Castle Hill motte and bailey castle, Castle Carlton


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


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill motte and bailey castle, Castle Carlton
© 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.

East Lindsey (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 39510 83596

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 motte and bailey castle at Castle Hill survives well as a series of earthwork and buried deposits. These remains will preserve evidence of the form of the fortifications, and the artifically raised ground will preserve evidence of land use prior to the construction of the motte. The association of the motte and bailey castle with the abandoned village of Castle Carlton contributes to an understanding of the inter-relationship of contemporary components of the medieval landscape.


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle at Castle Hill, Castle Carlton. Castle Carlton lies between South Reston and Great Carlton and was held by Ansgot of Burwell following the Norman Conquest and subsequently by Ralph de la Haye, successor to Ansgot's title. By 1157 Hugh Bardolf had acquired Carlton from Ralph de la Haye. The property was divided amongst the Bardolf family in the 13th century with Castle Carlton passing by marriage to John Meriet in 1275 and remaining in the Meriot family for another century. The motte and bailey castle dates from the 11th or 12th century and is thought to have been built either as a post-Conquest fortification of Ansgot or as a response to the turmoil of King Stephen's reign by Ralph de la Haye, an active supporter of Stephen. The motte and bailey castle was associated with the village of Castle Carlton, 350m to the north east, believed to have been established in the mid-12th century and now abandoned.

The castle takes the form of a motte and double bailey enclosed by ditches, with external banks. The motte, which is located in the north eastern part of a roughly circular ditched enclosure, is a circular mound, measuring 40m in diameter and 8m high. It has steep sides and a flattened top, measuring approximately 15m. The bailey, where domestic buildings would have been located, occupies the southern and western part of the enclosure and is surrounded by a steep sided ditch, measuring up to 12m in width which retains water in places. The bailey is lined by internal banks along the southern and western sides and is divided in two by a broad ditch, aligned east to west, with access provided between the northern and southern portions of the bailey at the western end of the ditch.

The motte, bailey, and a narrow strip of ground to the north and east of the bailey are enclosed by a ditch measuring 8m to 12m in width with a narrow funnel entrance, formed by the curve of the ditch, providing access to the bailey on the southern side of the monument.

All fences and animal pens 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.


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

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Books and journals
Owen, A E B, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Castle Carlton: The Origins Of A Medieval New Town, , Vol. 27, (1992), 17-22


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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