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Record Details

HER Number:00040
Type of record:Monument
Name:Tutbury Castle Motte and Bailey


The scheduled remains of Tutbury Castle motte and bailey, possibly built on the site of an earlier hillfort.

Grid Reference:SK 2095 2921
Map Sheet:SK22NW
Parish:Tutbury, East Staffordshire Borough
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Type(s):

Associated Finds:

  • DEBITAGE (MESOLITHIC - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • SHERD (ROMAN - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SHERD (Anglo Saxon to Elizabethan - 1000 AD to 1599 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Norman to Stuart - 1066 AD to 1699 AD)
  • COIN (Norman - 1204 AD to 1217 AD)

Associated Events:

  • EST1130 - Archaeological excavations at Tutbury Castle, Tutbury, 1986 to 1988. (NRHE Name - Tutbury Castle)
  • EST1134 - Specialist analysis of the Faunal Remains from Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire.
  • EST1658 - Archaeological excavation in the inner bailey, Tutbury Castle as part of programme of archaeological work, 2005. (NRHE Name - Land at Tutbury Castle) (Ref: BA: 1188.2)
  • EST1699 - A programme of archaeological work at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire, May to June 2004. (NRHE Name - Land at tutbury Castle) (Ref: PN 1188 / Report No. 1188)
  • EST1133 - Specialist analysis of the clay tobacco pipes from excavations at Tutbury Castle.
  • EST1697 - A Programme of Archaeological Work at Tutbury Castle, May to June 2006. (NRHE Name - Land at Tutbury Castle) (Ref: PN:1407 / Report No. 1407)
  • EST3006 - Geophysical survey of the middle bailey, Tutbury Castle as part of a programme of archaeological work, 2005. (NRHE Name - Land at Tutbury Castle) (Ref: BA: 1188.2 / Report No. 1188.2)
  • EST3007 - Topographic survey of the bailey of Tutbury Castle as part of a programme of archaeological work, 2005. (NRHE Name - Land at Tutbury Castle) (Ref: BA: 1188.2)
  • EST3008 - Topographic survey of Tutbury park pale, Tutbury Castle as part of a programme of archaeological work, 2005. (NRHE Name - Land at Tutbury Castle) (Ref: BA: 1188.2)
  • EST1945 - A programme of archaeological excavation work at Tutbury Castle, June 2007. (NRHE Name - Land at Tutbury Castle) (Ref: PN 1624 / Report No. 1624)
  • EST3681 - An archaeological excavation at Tutbury Castle in 1955. (NRHE Name - Tutbury Castle)

Protected Status:

  • Scheduled Monument 1006112: Tutbury Castle

Full description

Hillfort: Earthworks extending well beyond the medieval walls and the reported discovery of iron material in the Dove close to the site suggest that a hillfort might have existed here. <not sourced>

Motte and Bailey: The castle was held by De Ferrers from 1086 to 1265. From 1265 it was held by the Crown through the Duchy of Lancaster. A roughly circular motte circa 52 metres wide at the base. A triangular bailey with a curved side to the east. To the north-east of the bailey is an outer base court and to the east is another enclosure known as base court and Queen's Garden, separated by the original approach to the castle. There is a further terraced area south of the castle in the vicinity of Little Park Farm. There is a substantial, dry ditch around the south and east sides of the Bailey. <1>

An early motte and bailey castle, possibly on the site of an earlier earthwork, in a strong position overlooking the River Dove. <2>

The castle was first granted to Hugh d'Avranches by William I, but in 1071 he gave it to Henry de Ferrers. Ferrers used it as an administrative centre and founded the church and priory in the town. The castle was besieged by Henry II in 1174 and although peace was made with the king it was around this time the castle was demolished. It was rebuilt soon after and the hall and chamber in the middle bailey date from this period. The castle passed to the crown after 1266, and then to Edmund, Earl of Lancaster. The castle was demolished again in 1322, following Edmunds rebellion against the crown. It was rebuilt again after about 1350 by John of Gaunt, and since 1399 has belonged to the crown as part of the Duchy of Lancaster. By the end of the middle ages it had fallen into decline, although was still used to imprison Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century. A three week siege by the parliamentary forces in 1646 finally reduced much of the castle, and the surviving fragmentary remains are mainly of 14th-15th century date. These remains includes sections of the great gate, surrounding walls and towers and parts of the great hall and solar. An early 19th century mock ruin called Julius's tower is sited on top of the motte. (SB, 21-Oct-2004) <3>

Scheduled Monument Consent was granted in April 2005 for research excavations at the castle to increase the understanding of the monument. (SB, 27-Apr-2005) <4>

An archaeological investigation in 2005 carried out a topographical survey of both the inner bailey, which show the steep gradient between the relatively flat inner ward and the plateau of the motte itself and the steep gradient of the north and south ramparts, which was probably a revetment for the curtain wall. The middle bailey was also surveyed, which highlighted a gentle yet clearly identifiable southwest-northeast downward slope across the entire area.
An accompanying resistivity survey of the middle bailey has highlighted several possible features that might warrant further investigation. (LH, 28-Jun-07) <5>

