Ancient Monuments

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King's Hill motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Wrangle, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.0564 / 53°3'22"N

Longitude: 0.1078 / 0°6'28"E

OS Eastings: 541361.317358

OS Northings: 353088.189294

OS Grid: TF413530

Mapcode National: GBR KX0.B38

Mapcode Global: WHJMJ.MFJS

Entry Name: King's Hill motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 14 October 1936

Last Amended: 18 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018398

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22742

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Wrangle

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Wrangle St Mary and St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes King's Hill, the remains of a motte and bailey castle
which served as the centre of a local manor. It is believed to be associated
with a manorial estate which was established in the 11th and 12th centuries
and belonged, in the 13th and 14th centuries, to the earls of Lincoln. In the
early 17th century the estate passed to James I, and the remains of the castle
subsequently became known as King's Hill.

The remains take the form of a series of substantial earthworks located in the
fenland approximately 2.5km north west of St Mary and St Nicholas' Church.

In the northern part of the monument is the motte, a large earthen mound of
approximately circular plan, measuring about 60m in diameter and standing
about 2m above the surrounding ground level. On the top of the mound, which
is flat in profile, are the earthwork remains of a series of structures ranged
around the west, north and east sides of a shallow central depression or yard.
The mound is encircled by a steep-sided ditch about 2m in depth which
represents the remains of a moat.

Adjacent and to the south of the motte are the remains of a bailey, also
moated, which measures about 60m north-south and 70m east-west and stands
about 1m high. The bailey includes a further series of building platforms,
also ranged around a yard. The bailey would have been the site of the domestic
and agricultural buildings of the manor, including stables and barns.

Adjacent to the north are the remains of a small ditched enclosure, one of a
series formerly surrounding the castle which would have included gardens,
orchards and paddocks.

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.

The remains of the motte and bailey castle known as King's Hill survive well
as a series of substantial earthworks which have been little altered since
medieval times. Partial waterlogging in the area of the moat will preserve
organic remains, such as leather and wood, which will provide an additional
insight into domestic and agricultural activities on the site. Situated in
the fenland, the monument is rare in being one of very few earthwork sites
surviving from the medieval period. The remains are characteristic of a
historical period in which expansion into the fen was achieved through
manorial complexes of this type, and they will preserve valuable evidence for
the way in such complexes were established in a distinctive ecological and
economic environment, and how they functioned within the wider medieval

Source: Historic England

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