Cromwell's Batteries motte and bailey castle, Skellow


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Cromwell's Batteries motte and bailey castle, Skellow
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 52949 10409, SE 52977 10444, SE 53001 10396

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Although some areas of bailey and rampart at this site have been destroyed, the motte itself survives well and will retain considerable information on its original form and method of construction. In addition, the surviving sections of bailey and rampart are also well-preserved and are substantial enough for the original full extent of the bailey to be postulated.


The monument comprises a motte, c.5m high, surrounded by a ditch with sections of a bailey and rampart surviving to north and west. By and large, the bailey is lost under the road (Cross Hill), but small areas survive relatively undisturbed in private gardens and adjacent land. The motte, which is the best defined of the surviving features, lies in the grounds of Skellow Old Hall. A ditch coming through the west boundary of the hall grounds, close to the motte, is interpreted as an inlet or outlet channel for the ditch. Immediately to the west of the motte, areas of the bailey survive in the gardens of Cromwell's Croft and The Cottage, and sections of the rampart can be seen along the boundary between Cromwell's Croft and Edgehill. The most substantial section of bailey and rampart lies to the north of the road, where the latter stands to a height of c.3m. This section would originally have curved round to the west and south to link with the section south of the road. Some modification of these remains is thought to have occurred during the Civil War, giving rise to the tradition that they were gun emplacements and the local name, Cromwell's Batteries. All modern buildings and the surfaces of paths and driveways are excluded from the scheduling, though the ground beneath is included. The monument is composed of three separate constraint areas.

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.

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Books and journals
Magilton, J, The Doncaster District, (1977), 25


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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