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Core part of Wetherby Castle, 240m north west of Wetherby Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Wetherby, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.9275 / 53°55'39"N

Longitude: -1.3891 / 1°23'20"W

OS Eastings: 440208.091454

OS Northings: 448104.608913

OS Grid: SE402481

Mapcode National: GBR LRR0.1V

Mapcode Global: WHDB0.MJQY

Entry Name: Core part of Wetherby Castle, 240m north west of Wetherby Bridge

Scheduled Date: 20 July 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1433268

County: Leeds

Civil Parish: Wetherby

Built-Up Area: Wetherby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Wetherby St James

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


Low standing and buried remains of a castle keep and adjacent, associated buried and earthwork remains of the western part of a castle and its southern rampart, focused on the keep, occupied in the late C11 to early C12. Further remains of the castle and the medieval settlement of Wetherby survive outside the scheduled area.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: part of a medieval castle including the remains of the keep and the immediately surrounding area including most of the southern rampart, surviving mainly as buried archaeological deposits, but including some low earthworks and exposed stonework.

DESCRIPTION: the castle occupies a naturally defended position at the top of a steep river escarpment overlooking a bend in the River Wharfe, the keep sited at the highest point, set within a defended, embanked enclosure interpreted as being an earlier ringwork. This ringwork is thought to have extended to the E nearly as far as Scott Lane, probably with a gatehouse aligned with the current street Castlegate, and northwards possibly as far as the northern end of Scott Lane, the southern and western sides following the river escarpment. Although sample excavation found that at least part of the rampart forming the ringwork survived as a bank of cobbles and rubble limestone up to 10m wide standing to 2m above the buried medieval ground surface, this being part of the southern rampart included in the monument, the full extent and level of survival of medieval remains of the eastern and northern parts of the ringwork are not fully understood and these areas are not included in the scheduling.

Archaeological investigations in 2003-5 demonstrated the in situ survival of the foundations of the keep incorporated into the landscaped gardens set out in the 1930s and subsequently retained as part of the grounds of the Castle Keep apartment building. The keep measures 20m by 17.5m, with walls typically 4.7m thick standing to around 1m high. The centre of the keep forms a gravelled, sunken garden surrounded by raised beds and rockeries first set out in the 1930s, the outer face of the keep being largely buried beneath the surrounding ground surface. To the S of the keep and the raised beds, there is a marked rise in the ground surface which has been identified as a further area of buried structural remains. To the SW of the keep, set right at the edge of the escarpment, there is a more pronounced mound that has been interpreted as the buried remains of a building. To the N of the keep, an evaluation trench identified the footings of a substantial wall at the top of the escarpment that has been interpreted as being the remains of an outer curtain wall. Although the steep slope down to the river to the W lies beyond this wall line, the slope effectively formed part of the outer defences of the castle and is also considered to have a high potential for retaining in situ refuse deposits from the castle, preserving valuable information about medieval activity on the site. The southern rampart survives as a buried feature along the S side of the modern apartment buildings at the top of the river escarpment. The slope below, to the S, was also part of the defences of the castle, but has been developed and is therefore excluded from the scheduling.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: this is focused on the known surviving remains of the core of the castle, its keep and immediately surrounding area including most of the castle's southern rampart. Although it is known that the castle extended across a wider area, particularly to the N and E, and that in situ medieval remains are known to survive across parts of this area, including remains that were preserved beneath the apartment building and associated hard surfacing, these remains are not included within the scheduled monument. The extent of scheduling is drawn to modern property boundaries to the W and S. The N boundary also follows a property boundary in the W, but then follows, but does not include, the wall line of the apartment building. The E boundary does likewise except where it follows, but does not include, two sections of fence line to meet the N and S boundaries.

EXCLUSIONS: all timber and metal fencing, posts, steps and boarding retaining path surfaces are excluded from the scheduling. Boundary walls, concrete paving and steps are also excluded, however the stone walling of raised beds and areas of stone surfacing is included in the scheduling because particular care needs to be taken identifying what stonework forms part of the medieval keep, and what is the result of later landscaping. The ground beneath all excluded items is however included in the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The core part of Wetherby Castle, 240m NW of Wetherby Bridge, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Period: as a rarely identified example of an unlicensed or adulterine castle occupied in the late C11 to early C12;
* Potential: as a relatively short-lived castle it retains archaeological information from a discrete period with little disturbance from later medieval activity;
* Documentation: the results of archaeological investigations in 2003-05 add to our understanding of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Field Archaeology Specialists, 2003, "Wetherby Castle, Wetherby" (typescript report analysing documentary evidence for Wetherby Castle)
Northern Archaeological Associates 2003 "Scott Lane, Wetherby, West Yorkshrie Archaeological Evaluation"
Northern Archaeological Associates, 2005 "Castle Gate, Wetherby: Archaeological Monitoring, Recording and Assessment"

Source: Historic England

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