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Castle Hill

Hob Uid: 344012
Location :
Leicestershire
Harborough
Hallaton
Grid Ref : SP7800096700
Summary : Medieval motte and bailey with an additional rectangular enclosure surviving as an earthwork. Excavation revealed `Norman' pottery, a quern stone, leather and wood objects and evidence of iron working. The conical motte is approximately 50 metres in diameter and 7.5 metres high from the bottom of the ditch, witha small flat area at the summit only a few metres across. The encircling ditch is up to 3 metres deep and 8 metres wide, with causeways on the south west and south eastern sides with a break in the ditch where the bailey joins it on the south side. The horse-shoe shaped bailey encloses an area of about 60 by 30 metres, and is bounded by a ditch up to 2 metres deep and 5 metres wide and an inner bank up to 2 metres high. A break in both the ditch and bank on the north-west side indicates the position of the entrance. An additional rectangular enclosure on the north of the motte, 35 by 25 metres, is defined by a ditch which survives in places to a depth of 0.75 metres. on the south side of the motte is a further ditch 5 metres wide with a bank 8 metres wide and 0.75 metres high which projects south for 40 metres. A series of depressions on the summit of the motte are the result of 19th century excavations. Scheduled.
More information : [SP 7500 9670] Castle Hill (Tumulus) [O.E.] (Bronze, Iron & Brass Instruments, & Fragments of Urns &c. found) [T.I.] (1)

Hallaton - `Castle Hill Camp'. A large conicial mount 630ft. in circumference at the base, 118ft. in diameter at the top - which has a slight saucer-shaped depression - and an escarpment of 38ft. This is encircled by a ditch with a counterscarp of 12ft. and is partially bounded by a bank which varies in width according to the contour of the ground, on the east this has a scarp of 18ft., which is continued by the natural declivity to a considerable depth - this being the steepest side of the hill - to a brook. The base-court is on the north-west, surrounded by a ditch 24ft. wide at the base; at the two extremities, where it closes in upon the ditch of the mount, it slightly inturns and rises 22ft. on the scarp from a ditch 12ft deep. Except at these points the bank makes a rampart 4ft. high from the interior. An entrance is on the north-west. A second court (?) on the north-east, possibly a later addition, is but a raised platform on the slope of the hill, rectangular in plan. On the north-west is a shallow ditch which opens on to a terrace 6ft. wide and 5ft. below the level of the court. On the southern side of the mount two low banks branch from the main work and descend the hill side; they apparently indicate another court. (2)

Castle Hill, near Hallaton. The engineers building the adjoining railway line in 1877 sank two shafts through the centre of the mound, and also dug numerous pits in the `horse-shoe camp'. Fragments of charred wood and burnt stones, iron `articles', one showing traces of gilding, portions of leathern shoes, wooden bowls, a wooden shovel, squared oak stakes, a possible portion of a ladder, two fragments of `Roman' ware (either cinerary urns or amphorae) and large quantities of potsherds of various age and material, some salt-glazed and apparently recent and some `British' were found. No trace of building was seen. In the adjacent `camp' was an abundance of melted iron-ore, which showed evidence that it had been worked in situ. A stone quern, 8.5ins diameter was found here in making a drain some twenty years ago (circa 1857). (3)

Additional references. (4-16)

'Hallaton Castle'..scheduled as an ancient monument. (17)

The main earthworks on Castle Hill comprise an earthern motte and bailey. The motte is accurately described by Authy.2 except that there is no evidence of a counter-scarp bank to the ditch - there is an apparent bank on the east but this is an effect produced by the steep slope to the stream-valley. The bailey to the north is also accurately described. There is no evidence of a further bailey to the north east, as indicated by Authy. 2. It appears to be a misidentification of a shallow ditch on the east of the motte - see below. On the south side of the motte there appears to have been a small bailey, formed by a bank with outer ditch, now visible as a slight depression with faint traces of the bank. On the east of the motte a shallow ditch, 2.3m wide and 0.5m deep, leaving the motte-ditch makes a right-angled turn before fading-out on the edge of the natural slope. It is too slight to be associable with the defensive works of the motte-and-bailey. No other earthworks were seen in the vicinity. The stream-valley has traces of old quarrying along its sides and clay ironstone outcrops locally - significant in view of the evidence of ironworking found.
The earthworks are under rough pasture. Ploughing is beginning to encroach upon the ditches but apart from cattle-treading the earthworks are in good condition. For a general view of the site from the hill to the east see GPs AO/59/173/3 & 4. Surveyed at 25". The earthworks are visible as relief-markings on APs (a) (18).

