Castle Hills motte and bailey castle, Langthwaite, Adwick le Street


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Castle Hills motte and bailey castle, Langthwaite, Adwick le Street
© 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 55184 06730

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Despite some erosion of the ramparts and motte, the Langthwaite motte and bailey castle survives well with its archaeological remains substantially undisturbed. Uniquely amongst South Yorkshire motte and bailey castles, the ditches are waterlogged and provide conditions in which organic and palaeoenvironmental material is likely to survive. Importantly, the monument is part of a group including Radcliffe moat, which superseded it, and the now deserted village of Langthwaite.


The monument comprises a 4m-5m high motte with a kidney-shaped inner bailey to the north and a sub-rectangular outer bailey to the east. The inner bailey is c.30m across and the outer c.70m x 40m. On the west side, between the motte and inner bailey, a 2m high oval mound forms the end of a rampart circling the motte to the south west and has been interpreted as a defended approach to the monument. The surviving rampart is at its highest at this point, rising c.2m above the ditch round the motte. Following the lane east, then turning north round the outer bailey, it flattens to c.1m high but widens to c.7m, dropping c.2m into the outer ditch. Traces are hard to find on the north side, but a separate 1.5m high rampart surrounds the inner bailey, double in places with a ditch between. The complexity of the earthworks suggest it was a monument of some importance. Certainly it commanded the manor of Langthwaite (later Hangthwaite), one of six held by Nigel Fossard in 1086 from the Count of Mortain. In the later Middle Ages, it was superseded by Radcliffe moat c.500m to the ENE. Between the two are faint earthworks marking the village site. The monument would also have dominated the approach to the village along what is now Langthwaite Lane. Neither the lane nor the village earthworks form part of the scheduling.

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


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

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Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: Volume II, (1912)
Addy, S O, Some Defensive Earthworks In The Neighbourhood Of Sheffield, (1914)
Illingworth, J L, Yorkshire's Ruined Castles, (1938)
Magilton, J, The Doncaster District, (1977)


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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