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Sapcote Castle and moat

A Scheduled Monument in Sapcote, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5363 / 52°32'10"N

Longitude: -1.2837 / 1°17'1"W

OS Eastings: 448680.430177

OS Northings: 293398.144907

OS Grid: SP486933

Mapcode National: GBR 7M3.SCF

Mapcode Global: VHCSY.PJQ1

Entry Name: Sapcote Castle and moat

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 13 October 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010301

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17036

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Sapcote

Built-Up Area: Sapcote

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Sapcote All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

Sapcote Castle lies within the village 100m north of the church. The motte
and bailey castle is situated in a field called Toot Hill Close; the adjoining
moat lies in Park Close or Noble Park to the west.
Toot Hill Close is 140 x 80m and contains the remains of a motte, partly
modified in c1778 but currently surviving as a mound rising to about 1m. The
bailey ditch has been infilled in recent years and can be seen as a grass
mark 100m to the west of the motte. Park Close, measuring 150m square,
contains three sides of a late medieval moat, constructed adjacent to the
castle bailey, which was infilled in c.1960 and survives as a grass mark along
the course of its northern arm.
Reports dating from the 1920's onwards indicate the presence of stone castle
buildings in the vicinity of the motte. The bailey originally extended to the
north but this part was heavily modified by the construction of a factory
during World War II. A bank in this northern part which survived World War
II, outside the area of the scheduling was destroyed in 1964, and a watching
brief revealed a stone lined well, a granite cobbled road, and a wall and a
ditch, all of 13th-15th century date. Excavations were carried out in the
north east part of Toot Hill Close by the Leicester Archaeological Excavation
Group from 1967-74, revealing a 13th century wall and turret and an earlier
stone hearth and flue. In 1978, a watching brief by Leicestershire Museums
during the construction of a scout hut adjacent to the motte also revealed the
stone foundations of a building.
Excavations were also carried out in 1958, prior to the filling of the moat in
Park Close. Records of the moat being partly filled in the late 18th century
were confirmed by excavation and the original depth of the ditch was found to
be about 3m and the width 8m. A later date than the castle is indicated by
excavation which showed the moat to post date a 13th century ditch. A
second moat also adjoined the first to the south but is now totally built
over.
Excluded from the scheduling are: the Scout hut, a concrete path leading to a
house next to Toot Hill Close, the pavilion, a drinking fountain, and a
concrete base for swings. The ground beneath these features is, however,
included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain
by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the
motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of
examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey,
adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal
administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and
bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their
immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive
monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape.
Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally,
with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of
recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for
the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although
many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to
be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they
were superseded by other types of castle.

Sapcote is one of three castles in south west Leicestershire, with Earl
Shilton and Hinckley, which immediately post date the Norman Conquest.
Excavation has shown that the castle contains many stone buildings and the
potential for survival of further buried features is high. The adjoining moat
demonstrates that occupation of the site continued well into the medieval
period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Smith, S, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Hist Society' in Notes in Leicestershire Archaeology 1967, , Vol. 45, (1967)

Source: Historic England

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