A motte with single bailey on NW; the other earthworks previously noted as baileys are very minor and incomplete and do not merit this classification. See annotated 25" survey. (19)

SP 7798 9670. Hallaton motte and bailey castle.
The conical motte is approximately 50m in diameter and 7.5m high from th bottom of the ditch, with a small flat area at the summit only a few metres acros. The encircling ditch is up to 3m deep and 8m wide, with causeways on the south-west and south-eastern sides and a break in the ditch where the bailey joins it on the south side. The horse-shoe-shaped bailey encloses an area about 60 x 30m, and is bounded by a ditch up to 2m deep and 5m wide and an inner bank up to 2m high. A break in both the ditch and bank on the north-west side indicates the position of the entrance. An additional rectangular enclosure on the north of the motte, 35 x 25m, is defined by a ditch which survives in places to a depth of 0.75m. on the south side of the motte is a further ditch 5m wide with a bank 8m wide and 0,75m high which projects south for forty metres.
A series of depressions on the summit of the motte are the result of 19th century excavations. Further small scale excavations in the bailey in 1943 produced `Norman' pottery. It seems likely that the castle formed the administrative centre of the estate owned by Geoffrey Alselin which is described in Domesday.
Scheduled (RSM) No 17053. (20)

Listed by Cathcart King. (21)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1904
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the counties of England
Source details : Leicestershire (J. Charles Wall)
Page(s) : 259-260
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1 (1907)
Source Number : 11
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : (I C Gould)
Page(s) : 32-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7 (1901)
Source Number : 12
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : (J. Thompson)
Page(s) : 211
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1 (1863)
Source Number : 13
Source : Leicestershire and Rutland notes and queries
Source details :
Page(s) : 170-176
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1 (1891)
Source Number : 14
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Scheme for Recording Ancient Earthworks (1903) 16, plan (Congress of Archaeological Socs.)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : History and Antiquities of Leicestershire.", Vol 2 pt.2, 1798, pp.600-1, plan, illus. (J. Nicols)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Dowman Mss. (C.1890-1914), plan & notes, p.12
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : A.M. England & Wales, 1958, (M.O.W.)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : W C Woodhouse/08-SEP-1959/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : APs (RAF CPE/UIC/1925 4170-71 16-JAN-1947)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 19
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : J Baird/08-NOV-1971/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details : (H.A. Dibbin)
Page(s) : 316-321
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7 (1876-78)
Source Number : 20
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1992
Source details : SAM Amendment Leicestershire
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 21
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 253
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Military Architecture in England. (1912) 51, plan (A. Hamilton Thompson)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (1912) 88 (E S Armitage)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : (Hugh Braun)
Page(s) : 140, 155
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1 (1937)
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Highways and Byways in Leic. (1926) 230 (J B Firth)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : The Victoria history of the counties of England
Source details : (Page, Keate)
Page(s) : 212
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1 (1907)
Source Number : 9
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (G T Clark)
Page(s) : 207
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 46 (1889)
Source Number : 10
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : (J.H Hill, H.A Dibbin).
Page(s) : 72, 75-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5 (1882)

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Rectangular Enclosure, Iron Working Site
Evidence : Earthwork, Find
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Rectangular Enclosure, Iron Working Site
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Uncertain
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : QUERN
Object Material : Stone

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LE 7
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Leicestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 79NE A
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 17053
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 79 NE 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE HILL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1877-01-01
End Date : 1877-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HALLATON
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1943-01-01
End Date : 1943-12-31