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Bailey Hill motte and bailey castle, High Bradfield

A Scheduled Monument in Bradfield, Sheffield

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4301 / 53°25'48"N

Longitude: -1.601 / 1°36'3"W

OS Eastings: 426605.708457

OS Northings: 392659.573931

OS Grid: SK266926

Mapcode National: GBR KX8S.54

Mapcode Global: WHCC9.C1VS

Entry Name: Bailey Hill motte and bailey castle, High Bradfield

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1927

Last Amended: 21 March 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013217

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13212

County: Sheffield

Civil Parish: Bradfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Bradfield St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield

Details

Believed to be a 12th century castle of the de Furnivals, the monument
comprises a motte c.18m high whose summit has been disturbed by amateur
excavation, leaving it crescent shaped in plan. During excavations in 1720,
squared tool-marked stones were found which have been interpreted as the
foundations of a tower. A deep, steep-sided ditch c.9m wide circles the motte
to the north and extends southward along the east flank of the monument,
following the south-westward curve of a substantial 8m wide rampart. At its
northern end, the rampart stops just short of the motte. At its southern end,
it curves round to meet the edge of the sharp drop down into the valley of
Rocher End Brook. This scarp forms a natural western defence to a small semi-
circular bailey measuring c.15m x 30m, though it is likely this edge was also
palisaded. A low bank running between the scarp and the motte ditch at the
northern end of the bailey is all that survives of another section of rampart.
A causeway across the motte ditch just south of this was a point of access to
the motte from the bailey. Access to the bailey seems to have been from the
south-west or, alternatively, from the east across the outer ditch, where a
route up from the village and church would have passed through the gap between
motte and rampart. A ditch also divides the bailey from the east rampart.
Modern walling and fencing is excluded from the scheduling though the ground
beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 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.

The Bailey Hill motte and bailey castle survives well and archaeological
deposits appear largely undisturbed except where past, small-scale excavation
was carried out on the motte summit. Importantly, the monument, which in
strategic terms commanded the upper reaches of the River Loxley, is part of a
wider settlement pattern which includes High Bradfield and the nearby motte
castle on Castle Hill, although the exact relationship between the two castles
is not at present known.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: Volume II, (1912)
Birch, J, Programme of the Summer meeting of the Royal Arch. Inst., (1980)
'Archaeologia' in Watson's Account of foure hitherto undescribed remains of Antiq., , Vol. VI, (1782)
Addy, S O, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bailey Hill, Bradfield, , Vol. 20, (1909)

Source: Historic England

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