Ancient Monuments

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Tower Hill motte castle, Stainby

A Scheduled Monument in Gunby and Stainby, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.7941 / 52°47'38"N

Longitude: -0.6524 / 0°39'8"W

OS Eastings: 490961.776886

OS Northings: 322689.524513

OS Grid: SK909226

Mapcode National: GBR DRG.XHQ

Mapcode Global: WHGL7.Y1H9

Entry Name: Tower Hill motte castle, Stainby

Scheduled Date: 19 October 1973

Last Amended: 24 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019527

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33135

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Gunby and Stainby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Stainby St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the medieval motte known as Tower Hill located on the
south side of the present village of Stainby. In 1086 Alfred of Lincoln held a
manor in Stainby. The manor remained intact until the mid-13th century and was
then divided between two families, de Cumpton and de Holywell. It is believed
that the latter family held the manorial centre in Stainby during the 13th

Situated toward the top of a steep north-facing slope, the motte takes the
form of a subcircular mound surrounded by a ditch. The motte stands up to 3m
in height with a flat top approximately 20m in diameter. Low earthworks on the
top of the motte are thought to indicate the location of buried building
remains. A bank, up to 0.5m high, which encloses the top of the motte, is
thought to indicate the location of the buried remains of a wall or palisade.
The motte is in turn enclosed by a ditch measuring between 5m to 10m in width
and 0.5m deep. A causeway which crosses the ditch at the north eastern side
may indicate the location of an original access point.

All fence posts and chicken coops are excluded from the scheduling although
the ground beneath them is included.

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

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.

Tower Hill motte castle survives well as a series of earthworks and buried
deposits. These will preserve evidence of the original form of the
fortifications and layout of the buildings within them. The artificially
raised ground will preserve evidence of land-use prior to the construction of
the motte. The association of the motte castle with the medieval manor of
Stainby contributes to an understanding of the inter-relationship of
contemporary components of the medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Healey, RH, Roffe, DR, Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire, (1990), 67-68
Li 30074, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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