Castle Hill: moated site with Civil War earthworks


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019067

Date first listed: 05-Mar-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Apr-2000


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill: moated site with Civil War earthworks
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Withern with Stain

National Grid Reference: TF 42721 82142


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

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645 to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and interconnected trenches. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain beseiged areas. There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. All examples which survive well and/or represent particular forms of construction are identified as nationally important.

The remains of the moated site and Civil War defences, known as Castle Hill, survive well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits preserving valuable evidence of the development of the monument throughout the medieval and post- medieval periods. The defensive position represents a response to the turmoil of the Civil War period as control of the area changed between opposing forces and was affected by raids and skirmishes. The artificially raised ground will preserve evidence of the land use prior to its construction, while waterlogged deposits will preserve organic remains (such as timber, leather and seeds) which will give an insight into the domestic and economic activity on the site. As a medieval site which was significantly altered during the Civil War, it contributes to our understanding of an important historical period.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site which was altered by the addition of earthwork defences thought to date from the Civil War. Known as Castle Hill, it is located at Hall Farm 250m east of the church in Withern. In 1086 land at Withern was held by Earl Hugh as part of his manor of Greetham, and between the 13th and 15th centuries it was variously held by the Well family and the Crown. From the 15th to the 18th centuries a branch of the Fitzwilliam family, established at Mablethorpe Hall, held large estates in Withern and Mablethorpe; 17th century documentary evidence makes reference to Fitzwilliams at Withern, and Castle Hill is believed to have been the location of a house belonging to the Fitzwilliam family. In the post-medieval period a building, known as Withern Hall, was located immediately to the north west of the site but was later destroyed.

Although medieval in origin, the moated site is believed to have been altered in the post-medieval period to form a defensive position which included the creation of ramparts and angle bastions together with the enhancement of the moat. Situated on fairly level ground, on the eastern side of the Great Eau, it takes the form of a large embanked enclosure raised 2m above the surrounding ground level and enclosed by a moat. The moat, now dry, is steep sided measuring 12m to 18m in width and up to 2m deep. The moated enclosure is trapezoidal in plan measuring 80m by 75m tapering to 60m in width at the south eastern side. The level interior is enclosed on three sides, to the north east, south east and south west, by a steep sided, flat-topped earthen bank or rampart, standing up to 1.5m high and measuring 8m to 10m in width at the base and approximately 6m in width at the top. At each corner the rampart splays outward forming a platform approximately 7m in width; these are thought to represent bastions, which would have provided gun emplacements. The north eastern rampart is interrupted mid-way along its length by a narrow hollow leading down to the moat, thought to represent a modern access point.

During the Civil War the area around Withern was garrisoned by the Parliamentarians, including Mablethorpe Hall; these positions were captured by the Royalists in the summer of 1643 and were then retaken by Parliamentarian forces, although subsequently raids continued to be made in the area. The alterations to the moated site would have provided defences overlooking the approaches to the site and the nearby church. The north western side of the monument where the rampart is absent would have been afforded protection by the low-lying ground between the monument and the river, an area prone to flooding.

All fences 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.

Legacy System number: 31634

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Foster, C W, Longley, T, The Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lincolnshire Survey, (1976)
Pevsner, N, Harris, J, Antram, N, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, (1989), 808
Holmes, C, 'History of Lincolnshire' in Seventeenth Century Lincolnshire, , Vol. 7, (1980)
Owen, A E B, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Castle Carlton: The Origins Of A Medieval New Town, , Vol. 27, (1992), 17-22
NMR, 355686, (1998)
Title: Withern Tithe Award Source Date: 1839 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing