Sapcote Castle and moat


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010301

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Oct-1992


Ordnance survey map of Sapcote Castle and moat
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 13:50:58.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Blaby (District Authority)

Parish: Sapcote

National Grid Reference: SP 48700 93406


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Sapcote is one of three castles in south west Leicestershire, with Earl Shilton and Hinckley, which immediately post date the Norman Conquest. Excavation has shown that the castle contains many stone buildings and the potential for survival of further buried features is high. The adjoining moat demonstrates that occupation of the site continued well into the medieval period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Sapcote Castle lies within the village 100m north of the church. The motte and bailey castle is situated in a field called Toot Hill Close; the adjoining moat lies in Park Close or Noble Park to the west. Toot Hill Close is 140 x 80m and contains the remains of a motte, partly modified in c1778 but currently surviving as a mound rising to about 1m. The bailey ditch has been infilled in recent years and can be seen as a grass mark 100m to the west of the motte. Park Close, measuring 150m square, contains three sides of a late medieval moat, constructed adjacent to the castle bailey, which was infilled in c.1960 and survives as a grass mark along the course of its northern arm. Reports dating from the 1920's onwards indicate the presence of stone castle buildings in the vicinity of the motte. The bailey originally extended to the north but this part was heavily modified by the construction of a factory during World War II. A bank in this northern part which survived World War II, outside the area of the scheduling was destroyed in 1964, and a watching brief revealed a stone lined well, a granite cobbled road, and a wall and a ditch, all of 13th-15th century date. Excavations were carried out in the north east part of Toot Hill Close by the Leicester Archaeological Excavation Group from 1967-74, revealing a 13th century wall and turret and an earlier stone hearth and flue. In 1978, a watching brief by Leicestershire Museums during the construction of a scout hut adjacent to the motte also revealed the stone foundations of a building. Excavations were also carried out in 1958, prior to the filling of the moat in Park Close. Records of the moat being partly filled in the late 18th century were confirmed by excavation and the original depth of the ditch was found to be about 3m and the width 8m. A later date than the castle is indicated by excavation which showed the moat to post date a 13th century ditch. A second moat also adjoined the first to the south but is now totally built over. Excluded from the scheduling are: the Scout hut, a concrete path leading to a house next to Toot Hill Close, the pavilion, a drinking fountain, and a concrete base for swings. The ground beneath these features is, however, included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 17036

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Smith, S, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Hist Society' in Notes in Leicestershire Archaeology 1967, , Vol. 45, (1967)

End of official listing