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Name:Sleaford Castle
HER Number:60742
Type of record:Monument

Summary

Sleaford Castle was built by the Bishop of Lincoln in the 1130s. Apart from a brief period of surrender to King Stephen in 1139, the castle was occupied by successive bishops until 1547 when it was transferred to the Duke of Somerset. Following this, it was progressively dismantled and all that now remains are earthworks and one piece of masonry.

Grid Reference:TF 065 455
Map Sheet:TF04NE
Parish:SLEAFORD, NORTH KESTEVEN, LINCOLNSHIRE

Full description

PRN 60742
The site of Sleaford Castle is now grass covered. Originally built by Bishop Alexander of Lincoln in 1125. Surrendered to King Stephen in 1139 and returned to the Bishop of Lincoln later. Occupied by successive Bishops of Lincoln until it was alienated by Bishop Holbeach, 21 August 1547 to Edward, Duke of Somerset. Visited by King John, 14 October 1216. King Henry VIII may also have stayed at the castle during his visit to Sleaford in August 1541, and again in October 1541. Bishop Fleming died at the castle in 1431.{1}{2}{3}{10}

'Without the town of Sleaford standeth west south west the propre castelle of Sleaford very well maintayned'.{4}

The monument includes the remains of Sleaford Castle, an enclosure castle built in the 12th century by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln. Following a brief period of surrender to King Stephen in 1139 it was held by successive bishops for over 400 years, serving as an administrative centre for the episcopal estates in the Sleaford area. In the 15th century it was partially rebuilt by Bishop Alnwick, and in 1547 was transferred by Bishop Holbeach to Edward, Duke of Somerset. After this date it became a source of building materials and was progressively dismantled. In 1720 parts of the walls and towers were still standing; now the only fragment of masonry surviving above ground is part of the north eastern corner tower. The monument includes the standing remains of this tower and the earthworks and buried remains of the remainder of the castle. There is a full description in the revised scheduling document 22689. {5}

Built by Bishop Alexander in about 1130. The site only remains, and one block of fallen masonry. For the full description and the legal address of this listed building please refer to the appropriate List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. {8}

A bronze key of 14th-15th century was found at the site and is now in the Lincoln Museum. The castle originally consisted of an outer wall with corner towers, a central keep and a double moat fed by the River Slea. {9}{10}

Fragments of medieval roofing tile and pottery were recovered during a watching brief carried out when new interpretation boards were installed at the site. {11}{12}


<1> Trollope, Edward, 1872, Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln, pp 107-121 (Bibliographic reference). SLI920.


<2> LINCS DIOCESAN RECORD PUBS, - (Bibliographic reference). SLI1008.


<3> HBMC, AM 7, SAM 38 (Scheduling record). SLI4223.


<4> Toulmin Smith, L. (editor), 1964, The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543, VOL 1 P 27 (Bibliographic reference). SLI11985.


<5> ENGLISH HERITAGE, 1995, REVISED SCHEDULING DOCUMENT 22689, MPP 24 (Scheduling record). SLI4292.


<6> 1945-84, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COLLECTION, FO5-7,1951, (Aerial Photograph). SLI173.


<7> AEROSCAN, Aeroscan aerial photographs, 1983 (Aerial Photograph). SLI167.


<8> Department of the Environment, 1974, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, TF 0645 1/3 (402.030) (Index). SLI9678.


<9> Sleaford SMR cards, TF 04 NE; BI (Index). SLI3265.


<10> Ordnance Survey, Sleaford O.S. cards, TF 04 NE; 11 (Index). SLI2726.


<11> Archaeological Project Services, July 2000, Archaeological Watching Brief during excavations for new interpretation panels at Sleaford Castle, SLC00 (Intervention Report). SLI6189.


<12> Archaeological Project Services, July 2000, Archaeological Watching Brief during excavations for new interpretation panels at Sleaford Castle, LCNCC 2000.177 (Excavation archive). SLI6190.


<13> HEALEY, R.H. AND ROFFE, D.R., SOME MEDIEVAL AND LATER EARTHWORKS IN SOUTH LINCOLNSHIRE, pp 64-66, fig 45 (Unpublished document). SLI4819.


<14> Pevsner, N. and Harris, J., with Antram, N., 1989, Buildings of England (Second Edition), p 653 (Bibliographic reference). SLI1062.


<15> White, William, 1856, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition, p 434 (Bibliographic reference). SLI886.


<16> 1945-84, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COLLECTION, FO5, FO6, FO7 (Aerial Photograph). SLI173.


<17> Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1992-1996, National Mapping Programme, TF0645; LI.853.1.1-6 (Map). SLI3613.

Monument Types

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1125 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SHERD (Medieval - 1100 AD to 1399 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1499 AD)

Associated Events

  • Watching brief at Sleaford Castle
  • Site visit to Sleaford Castle, Sleaford
  • Aerial photographs of Sleaford Castle
  • Aerial photographs of Sleaford Castle

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Conservation Area
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

<1>Bibliographic reference: Trollope, Edward. 1872. Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln. pp 107-121.
<2>Bibliographic reference: LINCS DIOCESAN RECORD PUBS. -.
<3>Scheduling record: HBMC. AM 7. SAM 38.
<4>Bibliographic reference: Toulmin Smith, L. (editor). 1964. The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543. VOL 1 P 27.
<5>Scheduling record: ENGLISH HERITAGE. 1995. REVISED SCHEDULING DOCUMENT 22689. MPP 24.
<6>Aerial Photograph: 1945-84. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COLLECTION. FO5-7,1951, .
<7>Aerial Photograph: AEROSCAN. Aeroscan aerial photographs. 1983.
<8>Index: Department of the Environment. 1974. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Sleaford. TF 0645 1/3 (402.030).
<9>Index: Sleaford SMR cards. SLEAFORD. TF 04 NE; BI.
<10>Index: Ordnance Survey. Sleaford O.S. cards. SLEAFORD. TF 04 NE; 11.
<11>Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. July 2000. Archaeological Watching Brief during excavations for new interpretation panels at Sleaford Castle. SLC00.
<12>Excavation archive: Archaeological Project Services. July 2000. Archaeological Watching Brief during excavations for new interpretation panels at Sleaford Castle. LCNCC 2000.177.
<13>Unpublished document: HEALEY, R.H. AND ROFFE, D.R.. SOME MEDIEVAL AND LATER EARTHWORKS IN SOUTH LINCOLNSHIRE. pp 64-66, fig 45.
<14>Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. and Harris, J., with Antram, N.. 1989. Buildings of England (Second Edition). Lincolnshire. p 653.
<15>Bibliographic reference: White, William. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. p 434.
<16>Aerial Photograph: 1945-84. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COLLECTION. FO5, FO6, FO7.
<17>Map: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1992-1996. National Mapping Programme. LINCOLNSHIRE. TF0645; LI.853.1.1-6.