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Record Details

HER Number:00119/01
Type of record:Monument
Name:Peel Hill Motte, Thorne


A medieval motte in the town of Thorne

Grid Reference:SE 689 133
Map Sheet:SE61SE
Parish:THORNE, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Map:Show location on GoogleMaps (to an accuracy of 100m only)

Monument Types:

  • BAILEY? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE (C12 Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds:

  • FSY4120 - SHERD (Medium quantity) (Medieval to Industrial - 1367 AD to 1914 AD)
  • FSY4121 - CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Small quantity) (Post Medieval to Industrial - 1600 AD to 1899 AD)
  • Protected Status:

    • Scheduled Monument 1013451: Peel Hill Motte and Bailey Castle

    Full Description

    <1> The large motte known as Peel Hill can still be found to the north of the church at Thorne. An early-fifteenth century map of Inclesmoor marks a stone tower on this motte, and stone foundations are still partly visible. The motte is 22 ft high and 55ft in diameter on top, but though its surrounding ditch is well preserved there is now no trace of a bailey [Further information].

    <2> Casson refers to the site being owned by a John Benson, Esq., who "a few years ago" (I.e. the first quarter of the 19th century) "bared the foundations of the castle". There have been no known excavations since.
    The Manor belonged to Warennes of Consibrough in the 12th century, who erected the church. The VCH suggests that the castle served as a hunting lodge in Hatfield Chase. The tower remained standing into the 16th century at least. Leland writing in 1534, states, "by the chyrch garth of Thurne is a praty pile or castelet, well diked, now used for a prison for offenders in the forestes" Early 17th century accounts suggest that important medieval buildings stood south of the motte, there are references to the 'hall garth' (evidently west of the church) and the 'king's chamber' and the Chamber over the outward gate. The 'gate House' evidently stood in Stonegate not far from the church. The presence of an important group of buildings with a specific gatehouse, in this situation would suggest that the Peel Hill had a bailey to the south. The parish church may have developed from the castle chapel as evidently happened at St George's Church, Doncaster.

    <3> For scheduling description see Designation record.

    <4> OS card as above.

    <5> Castle motte with 3 courses of rubble walling on top. At present [c. 1977] overgrown.

    <6> The ditch round the motte is nearly complete, however the bailey, if there was one, has vanished. On the top the foundations of a stone keep are still visible. The site is defensible having formerly been an island in a swamp. Thorne was a small manor in the soke of Conisbrough at Domesday. It belonged to William de Warenne; probably the castle was built to serve as a hunting seat for Hatfield Chase. [Photograph and artist's reconstruction in Back-up File.]

    <7> References: V.C.H Yorks 1912 Vo.11 P.23, History of Yorkshire ii p.773 (Whellan)

    <8> Community excavations in 2010 recorded foundation stones for a rectilinear structure on top of the motte. This may have been part of the castle defences, or possibly an interior structure. A 19th century red brick surface incorporating late medieval and post-medieval red bricks was identified outside the defensive ditch. Red brick was also found overlying the medieval foundation stones on top of the motte. It seems likely that parts of the castle incorporated red brick during its later phase.

    Sources and further reading

    <1>SSY137 - Bibliographic reference: Hey, D.. 1979. The Making of South Yorkshire.. Single volume. p44
    <2>SSY336 - Unpublished document: SYAS. c1980. Motte and Bailey Castles in South Yorkshire: A Thematic Report for the DoE. (single volume). PI 119
    <3>SSY162 - Scheduling record: English Heritage. See Record. Scheduling Record.
    <4>SSY217 - Unpublished document: Various - Ordnance Survey. Various. OS Card.
    <5>SSY96 - Monograph: Magilton, J.R.. 1977. The Doncaster District: An Archaeological Survey. single volume.
    <6>SSY64 - Serial: (ed.) William Page. 1974?. The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of Yorkshire. volume II. Vol 2 p23
    <7>SSY213 - Unpublished document: SYAS. c1974-c2003. SMR Card. Indexed according to PIN Number.
    <8>SSY3031 - Grey Literature Report: ARCUS. 2010. Peel Hill Motte and Bailey Castle Community Archaeology Project, Thorne: Archaeological Project Report. Harrison, C..

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