Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hills ringwork and bailey

A Scheduled Monument in Heydour, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.9453 / 52°56'43"N

Longitude: -0.5023 / 0°30'8"W

OS Eastings: 500735.038908

OS Northings: 339710.690864

OS Grid: TF007397

Mapcode National: GBR FR7.CV2

Mapcode Global: WHGKK.872C

Entry Name: Castle Hills ringwork and bailey

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019977

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33128

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Heydour

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Ancaster Wilsford Group

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a medieval ringwork and bailey lying on a gentle east-
facing slope known as Castle Hills, which was occupied by a manor house in the
later medieval period. In 1086 the land was held by Guy de Craon, as part of
his manor of Osbournby. By the beginning of the 13th century the manor of
Heydour was held by a tenant, Roger de Rudston, and in 1343 documentary
sources record the presence of a manor house with outbuildings, a dovecote and
a garden. By the 16th century the manor of Heydour had descended to the Bussey
The ringwork takes the form of a raised sub-circular mound, enclosed by a
ditch. The mound measures approximately 60m in diameter and stands up to 2.5m
above the base of the surrounding ditch. The interior of the ringwork is
marked by a series of rectilinear platforms and low banks, with stonework
protruding through the turf, representing buried building foundations. The
building remains are believed to be associated with the later medieval
occupation of the site, when a manor house and ancillary domestic buildings
stood on the mound. In the 16th century Leland, the antiquarian, wrote that a
member of the Bussey family `dwelleth in an old place at Haider' indicating
that the site was still occupied at this time.
The ditch, measuring 8m in width and up to 1.5m deep, encloses the ringwork to
the west and south; an irregular shaped water-filled pond, lying on the line
of the ditch, extends around the south eastern side of the ringwork. On the
north side of the mound the ditch is partly infilled and survives as a buried
feature; its course, depicted on earlier maps, is visible as a shallow
depression. There are now three access points to the ringwork; a broad
causeway to the south provides access between the ringwork and bailey and is
believed to indicate the position of an original access point, as does a
narrower causeway on the western side of the ringwork. Both now serve as part
of a trackway crossing the ringwork and bailey. A linear hollow providing
access to the eastern side of the mound is thought to be modern in origin.
The bailey, adjoining the southern side of the ringwork, is semi-circular in
plan, measuring approximately 90m from east to west by 45m, and is enclosed by
a bank up to 1m in height. The earthwork remains of an external ditch are
visible on the south western side of the bailey; elsewhere the infilled
portion of the ditch survives as a buried feature.
To the north east of the ringwork lies an L-shaped bank, the only surviving
part of an enclosure associated with the complex. Immediately to the north of
the ringwork there are a series of channels, which supplied water to the
complex, and two further building platforms. A broad, flat-based channel, now
dry, lined by a low bank on the northern side, divides into two narrower
channels, one leading southwards, toward the ditch around the ringwork, the
other branch leading south east for a distance of approximately 80m. A
rectangular, water-filled pond located at the end of the latter channel is
believed to be modern in origin and is not included in the scheduling. The two
irregular shaped level platforms, both measuring appoximately 40m in length
and between 30m and 40m in width lie between the channels. Both platforms
incorporate low earth-covered stone walls, indicating the location of building
remains, thought to be service structures associated with the manor house. A
further channel, depicted on earlier maps, lined the east side of the
southernmost platform and fed into the ditch on the east side of the ringwork
and bailey. This channel is no longer visible but will survive as a buried
The remains of two fishponds, located approximately 80m east of the ringwork
and formerly associated with the complex, have been altered and are therefore
not included in the scheduling.
All fence posts and water troughs are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork and bailey at Castle Hills survives well as a series of earthwork
and buried remains. The buried building remains will preserve valuable
evidence of the later layout, construction and use of the site. Waterlogging
will preserve evidence of organic remains, such as seeds, leather and timber.
In addition, the raised ground will preserve evidence of the land use prior to
the construction of the monument. The continued use of the site over a period
of 400 years will contribute to an understanding of the development of a
relatively high status component of the medieval landscape. As a result
of detailed archaeological survey and documentary research the monument is
quite well understood.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Downham, EA, Ancient Earthworks in Lincolnshire, (1912), 14
Healey, RH, Roffe, DR, Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire, (1990), 59-60
Li 30083, (1999)
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" sheet 114.8, 2nd Edition
Source Date: 1905

Source: Historic England

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