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Name:Tattershall Castle
HER Number:43561
Type of record:Monument

Summary

Castle with 13th century origins, and rebuilt as a fortified house in c.1440.

Grid Reference:TF 211 575
Map Sheet:TF25NW
Parish:TATTERSHALL, EAST LINDSEY, LINCOLNSHIRE

Full description

Tattershall Castle has its origins in the 13th century, when Robert of Tattershall constructed an enclosure castle after receiving royal licence in 1231. Little of this original castle is now visible, although the bases of two of the round towers are still present on the site (see PRN 47732).
The site passed in the 15th century to Ralph, first Lord Cromwell, who rebuilt it in c.1440 as a fortified house, and founded a college on the adjacent site (see PRN 40156). The massive red-brick keep now present on the site was clearly designed as a symbol of the power and wealth of Lord Cromwell (see PRN 49342).
After a short period, the site passed to the Crown and Henry VII, who settled it on his mother, the Duchess of Richmond. It then passed to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who received it as a present from Henry VIII. The keep was partially dismantled and unroofed during the Civil War. The remains were retained by Lord Curzon at the beginning of the 20th century and given to the National Trust. The whole of the castle site and adjacent college remains are scheduled. Various ruins of former ancilliary structures (some of which are separately listed) can be seen in the baileys and there is a former gatehouse which houses the National Trust's bookshop and museum (see PRN 48009). {1}{2}{3}{4}{5}{6}

Various medieval and post-medieval finds have been recoverd from within the former castle grounds, including:
A 15th century seal matrix, inscribed 'SIGILLVM IOHANNIS COPVLDYK' (PRN 43561a - TF 2110 5755). It is probably the seal of the son of John Copuldyk who died in 1480 and was buried at Harrington Church. {7}{8}
A medieval pottery head of an animal, probably a dog, found in the field to the south of the castle (PRN 43561b - TF 212 575). Made from a green glazed orange fabric, and gray internally. It probably originally formed part of a decorated roof ridge tile, given its comparatively large size. It was given to the Tattershall Castle Museum in 1973. Also found in the same area were three medieval limestone net weights, which are now in the City and County Museum. {9}{10}
A collection of post-medieval pottery was found whilst a small section of the castle moat was cleaned out in Spring 1972 (PRN 43561c - TF 211 575). The assemblage was of mostly 17th century date, and included sherds of Delft ware, a chafing dish, and fragments of Bellarmine and early clay pipes. {11}
Also found in the same location in 1979 was the base of a post-medieval imitation Midlands Blackware jug. {12}{13}

Management guidance for the remains of Tattershall Castle were produced in 1987, as part of the National Trust's archaeological survey of the site. {14}

A collection of redeposited medieval and post-medieval artefacts was recovered in June 1989, during the archaeological monitoring of groundworks for the installation of electricity cables between the guardhouse and a new toilet block (PRN 43561d - TF 2115 5758). The assemblage included large quantities of medieval roof tile and brick, animal bone fragments and pottery of mostly 16th to 18th century date, but with one rim sherd from a shelly pot of probable 12th to 13th century date. {15}

A number of magnetic anomalies, thought to reflect former activity associated with the castle, were recorded in May 1997, during magnetometry survey of the field known as the 'tilt-yard', to the immediate south of the inner moat wall (PRN 43561e - TF 211 575). The anomalies were thought to represent possible groupings of pit and ditch-like features, and a possible area of ridge and furrow at the western edge of the field. {16}

An assemblage of redeposited medieval and post-medieval artefacts was recovered in July 2004, during a test pit and trial trench investigation of the kitchen range area of the castle (PRN 43561f - TF 2106 5751). The assemblage was recovered from 20th century deposits within the inner moat, and comprised sherds of pottery and fragments of tile and brick dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. The collection of pottery comprised sherds from a variety of different fabrics and vessel forms, including pieces of Toynton All Saints ware, Ligurian Berettino tin glazed ware, and a range of different earthen and stone wares. {17}{18}

The infill of the outer moat was revealed in August 2006, during archaeological monitoring of the excavation of a cable trench in the north-eastern corner of the castle grounds (PRN 43561g - TF 2114 5762). A small quantity of redeposited medieval and early post-medieval pottery was also recovered. This pottery assemblage was comprised of single sherds of Toynton All Saints ware, Toynton-Bolingbroke ware, Bourne D ware and Cistercian ware, dating from the 13th to 17th centuries. {19}{20}

