Bailey Hill motte and bailey castle, High Bradfield


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013217

Date first listed: 23-Mar-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Mar-1991


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

District: Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Bradfield

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 26606 92662


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The Bailey Hill motte and bailey castle survives well and archaeological deposits appear largely undisturbed except where past, small-scale excavation was carried out on the motte summit. Importantly, the monument, which in strategic terms commanded the upper reaches of the River Loxley, is part of a wider settlement pattern which includes High Bradfield and the nearby motte castle on Castle Hill, although the exact relationship between the two castles is not at present known.


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


Believed to be a 12th century castle of the de Furnivals, the monument comprises a motte c.18m high whose summit has been disturbed by amateur excavation, leaving it crescent shaped in plan. During excavations in 1720, squared tool-marked stones were found which have been interpreted as the foundations of a tower. A deep, steep-sided ditch c.9m wide circles the motte to the north and extends southward along the east flank of the monument, following the south-westward curve of a substantial 8m wide rampart. At its northern end, the rampart stops just short of the motte. At its southern end, it curves round to meet the edge of the sharp drop down into the valley of Rocher End Brook. This scarp forms a natural western defence to a small semi- circular bailey measuring c.15m x 30m, though it is likely this edge was also palisaded. A low bank running between the scarp and the motte ditch at the northern end of the bailey is all that survives of another section of rampart. A causeway across the motte ditch just south of this was a point of access to the motte from the bailey. Access to the bailey seems to have been from the south-west or, alternatively, from the east across the outer ditch, where a route up from the village and church would have passed through the gap between motte and rampart. A ditch also divides the bailey from the east rampart. Modern walling and fencing is excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath 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: 13212

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: Volume II, (1912)
Birch, J, Programme of the Summer meeting of the Royal Arch. Inst., (1980)
'Archaeologia' in Watson's Account of foure hitherto undescribed remains of Antiq., , Vol. VI, (1782)
Addy, S O, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bailey Hill, Bradfield, , Vol. 20, (1909)

End of official listing