Castle or mere Hunting Lodge?
In times past the village of West Woodhay was known as Woodhay Oseville, named after the Lords who held the manor until about 1250. Near the present church, but half a mile from the old one, stands the motte of a small castle or hunting lodge. It was probably built by the Oseville ancestor, William FitzSwale, in the early twelfth century. He was the son of Swalo, the man given the manor after the Norman Conquest. The St. Amands later lived there, but Almaric, the 1st Lord St. Amand, probably abandoned the castle, about 1300, for a more comfortable manor house near the newly built church. Seventeen years later, his brother, John, Lord St. Amand, was granted the right to hold a market in Woodhay every Tuesday! John's son, Almaric, 3rd Lord St. Amand, was a famous knight who took an active part in the Hundred Years War.
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