A Conservation Plan was produced for the castle in 2008. The Plan included a study of the history and development of the castle, and a gazetteer of the castle features. {21}

Excavations on the moat were carried out by William Weir in 1912-14, as part of Lord Curzon's restoration of the castle. A large assemblage of medieval and post-medieval artefacts was retained from the excavation. This collection comprised sherds of pottery from a wide variety of different vessel typs and fabrics, fragments of brick and tile, pieces from glass vessels and windows, metal artefacts, fragments from clay smoking pipes, and pieces of wall plaster and worked stone. A project to systematically identify and catalogue the assemblage was conducted in 2009. {22}

A variety of geophysical surveys were conducted at Tattershall Castle during the summer of 2009. The project comprised earth resistance, vertical electrical section and magnetometry geophysical surveys, conducted within the castle grounds, and in the meadow areas to the east and south. The surveys identified a number of probable former castle structures and spreads of rubble within the inner and outer wards of the castle, along with structures likely associated with the former Tattershall College to the east (see PRN 43577). The possible course of the outer castle moat was also recorded in the area known as the Tiltyard, where previous magnetometry survey had identified anomalies that were thought to represent former ridge and furrow (PRN 43561e). The surveys also identified the remains of a number of probable former fishponds in the meadowland to the south-east of the castle (PRN 43561h - TF 212 573). An augering survey was also conducted as part of the project, and identified that the castle and adjacent church and college had been constructed on what had been a spur of higher ground, running westwards from the River Bain. {23}{24}

Since the date of the castle is known, it was used as a dating control in a project, conducted by Durham University in 2010, to evaluate the accuracy of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of brick. Two bricks from the interior walls of the tower were tested and gave dates of 1455 +/- 14 years and 1453 +/- 15 years. These dates accord very well with the known date of the tower 1445-1450. {25}

A series of levelling layers and dumped deposits were recorded in October 2011, during trial trenching within the inner ward of Tattershall Castle. A large assemblage of redeposited medieval and post-medieval artefacts were recovered from the layers, with the assemblage comprising a wide variety of different pottery wares, pieces of roof tile, architectural stone fragments, pieces of window and bottle glass, clay smoking pipes and animal bone. The assemblage also included fragments of lead window came and pieces of mortar, suggesting it derived from the demolition of former structures located near to this area. The investigation also recorded what may have been a possible foundation trench and possible former surface. The various layers recorded by the investigation were thought to represent a sequence of events that started with the levelling of the inner ward and infilling of the inner moat in the 17th century. The restoration of the castle and re-opening of the inner moat in the early 20th century would appear to have redeposited much of this material back into the inner ward. {26}{27}

A further magnetometry survey of the field known as the Tiltyard was conducted in February 2015, to inform this area's conservation and management (PRN 43561e). The results of the survey accorded well with the previous geophysical investigations of the same area conducted in 1997 and 2009, and recorded a number of magnetic anomalies, thought to represent a range of pit and ditch-like features across the site. The survey again identified a linear series of magnetic anomalies in the western half of the field, which had previously been thought to represent the remains of ridge and furrow or a possible former course of the outer moat. An explanation of these anomalies as being the remains of ridge and furrow was thought to be more likely, given their morphology. {28}

