Castle Hill motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012199

Date first listed: 23-Jul-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Jun-1991


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill motte and bailey castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Rotherham (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Laughton-en-le-Morthen

National Grid Reference: SK 51628 88221


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

Reasons for Designation

Motte 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-bai1ey 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 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 and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as motte castles. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 Hill motte and bailey castle, Laughton en le Morthen, is particularly important for being one of the best-preserved examples of its class in the county. Except for the outer bailey it is almost completely undisturbed and therefore has considerable archaeological potential. It is a well-documented site and of especial importance is the possibility of underlying deposits relating to the late Saxon hall of Earl Edwin of Mercia.


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


Castle Hill, Laughton en le Morthen, is a very well-preserved example of a conventional motte and bailey castle, consisting of a motte, c.9m high, with a kidney-shaped inner bailey to the north east, measuring c.50m x 20m. The bailey is surrounded by a substantial rampart with an outer ditch encircling the earthworks on the north, west and south. An outer bailey lay to the north and east under what is now the churchyard of the fourteenth century parish church of All Saints and part of its rampart can be seen as an earth bank running east-west immediately north of the church. These remains of the outer bailey have been disturbed by the use of the churchyard for burial, and, as the graveyard remains in active use, are not included in this scheduling. According to the Domesday Book, Laughton was the location of the hall of Earl Edwin of Mercia who was brother-in-law to King Harold Godwinson. It is thought that the site of the Saxon hall underlies the Norman earthworks since the church itself, adjacent to the site, lies on a Saxon foundation. After the Conquest, the manor was granted to Roger de Busli, who built the Norman castle, as part of the Honour of Tickhill. All modern walls, paths and features are excluded from the scheduling. The ground underneath, however, is included.

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: 13227

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Addy, S O, Some Defensive Earthworks In The Neighbourhood Of Sheffield, (1914)
Birch, J, Programme of the Summer meeting of the Royal Arch. Inst., (1980)
Chalkley-Gould, I, Some Early Defensive Earthworks In The Sheffield District, (1904)
Journal of the British Archaeological Assoc., , 'Journal of the British Archaeological Assoc.' in New Series: Note re. Edwin of Mercia, ()
Domesday survey i, 319a, 310b, 315a., (1086)

End of official listing