Our interpretation of the term 'castle' found in location names in the UK is most likely derived from the latin castellum
a Roman term meaning a Fortlet or watch tower. Many places ending in castle are actually descriptive of later Norman Castles in a
location, but these may have been originally in areas where the early Roman fortlets were found.
As you can see, in Southern England the majority of these locations lie on known Roman roads or ridgeways, and are associated with
earthworks. This implies that they were Roman fortlets that protect main routes. There are a number of these locations, especially
those along the north of the high weald ridge that are not on a known road but appear as a straight line implying a road on this ridge.
Castellum were Roman military watch towers built of wood or stone and were built on major routes or borders to protect and
provide warning of invaders. In the South of England, the majority would have been wooden as the forest of
would have provided raw materials.
These map locations are usually associated with nearby earthworks in the South of England, good examples of this are
Castle Farm at Mountfield with its nearby associated earthworks, this association is also found at Castle field at Winchelsea,
Castle Toll at Newenden in Kent and Castle hill Brenchley among others.
Photos of reconstructed Roman Fortlet can be seen below, click the photo below to go to their page on the subject.
An artists impression of the Castellum at Hoge Woerd - Holland
The reconstructed Castellum at Hoge Woerd - Holland
Reconstructed watchtower, between Bad Nauheim and Pfaffenwiesbach, Germany.
Total Locations shown on this map is 119