Eight trial trenches were excavated at Tattershall Castle in October 2015, as part of an attempt to assess the impacts of rabbit burrowing and ploughing upon the scheduled archaeological remains within the Tiltyard field (PRN 43561e). The trenches were targeted to investigate the geophysical anomalies recorded by the prior geophysical surveys of this area, and confirmed the presence of a number of pit and ditch features across the site. Although few finds were recovered from these features, it is likely that they were associated with the castle, and of probable late medieval or early post-medieval date. The trenching also resolved a series of linear magnetic anomalies at the western edge of the survey area as a series of ditches. Whilst these features had been recorded by the previous geophysical surveys, their interpretation had proven difficult, with several suggestions for their origin being offered, including being the remains of ridge and furrow, or being a former course of the castle's outer moat. Two sherds of 13th to 15th century Potterhanworth ware vessels were recovered from the fills of these features. The ditches proved to be quite wide upon excavation, although rather shallow, and none of the previous explanations for their origin appear valid. The features clearly predated the construction of the walls around the tiltyard, which are thought to have been built in the 1530s, during the Duke of Suffolk's use of this field for jousting practise (hence the name tiltyard field). It would seem more likely that the ditches represent the remains of large landscaping features, such as terraces or bedding layers, contemporary with the intial re-building of Tattershall Castle in c.1440. This interpretation would seem to suggest that this part of the castle had originally been used as an area of formal gardens, prior to its enclosure. It would also suggest that the outer moat had not extended this far south, and had likely never fully enclosed the castle.
The trenching also revealed the remains of a north to south aligned, lime-mortared brick wall, running roughly through the centre of the site. The remains of a similar, though heavily truncated, brick wall was also recorded towards the eastern edge of the field. Both of these features appear to match the position of walls shown on Nicholson's map of the site in 1842, and they likely date to the post-medieval use of this area as a compartmented garden.
The investigation also included the digging of 12 test pits around the field, to investigate the survival and distribution of artefacts within the topsoil in this area. This test pitting recovered a large range of redeposited medieval and post-medieval finds, including sherds of pottery, fragments of brick, tile, animal bone, clay smoking pipes and a variety of glass. A wide ranging assemblage of metal artefacts was also recovered, including a medieval buckle and finger ring, and a variety of buttons, mounts, nails, tokens and other metal fragments. {29}{30}

Part of the outer moat retaining wall was exposed in March 2016, during the archaeological monitoring of stabilisation and conservation works adjacent to the Curzon Earth Closet (PRN 43561i - TF 2115 5755). The wall is built of red brick, and is believed to date to Lord Cromwell's rebuilding of Tattershall Castle in the 15th century. Some of the lower courses of the wall were exposed by the works, which identified that its footings are stepped out by 0.8m at its rear. No further archaeological features or deposits were recorded during the works, due to previous disturbance and animal burrowing in this area. A small assemblage of redeposited medieval and post-medieval artefacts were recovered, including sherds of tablewares and numerous animal bone fragments, suggestive of domestic rubbish dumping during Lord Curzon's consolidation works in the early 20th century. {31}{32}

Two redeposited sherds of late medieval to early post-medieval pottery were recovered in April 2016, during the archaeological monitoring of groundworks for the installation of LAN cabling at the castle (PRN 43561j - TF 2114 5760). One of the sherds was a rim piece from a Toynton Bolingbroke ware jar, dating from the mid 15th to 16th centuries, whilst the other was a spout from a Midlands Purple ware jug, dating from the late 14th to 16th centuries. A green deposit, thought to derive from copper alloy metal working, was found encrusted on to the internal surface of the Midlands Purple ware vessel, suggesting it had been used as a crucible. {33}{34}


<1> MINISTRY OF WORKS, MOW 819, - (Scheduling Record). SLI4240.


<2> HBMC, 1985, AM 107, SAM 2 (Scheduling Record). SLI4014.


<3> Nikolaus Pevsner and John Harris, 1964, Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (First Edition), pp.390-5 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI860.


<4> SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Card Index, TF 25 NW: D, 1997 (Index). SLI2881.


<5> Paul Everson, 1975-90, RCHM, 2917/29, 1976 (Aerial Photograph). SLI196.


<6> English Heritage, 1999, Revised scheduling document 22720, MPP 23 (Scheduling Record). SLI5378.


<7> SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Card Index, TF 25 NW: BC (Index). SLI2881.


<8> JARVIS MSS, 127 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI994.


<9> SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Card Index, TF 25 NW: W, 1973 (Index). SLI2881.


<10> City and County Museum Collection, LM 98.76 (Artefact). SLI8.


<11> SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Card Index, TF 25 NW: U, 1972 (Index). SLI2881.


<12> SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Card Index, TF 25 NW: BF(2), 1979, Ambrose, T.M. (Index). SLI2881.


<13> City and County Museum Collection, LM 151.79 (Artefact). SLI8.


<14> National Trust, 1987, Archaeological Survey, Tattershall Castle, - (Report). SLI15620.


<15> Lindsey Archaeological Services, 1989, Electricity Cable Trenches at Tattershall Castle, - (Report). SLI5307.