A third season of archaeological work carried out at the castle by Birmingham archaeology took place in 2006. The survey work included a resistivity survey of the outer bailey, , GPR surveys of the middle and outer baileys and completion of the topographical survey of the castle hill and its earthworks. In addition, there were several excavation foci.
Two trenches were excavated between the North and South towers, one to the north of the South Tower, and one to the south-west of the North Tower. The trench to the north of the South Tower was a reopening of the trench partially excavated in 2005, which had uncovered the top of a series of waterlogged layers that were now fully excavated. The natural sub-soil was reached at a depth of approximately 2m, and at the northwest end of the trench, towards the Bailey, the edge of a large feature was discovered which was tentatively identified as a ditch. This opens the way for a reinterpretation of the character of the early castle. The ditch was filled, and the adjacent berm covered with organic material including large amounted of birch bark and wood, comprising a quantity of pieces of leather, both primary and secondary off cuts and shoe fragments, all of which appeared to have been deposited during the late 11th to 12th century. This whole collection of material suggested that both tanning and manufacture of leather artefacts had been carried out at the site at an early period and that the debris from these processes had been deposited within the inner ward.
The trench to the south-west of the North Tower was following the traces of the building uncovered in the earlier seasons and tentatively identified as the lodging that Mary Queen of Scots was accommodated in during her incarceration here in the 1580s. More of the west wall of this building was recorded, which was progressively less well-preserved as it extended southwards. Towards the northern end of the building, part of a western projection was excavated. The foundation of this former timber-framed building sat on a red clay layer containing 13th century pottery, and although the date of the building itself is uncertain, a mid-17th century destruction layer that sealed the walls seems to provide a terminus ante quem.
Two more trenches were excavated on the northern and southern sides of the motte. The northern trench produced a mass of stone which appeared to represent the conjunction of two sections of walling forming the corner of an ashlar-faced structure, apparently the perimeter wall around the top of the motte, that appears on 16th century drawings. Much of the rubble core immediately behind these facing stones had been robbed, but in those areas that had survived intact, the top surface of the wall survived as a flat stone pavement, which seemed to represent a wall walk or allure. No significant archaeological features were discovered in the southern trench. (LH, 1-Aug-2007) <6>

In June 2004 a programme of archaeological work was carried out within the inner bailey adjacent to the North and South Towers. The lower layers of the area adjacent to the North Tower produced several worked flints and Mesolithic blades along with a sherd of 11th century pottery. A compact clay and pebble layer was discovered here and is thought to represent a yard area associated with the North Tower. At the southwest angle of the excavation the corner of a stone building was discovered, probably the plinth for a timber framed structure, and in the traditional position of the building in which Mary Stuart was lodged during her incarceration at Tutbury.
The area around the South Tower demonstrated that the lower levels of the Norman rampart survived below current ground levels. One of these areas produced a number of 11th to 12th century sherds including Stamford Ware, which seems to confirm that the rampart dated from the foundation of the castle.
Resistivity and GPR surveys of the inner bailey revealed a number of possible building foundations and floors of rectilinear plan. None of these could be phased, but the results of the survey do demonstrate the high archaeological potential of this part of the castle. (LH, 2-Aug-2007) <7>

Sources and further reading

---SST1054 - Written: Ruth Waller (Editor). 1986. An Historical Survey of Tutbury Castle.
---SST1963 - Photographic: Staffordshire County Council. 1960s onward. Staffordshire County Council Photographic Collection. various. (Photographs) 214-60.
---SST3817 - Excavation Report: C. M. Welch (Staffordshire County Council). 1992. Tutbury Castle: Summary of Archaeological Work 1986-88.
---SST3818 - Scientific/Specialist Report: Dr D. A. Higgins (University College, Northampton). 2000. Clay Tobacco Pipes from Excavations at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire, 1986-88.
---SST3937 - Scientific/Specialist Report: Alan K. Outram. ?2000. The Faunal Remains from Tutbury Castle (TC88 and TUMS86).
<1>SST2060 - Descriptive text: SOMERVILLE R. 1964. TUTBURY CASTLE.
<2>SST390 - Index: Ordnance Survey. See cards. Ordnance Survey Card Index. SK 22 NW - 2 (a-y).
<3>SST2107 - Serial: University of Keele. 1966. North Staffordshire Journal of Field Studies volume 6 (1966). 'The Medieval Castles of Staffordshire' by L.M. Cantor - Page 45.
<4>SST3723 - Designation Record: Department for Culture Media and Sport / English Heritage. Ongoing-2016. Scheduled Monument Designation Documents, Scheduled Monument Consents and Section 17 Management Agreements. HSD 9/2/7124.
<5>SST4249 - Excavation Report: Helen Martin-Bacon and Mark Kincey (Birmingham Archaeology). 2005. Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire, A Programme of Archaeological Work 2005.
<6>SST4288 - Excavation Report: Chris Hewitson and Mark Kincey (Birmingham Archaeology). 2007. Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire: A Programme of Archaeological Work, 2006. Pages 1 and 2.
<7>SST4290 - Excavation Report: Glynn Barratt and Malcolm Hislop (Birmingham Archaeology). 2004. Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire: A Programme of Archaeological Work 2004. Page 1.
<8>SST117 - Serial: CBA West Midlands (Sheena Payne - Editor). 2006. West Midlands Archaeology 49 (2006). 'Tutbury, Tutbury Castle' by Malcolm Hislop (Birmingham Archaeology), pages 75-76.

Related records

50452Parent of: Chapel of St Peter, Tutbury Castle (Building)
00041Parent of: Tutbury Castle (Monument)
02356Related to: Tutbury Borough (Place)