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Record Details

HER Number:00122/01
Type of record:Monument
Name:Motte and Bailey Castle, Castle Hills, Mexborough

Summary

A motte and bailey castle, Castle Hills, Mexborough

Grid Reference:SK 484 998
Map Sheet:SK49NE
Parish:MEXBOROUGH/CONISBROUGH, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Map:Show location on GoogleMaps (to an accuracy of 100m only)

Monument Types:

Associated Finds:

  • None
  • Protected Status:

    • Scheduled Monument 1013650: Castle Hills Motte and Bailey Castle

    Full Description

    <1> A circular bailey c. 25m in diameter with a peripheral motte, c 8m high and c. 5m across at the top. The bailey is surrounded by substantial banks rising c. 2m above the present inner ground level and c. 5m above the outer ditch. Entrance to the bailey is via a defensive approach on the north west side that survives as an earthwork. The monument itself is situated on the north bank of the River Don where it would have commanded the area of the ancient ford at Strafford Sands. Writing in the 17th century, Dodsworth mentions "Mexborough, where hath once been a castle", suggesting the stone visible in the top of the motte is part of the foundations of a stone tower. The motte and bailey, with its substantial earthworks, is a good surviving example of this type of monument. Although to some extent disturbed by landscaping, many of the original archaeological remains within the bailey and in the outer ditch will survive beneath the modern paths, bandstand and concreted area.

    <2> The truncated motte is 52 feet high above the ditch and the bailey is surrounded by a bank of 6 feet (average) height. The surrounding ditch is 50 feet wide. On the north-west side there is a small half-moon annexe, possibly part of a defended approach or barbican. The motte and bailey are part of a public park, and although landscape gardening has obliterated parts of the earthwork and mutilated others, the main characteristics still survive.

    <3> The area of the bailey is half an acre in size and it overlooks an ancient ford on the River Don called Strafforth Sands.

    <4> The site has a 'curious little lunette-shaped banked enclosure'. It has been suggested this was for protecting livestock but it could be the remains of a protected entrance-way; 'a sort of barbican, moated, banked and palisaded, which projected to guard the entrance to the fortress.' There is no longer a second or outer bailey but a field to the west shows traces of a considerable amount of ditching, and some ramparting, which may indicate the existence of a protected court on that side.

    <5> References, V.C.H Yorks II 33ff, T.H.A.S.I. (1918) 359, J.B.Arch. Assn. NS Vol. X 38-39
    <6> 'South Yorkshire' J Hunter Vol. II, 263, <7> Vol, I p. iv.

    Sources and further reading

    <1>SSY162 - Scheduling record: English Heritage. See Record. Scheduling Record.
    <2>SSY213 - Unpublished document: South Yorkshire Archaeology Service. c1974-c2003. SMR Card. Indexed according to PIN Number.
    <3>SSY64 - Serial: (ed.) William Page. 1974?. The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of Yorkshire. volume II. pp. 31
    <4>SSY295 - Article in monograph: S. O. Addy. 1914-1918. 'Some Defensive Earthworks in the Neighbourhood of Sheffield'. pp. 38
    <5>SSY213 - Unpublished document: South Yorkshire Archaeology Service. c1974-c2003. SMR Card. Indexed according to PIN Number.
    <6>SSY309 - Monograph: Hunter, J.. 1974 [1831]. South Yorkshire: the History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster, Volume II. (single volume). p. 263
    <7>SSY597 - Monograph: Hunter, J.. 1974 [1828]. South Yorkshire: the History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster, Volume I. (single volume). p. 4

    Related records

  • None
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