<16> Oxford Archaeotechnics, 1997, Tattershall Castle Tilt-Yard, - (Report). SLI3519.


<17> Archaeological Project Services, 2005, Investigations at Tattershall Castle, Tattershall, APS site code: TTC04 (Report). SLI9956.


<18> Archaeological Project Services, 2005, Investigations at Tattershall Castle, Tattershall, - (Archive). SLI9957.


<19> Archaeological Project Services, 2006, Service Trench at Tattershall Castle, APS site code: TCCT 06 (Report). SLI10997.


<20> Archaeological Project Services, 2006, Service Trench at Tattershall Castle, - (Archive). SLI15785.


<21> Oxford Archaeology, 2008, Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire: Conservation Plan, - (Report). SLI12648.


<22> Archaeological Project Services, 2009, Tattershall Castle: Finds Collection, APS site code: TCA08 (Report). SLI12672.


<23> Allen Archaeology Ltd, 2009, Geophysical Surveys at Tattershall Castle, AAL site code: TACA 09 (Report). SLI12914.


<24> Allen Archaeology Ltd, 2009, Vertical Electrical Section Geophysical Survey at Tattershall Castle, AAL site code: TACA 09 (Report). SLI12915.


<25> Bayliff, I. K., Blain, S., Graves, C. P., Gurling T. and Semple S., 2010, 'Uses and recycling of brick in medieval and Tudor English buildings: insights from the application of luminescence dating and new avenues for further research' in The Archaeological Journal, vol.167, p.168 (Article in Serial). SLI13419.


<26> Archaeological Project Services, 2011, Tattershall Castle, Tattershall, APS site code: TATC 11 (Report). SLI13797.


<27> Archaeological Project Services, 2011, Tattershall Castle, Tattershall, - (Archive). SLI13798.


<28> Allen Archaeology Ltd, 2015, Land to the South-East of Tattershall Castle, AAL site code: TACA 15 (Report). SLI15857.


<29> Allen Archaeology Ltd, 2015, The Tiltyard, Tattershall Castle, AAL site code: TACA 15 (Report). SLI15868.


<30> Allen Archaeology Ltd, 2015, The Tiltyard, Tattershall Castle, - (Archive). SLI15869.


<31> ECUS Ltd, 2016, Tattershall Castle Curzon Earth Closet, - (Report). SLI16162.


<32> ECUS Ltd, 2016, Tattershall Castle Curzon Earth Closet, - (Archive). SLI16163.


<33> Witham Archaeology, 2016, Installation of LAN Cabling, Tattershall Castle, WA site code: TTTC16 (Report). SLI15872.


<34> Witham Archaeology, 2016, Installation of LAN Cabling, Tattershall Castle, - (Archive). SLI15873.

Monument Types

  • ARTEFACT SCATTER (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1231 AD? to 1440 AD?)
  • MOAT (Medieval to Modern - 1231 AD? to 2050 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1400 AD to 1699 AD)
  • FORTIFIED HOUSE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1440 AD to 1650 AD)
  • GARDEN FEATURE (Medieval - 1440 AD? to 1530 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ASSEMBLAGE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ASSEMBLAGE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ASSEMBLAGE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • NET SINKER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • RIDGE TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval - 1100 AD to 1299 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1100 AD to 1799 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD? to 1799 AD?)
  • ASSEMBLAGE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1799 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval - 1200 AD to 1499 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1699 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1799 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1799 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1366 AD to 1599 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1400 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1400 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SEAL MATRIX (Medieval - 1400 AD to 1499 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHERD (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL PLASTER (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1600 AD to 1799 AD)
  • SHERD (Post Medieval - 1600 AD to 1699 AD)

Associated Events

  • Earth Resistance Survey at Tattershall Castle
  • Vertical Electrical Section Survey at Tattershall Castle
  • Magnetometry Survey at Tattershall Castle
  • Augering Survey at Tattershall Castle
  • Vertical Electrical Section Geophysical Survey at Tattershall Castle
  • Tattershall Castle, Tattershall
  • Tattershall Castle Tilt-Yard
  • Investigations at Tattershall Castle, Tattershall
  • Service Trench at Tattershall Castle
  • Archaeological Survey, Tattershall Castle
  • Electricity Cable Trenches at Tattershall Castle
  • Land to the South-East of Tattershall Castle
  • The Tiltyard, Tattershall Castle
  • Installation of LAN Cabling, Tattershall Castle
  • Archaeological Monitoring at Tattershall Castle Curzon Earth Closet

