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Castle Hill motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Rotherham

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Latitude: 53.3883 / 53°23'17"N

Longitude: -1.2252 / 1°13'30"W

OS Eastings: 451628.808542

OS Northings: 388217.194523

OS Grid: SK516882

Mapcode National: GBR MYW8.K3

Mapcode Global: WHDDT.43V9

Entry Name: Castle Hill motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 23 July 1928

Last Amended: 19 June 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012199

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13227

County: Rotherham

Civil Parish: Laughton-en-le-Morthen

Built-Up Area: Laughton en le Morthen

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Laughton-en-le-Morthen and Throapham

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


Castle Hill, Laughton en le Morthen, is a very well-preserved example of a
conventional motte and bailey castle, consisting of a motte, c.9m high, with
a kidney-shaped inner bailey to the north east, measuring c.50m x 20m. The
bailey is surrounded by a substantial rampart with an outer ditch encircling
the earthworks on the north, west and south. An outer bailey lay to the
north and east under what is now the churchyard of the fourteenth century
parish church of All Saints and part of its rampart can be seen as an earth
bank running east-west immediately north of the church. These remains of the
outer bailey have been disturbed by the use of the churchyard for burial,
and, as the graveyard remains in active use, are not included in this
scheduling. According to the Domesday Book, Laughton was the location of the
hall of Earl Edwin of Mercia who was brother-in-law to King Harold
Godwinson. It is thought that the site of the Saxon hall underlies the
Norman earthworks since the church itself, adjacent to the site, lies on a
Saxon foundation. After the Conquest, the manor was granted to Roger de
Busli, who built the Norman castle, as part of the Honour of Tickhill. All
modern walls, paths and features are excluded from the scheduling. The
ground underneath, however, is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte 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-bai1ey 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 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
and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from
most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as
motte castles. 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.

Castle Hill motte and bailey castle, Laughton en le Morthen, is particularly
important for being one of the best-preserved examples of its class in the
county. Except for the outer bailey it is almost completely undisturbed and
therefore has considerable archaeological potential. It is a well-documented
site and of especial importance is the possibility of underlying deposits
relating to the late Saxon hall of Earl Edwin of Mercia.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Addy, S O, Some Defensive Earthworks In The Neighbourhood Of Sheffield, (1914)
Birch, J, Programme of the Summer meeting of the Royal Arch. Inst., (1980)
Chalkley-Gould, I, Some Early Defensive Earthworks In The Sheffield District, (1904)
Journal of the British Archaeological Assoc., , 'Journal of the British Archaeological Assoc.' in New Series: Note re. Edwin of Mercia, ()
Domesday survey i, 319a, 310b, 315a., (1086)

Source: Historic England

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