Castle Dykes motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010659

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jan-1992


Ordnance survey map of Castle Dykes motte and bailey castle
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 10:39:06.


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

County: Northamptonshire

District: Daventry (District Authority)

Parish: Farthingstone

National Grid Reference: SP 61837 56706


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Dykes is a well preserved example of a substantial but isolated motte and bailey castle with two well-defined inner baileys, and an embanked outer bailey. The undisturbed remains of the motte mound contain foundations of a stone castle, making this one of the best surviving examples of its type in Northamptonshire.


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


The monument consists of the motte and bailey castle known as Castle Dykes which lies to the north of the village of Farthingstone. The mound of the castle motte stands 5m above the surrounding ditch and is about 80m in diameter at its base. The remains of stone walls are identifiable on the motte mound. The motte is centrally placed between two lateral inner baileys which lie to east and west of the motte. The baileys consist of well defined floor areas, approximately 70m wide in the west bailey and about 62m wide in the east bailey. Both are surrounded by a substantial bank 3m high. To the north of the motte and inner baileys lies the outer bailey which measures about 108m x 110m. The whole monument is enclosed by a large ditch up to 3m deep, with an outer bank up to 2.5m high. A causeway crosses the ditch and provides access from the outer bailey to the western inner bailey.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 13637

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Guide Book to the Castle: Rockingham Castle, (1990)

End of official listing