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Conservation Area

Sources and further reading

<1>Scheduling Record: MINISTRY OF WORKS. MOW 819. -.
<2>Scheduling Record: HBMC. 1985. AM 107. SAM 2.
<3>Bibliographic Reference: Nikolaus Pevsner and John Harris. 1964. Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (First Edition). Lincolnshire. pp.390-5.
<4>Index: SMR. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 25 NW: D, 1997.
<5>Aerial Photograph: Paul Everson. 1975-90. RCHM. 2917/29, 1976.
<6>Scheduling Record: English Heritage. 1999. Revised scheduling document 22720. MPP 23.
<7>Index: SMR. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 25 NW: BC.
<8>Bibliographic Reference: JARVIS MSS. 127.
<9>Index: SMR. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 25 NW: W, 1973.
<10>Artefact: City and County Museum Collection. LM 98.76.
<11>Index: SMR. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 25 NW: U, 1972.
<12>Index: SMR. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 25 NW: BF(2), 1979, Ambrose, T.M..
<13>Artefact: City and County Museum Collection. LM 151.79.
<14>Report: National Trust. 1987. Archaeological Survey, Tattershall Castle. -.
<15>Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. 1989. Electricity Cable Trenches at Tattershall Castle. -.
<16>Report: Oxford Archaeotechnics. 1997. Tattershall Castle Tilt-Yard. -.
<17>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2005. Investigations at Tattershall Castle, Tattershall. APS site code: TTC04.
<18>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2005. Investigations at Tattershall Castle, Tattershall. -.
<19>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2006. Service Trench at Tattershall Castle. APS site code: TCCT 06.
<20>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2006. Service Trench at Tattershall Castle. -.
<21>Report: Oxford Archaeology. 2008. Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire: Conservation Plan. -.
<22>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2009. Tattershall Castle: Finds Collection. APS site code: TCA08.
<23>Report: Allen Archaeology Ltd. 2009. Geophysical Surveys at Tattershall Castle. AAL site code: TACA 09.
<24>Report: Allen Archaeology Ltd. 2009. Vertical Electrical Section Geophysical Survey at Tattershall Castle. AAL site code: TACA 09.
<25>Article in Serial: Bayliff, I. K., Blain, S., Graves, C. P., Gurling T. and Semple S.. 2010. 'Uses and recycling of brick in medieval and Tudor English buildings: insights from the application of luminescence dating and new avenues for further research' in The Archaeological Journal. vol.167, p.168.
<26>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2011. Tattershall Castle, Tattershall. APS site code: TATC 11.
<27>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2011. Tattershall Castle, Tattershall. -.
<28>Report: Allen Archaeology Ltd. 2015. Land to the South-East of Tattershall Castle. AAL site code: TACA 15.
<29>Report: Allen Archaeology Ltd. 2015. The Tiltyard, Tattershall Castle. AAL site code: TACA 15.
<30>Archive: Allen Archaeology Ltd. 2015. The Tiltyard, Tattershall Castle. -.
<31>Report: ECUS Ltd. 2016. Tattershall Castle Curzon Earth Closet. -.
<32>Archive: ECUS Ltd. 2016. Tattershall Castle Curzon Earth Closet. -.
<33>Report: Witham Archaeology. 2016. Installation of LAN Cabling, Tattershall Castle. WA site code: TTTC16.
<34>Archive: Witham Archaeology. 2016. Installation of LAN Cabling, Tattershall Castle. -.

Related records

48009Parent of: Former Guardhouse, Tattershall Castle (Building)
47710Parent of: Inner Moat Walls, Tattershall Castle (Monument)
49342Parent of: Keep, Tattershall Castle (Building)
48024Parent of: Kitchen Ruins, Tattershall Castle (Monument)
49405Parent of: Northern Gatehouse and Outer Bridge, Tattershall Castle (Monument)
47732Parent of: Round Towers, Tattershall Castle (Monument)
47711Parent of: Stable Ruins, Tattershall Castle (Monument)