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Name:Castle Hills Wood ringwork and baileys
HER Number:MLI54187
Type of record:Monument


Castle Hills Wood ringwork and baileys

Grid Reference:SK 818 915
Map Sheet:SK89SW

Full description

A reputed Danish earthwork covering approximately 11 acres. The central mound is 170 yards in circumference. Surrounded by a double fosse and vallum, it is in close proximity to the river Trent. It is said to have been the capital of King Sweyn the Dane, who died here the year after he conquered the whole of England (AD1014). It should be compared with Barrow Castles in North Lincolnshire. {1}{2}{3}
The site is marked as a ‘Danish Camp’ on the 1888 first edition ordnance survey map, following the 19th century tradition that this was the site of Sweyn’s winter camp of 1013-14. By 1905 the second edition ordnance survey map referred to the site as ‘Castle Hills’. By this time it had generally been accepted by the ordnance survey that this was a later, Norman, defensive site. {11}{12}
The site is notable as an early military stronghold, a lordly residence and a major estate centre. The tactical and strategic position of the castle is very strong. This overtly military aspect, though again significant in the mid 12th century, perhaps makes it likely that the origin of the castle in its present form belongs to the immediate post-1066 period. On the other hand it is also possible that the castle was erected or at least enlarged or altered in the mid 12th century. In 1086 Thonock was held by Roger of Poitou and around 1115 by the Count of Mortain. It seems likely that the 'Castle of Gainsborough' which was granted to William de Roumare, earl of Lincoln, by King Stephen probably in 1142, is to be identified with this site. Only in the late 12th or 13th century, as part of the Honour of Lancaster, does the site appear to become a principal residence and the centre of a barony. The earthworks consist of a substantial ringwork flanked on both the north and south by outer baileys of more than one period. The first phase was probably the ringwork and the north bailey. The former consists of a steep-sided circular rampart standing up to 5.5m above the bottom of the surrounding ditch and with traces of internal buildings. The tongue-shaped bailey is surrounded by a ditch, reinforced on the east by a broad inner bank standing 4m above the bottom of the ditch, with a possible narrow entrance at the north-east. Additional defensive earthworks along the south side of the ringwork, consisting of a crescentic outer ditch flanked by banks 3 to 4m high, may perhaps be contemporary, or may belong to the second phase of development. This second phase was the addition of the south bailey, a kidney-shaped area enclosed by a massive bank 2.75m high and 5m above a wide outer ditch. Irregularities on the bank may reflect later damage, but could have been caused by the removal of masonry structures, and mounds at the north-west and north-east corners of the bank could represent the sites of former towers or turrets. See Everson, Taylor and Dunn (1991) for a detailed history and description. {7}
The scheduling was revised 27/9/99. {10}

<01> MINISTRY OF WORKS, MOW 819, - (Scheduling Record). SLI4240.

<02> William White, 1856, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition, p 714 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI886.

<03> Murray, John, 1903, Handbook for Lincolnshire - Second Edition, - (Bibliographic Reference). SLI1021.

<04> OS CARD INDEX, SK 89 SW:1,1962, SEAMAN B H (Index). SLI2790.

<05> OS CARD INDEX, SK 89 SW:1,1984, EVERSON P (Index). SLI2790.

<06> SMR FILE, SK 89 SW:A; B; C - (Index). SLI3330.

<07> P.L. Everson, C.C. Taylor and C.J. Dunn, 1991, Change and Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, pp48,193-4;Fig137;ARCHIVE (Bibliographic Reference). SLI1063.

<08> J.K.S. St Joseph, 1945-79, Cambridge University Collection, RZ68,70,1956, (Aerial Photograph). SLI175.

<09> Paul Everson, 1975-90, RCHM, 2952/2,1980, (Aerial Photograph). SLI196.

<10> English Heritage, 1999, Revised scheduling document 31639, MPP 23 (Scheduling Record). SLI5553.

<11> Ordnance Survey, 1883-1888, 6 Inch County Series Map - First Edition, - (Map). SLI9454.

<12> Ordnance Survey, 1902-06, 25 Inch County Series Map - Second Edition, - (Map). SLI3566.

Monument Types

  • BAILEY (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1563 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1563 AD)
  • CHAPEL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1563 AD)
  • RINGWORK (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1563 AD)

Associated Events

  • Earthwork survey of Castle Hills
  • Site visit to Castle Hills Wood castle

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

<01>Scheduling Record: MINISTRY OF WORKS. MOW 819. -.
<02>Bibliographic Reference: William White. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. p 714.
<03>Bibliographic Reference: Murray, John. 1903. Handbook for Lincolnshire - Second Edition. -.
<04>Index: OS CARD INDEX. THONOCK. SK 89 SW:1,1962, SEAMAN B H.
<05>Index: OS CARD INDEX. THONOCK. SK 89 SW:1,1984, EVERSON P.
<06>Index: SMR FILE. THONOCK. SK 89 SW:A; B; C -.
<07>Bibliographic Reference: P.L. Everson, C.C. Taylor and C.J. Dunn. 1991. Change and Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire. pp48,193-4;Fig137;ARCHIVE.
<08>Aerial Photograph: J.K.S. St Joseph. 1945-79. Cambridge University Collection. RZ68,70,1956, .
<09>Aerial Photograph: Paul Everson. 1975-90. RCHM. 2952/2,1980, .
<10>Scheduling Record: English Heritage. 1999. Revised scheduling document 31639. MPP 23.
<11>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1883-1888. 6 Inch County Series Map - First Edition. 1:10560. -.
<12>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-06. 25 Inch County Series Map - Second Edition. 1:2500. -.

Related records

MLI50420Related to: Medieval Deer Park, Thonock Park (Monument)