 400AD (late Iron Age/Roman)

There is good evidence of occupation during this time with a wide variety of finds including Roman roof tiles (suggesting quite a substantial building), large amounts of pottery, a brooch and two 4th century coins.

11th to 13th century (Middle Ages)

After the Romans left there is no evidence of occupation until the 11th century when once again there are plenty of finds and the ditch and bailey castle defences are constructed. Finds include a variety of iron pieces including an 11th century hammer and several pieces of pottery including a fragment of a cooking pot.

Photo credit: All pictures are used with permission from the Buckinghamshire County Museum collections, if you wish to use these images, please contact them through the website below.

Buckinghamshire County Museum collections