Gumley motte castle

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1012571
Date first listed:
25-Jan-1993

Map

Ordnance survey map of Gumley motte castle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2019 at 02:40:58.

Location

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

County:
Leicestershire
District:
Harborough (District Authority)
Parish:
Gumley
National Grid Reference:
SP 67885 89904

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte castle at Gumley is a well preserved example of a Leicestershire motte and will retain archaeological evidence of the monument's main construction and occupation phases. The motte lies close to a similarly well preserved motte at Kibworth.

Details

The monument at Gumley is situated on a natural promontory 300m west of the village, 5km north-west of Market Harborough. The motte comprises a flat-topped, circular mound surrounded by a ditch and outer levelled platform. The mound is approximately 40m in diameter and 4m tall with an area of about 15m across on the top. The ditch surrounding the mound is very silted and has a width of 5-6m and a very shallow depth, generally less than 0.5m. A levelled area of up to 9m exists outside the motte ditch, after which the ground falls away sharply on all sides except the east. There are several local names attached to the site including The Mount, Cat Gruff, and Dane's Camp. An area to the south called The Mot, although now levelled, is considered to have been a moated site contemporary with the motte castle. The site also lies only 4km south of a motte at Kibworth.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
17048
Legacy System:
RSM

Legal

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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