Toot Hill motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

East Lindsey (District Authority)
Withern with Stain
National Grid Reference:
TF 41934 81025

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Toot Hill motte and bailey castle survives well as a series of earthwork and buried deposits. The artifically raised ground will preserve evidence of the land use prior to the construction of the motte. As one of two motte and bailey castles lying within a small area it contributes to an understanding of the inter-relationship of contemporary components of the medieval landscape. Its reuse in the post-medieval period demonstrates its continuing importance as a landscape feature.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval motte and bailey castle, known as Toot Hill, which is enclosed by ditches and banks on low lying ground adjacent to the Great Eau. The land at Tothill was part of the land of Greetham which belonged to the Norman earls of Chester. The site dates to the 11th or 12th century, representing either a fortification dating to the immediate post-Conquest period or to the civil war during King Stephen's reign. In the post-medieval period a house was constructed within the bailey; this house, which is called Tothill Manor, is a Listed Building Grade II and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

The motte is a roughly circular mound 8m high with a flat top which measures approximately 70m in diameter. To the west and bounded by ditches was the bailey where domestic buildings would have been located. A second low bank and ditch curve round the northern and eastern side of the motte and bailey. On the southern and western side a series of dry parallel `V'-shaped ditches provides further defences. These ditches measure 14m in width. The inner ditch enclosing the western part of the bailey continues to the north west to form a funnel entrance into the bailey.

A raised rectangular platform, measuring approximately 15m by 10m, lies between the parallel ditches on the southern side of the motte and is thought to represent the remains of a building platform. The present Tothill Manor is situated in the western part of the bailey.

All standing buildings, fences, boundary walls, animal pens, and telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Foster, C W, Longley, T, 'Lincoln Record Society Publications' in Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lindsey Survey, (1924)
Owen, A E B, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Castle Carlton: The Origins Of A Medieval New Town, , Vol. 27, (1992), 17-22
NMR, 355689, (1998)


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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