King's Hill motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018398

Date first listed: 14-Oct-1936

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Sep-1998


Ordnance survey map of King's Hill motte and bailey castle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 19:45:47.


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

County: Lincolnshire

District: Boston (District Authority)

Parish: Wrangle

National Grid Reference: TF 41361 53090


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 remains of the motte and bailey castle known as King's Hill survive well as a series of substantial earthworks which have been little altered since medieval times. Partial waterlogging in the area of the moat will preserve organic remains, such as leather and wood, which will provide an additional insight into domestic and agricultural activities on the site. Situated in the fenland, the monument is rare in being one of very few earthwork sites surviving from the medieval period. The remains are characteristic of a historical period in which expansion into the fen was achieved through manorial complexes of this type, and they will preserve valuable evidence for the way in such complexes were established in a distinctive ecological and economic environment, and how they functioned within the wider medieval landscape.


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


The monument includes King's Hill, the remains of a motte and bailey castle which served as the centre of a local manor. It is believed to be associated with a manorial estate which was established in the 11th and 12th centuries and belonged, in the 13th and 14th centuries, to the earls of Lincoln. In the early 17th century the estate passed to James I, and the remains of the castle subsequently became known as King's Hill.

The remains take the form of a series of substantial earthworks located in the fenland approximately 2.5km north west of St Mary and St Nicholas' Church.

In the northern part of the monument is the motte, a large earthen mound of approximately circular plan, measuring about 60m in diameter and standing about 2m above the surrounding ground level. On the top of the mound, which is flat in profile, are the earthwork remains of a series of structures ranged around the west, north and east sides of a shallow central depression or yard. The mound is encircled by a steep-sided ditch about 2m in depth which represents the remains of a moat.

Adjacent and to the south of the motte are the remains of a bailey, also moated, which measures about 60m north-south and 70m east-west and stands about 1m high. The bailey includes a further series of building platforms, also ranged around a yard. The bailey would have been the site of the domestic and agricultural buildings of the manor, including stables and barns.

Adjacent to the north are the remains of a small ditched enclosure, one of a series formerly surrounding the castle which would have included gardens, orchards and paddocks.

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.

Legacy System number: 22742

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing