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Mount Bures, Essex

Mount Bures is a very small village about seven miles south of Sudbury and nine miles north-west of Colchester.  The settlement lies at about 45m OD on a spur of land overlooking the Cambridge Brook, which flows into the River Stour about a mile north of the village. The Stour here follows the county boundary between Essex and Suffolk, and Mount Bures thus lies close to this boundary, although not directly overlooking it.  Straddling the river is a larger settlement which has formed from the coalescence of Bures Hamlet (on the Essex side) and Bures St Mary (in Suffolk), which lies about 2 miles north of Mount Bures. Although Mount Bures is distinguished from the riverside settlement by being on higher ground, the settlement gains the ‘mount’ element of its name from the large artificial conical earthen mound at its centre, which is sited immediately north of the parish church. This mound may be of prehistoric origin but adapted in the medieval period to function as a manorial castle motte. Recent excavation revealed no evidence for habitative structures on its summit, and it seems most likely to have functioned as a combined status symbol and lookout post. The village today lies at the intersection between roads running along and across the spur and contains around twenty-five houses, most of which are of 20th century construction. The parish is thinly settled with a markedly dispersed scatter of farms, and the area has a generally woodland character with small irregular fields.

Local Information Websites

Bures Historical Society

Colchester Archaeological Group

Mount Bures Village Website

British History Online

Heritage Gateway


Projects by Year



Test Pit Pottery Distribution Map 2011

Test Pit Animal Bone Distribution Map 2011

Test Pit Flint & Burnt Stone Distribution Map 2011


Click here for the full report from Mount Bures community excavations