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Historic England Research Records

Fotheringhay Castle

Hob Uid: 361605
Location :
Northamptonshire
East Northamptonshire
Fotheringhay
Grid Ref : TL0619092970
Summary : 12th century motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork. The castle keep and inner curtain wall were extensively repaired during Edward IVs reign and the castle was well maintained throughout the reigns of the Tudor monarchs. Sold into private hands in 1603, the walling was gradually stripped so that little now remains. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here from 1586-7, until her execution in the great hall.
More information : [TL 06199297] Castle Hill [G.T.]
Moat [G.T.] (1)

Fotheringhay Castle was built probably by Simon de St.Liz c.1100. It was largely rebuilt by Edmund Langley son of Edward III. It is remembered chiefly as the place where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner from 1586 to her execution here on 8th February, 1587. Little remains but the powerful motte and bailey on which it was rebuilt in the late 14th century. The earthworks are almost certainly of the 12th cent. There is an outer bailey which was probably never walled. In the early 18th century, the castle was described as 'mostly demolished' (a). (2)

Fotheringhay Castle, scheduled. (3)

Present condition as noted by authority 2; the site is under private ownership.
Re-surveyed at 1/2500.
G.P. AO/62/52/5 Fallen Keep Masonry (not in situ) /6 Notice on fenced masonry /7 Motte, aspect from west. (4)

No change. (5)

Motte and inner bailey probably 12th century. Castle rebuilt and enlarged in late 14th century with further 15th century alterations.
Abandoned in 17th century followed by gradual demolition largely complete by 18th century. Remaining building fragments incorporated into Castle Farm and W. moat filled in late 19th century. Description of castle survive from various dates: 1341, 1580s, 1625 and allow conjectural reconstructions of the castles lay-out. Motte and bailey survive well but outer defences only as remains. Plan, profiles and reconstruction published. (6)

(TL 062929). Blade of brown flint found in the material of which the castle motte was formed. (7)

A `tower' is documented at the site in 1340. Rebuilt in 1377-1402 as a stone castle with a stone D-shaped keep on the motte. In good repair until at least 1625. (8)

Formerly among the English lands of the Scottish Kings, Fotheringhay was forfeited to the English Crown in 1294 at the time of the war with John Balliol. In 1377 it was granted to Edmund of Langley who largely rebuilt it. Edward IV spent heavily on it. (9)

It remained a royal possession until 1603, and was held in dower by Henry VII and VIII's consorts in turn. Its lodgings were maintained in good condition although its usefulness as a defensive work declined. In 1603 it passed to private hands and was still fairly intact when surveyed in 1625. Soon after then, the great hall was acquired by Sir Robert Cotton and its interior removed to Connington in Huntingdonshire. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1958
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Buildings of England
Source details : Northamptonshire, 1961, 211
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Source Number : 8
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 316
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Source Number : 9
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 649-50
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Source Number : 10
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 3 : 1485-1660 (part 1)
Source details :
Page(s) : 248-251
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Source : RCHME: Fotheringhay Castle and Deer Parks, Northamptonshire
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Source : RCHME: Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire
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Source : RCHME: Fotheringhay Castle Earthworks, Northamptonshire
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Source Number : 2a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Stukeley (Itin. Curios. 35')
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : A.M.s. Eng. & Wales 1955.p.50 (M.O.W.)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FDC 09-MAY-62
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FDC 22-OCT-70
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Source Number : 6
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in the County of Northampton. Volume I: archaeological sites in north-east Northamptonshire
Source details : Monument (34)
Page(s) : 43-46
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Source Number : 6a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Bonney, H.K. 1821 Fotheringhay (18-33)
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Source Number : 6b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Dickinson, P.M.G. 1956 Historic Fotheringhay
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Source Number : 7
Source : Northamptonshire archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 200
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Vol(s) : 16, 1981

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric, Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence :
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C12
Monument End Date : 1199
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Tower documented 1340
Monument End Date : 1340
Monument Start Date : 1340
Monument Type : Castle, Tower
Evidence : Earthwork, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt in stone 1377-1402
Monument End Date : 1402
Monument Start Date : 1377
Monument Type : Castle, Keep
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1586-7
Monument End Date : 1587
Monument Start Date : 1586
Monument Type : Historical Site, Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Last documented as intact 1625
Monument End Date : 1625
Monument Start Date : 1625
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Prehistoric, Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : BLADE
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NN 22
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 805/1/0
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 805/0/6
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 13648
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 09 SE 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 09 SE 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-10-22
End Date : 1970-10-22
Associated Activities : Primary, FOTHERINGHAY CASTLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1991-01-01
End Date : 1991-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE FARM BARNS, FOTHERINGHAY
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, 'LITTLE PARK', FOTHERINGHAY CASTLE
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT FOTHERINGHAY CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT CASTLE FARM
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31