Castle Hills ringwork and bailey


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


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hills ringwork and bailey
© 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.

South Kesteven (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 00735 39704

Reasons for Designation

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork and bailey at Castle Hills survives well as a series of earthwork and buried remains. The buried building remains will preserve valuable evidence of the later layout, construction and use of the site. Waterlogging will preserve evidence of organic remains, such as seeds, leather and timber. In addition, the raised ground will preserve evidence of the land use prior to the construction of the monument. The continued use of the site over a period of 400 years will contribute to an understanding of the development of a relatively high status component of the medieval landscape. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and documentary research the monument is quite well understood.


The monument includes a medieval ringwork and bailey lying on a gentle east- facing slope known as Castle Hills, which was occupied by a manor house in the later medieval period. In 1086 the land was held by Guy de Craon, as part of his manor of Osbournby. By the beginning of the 13th century the manor of Heydour was held by a tenant, Roger de Rudston, and in 1343 documentary sources record the presence of a manor house with outbuildings, a dovecote and a garden. By the 16th century the manor of Heydour had descended to the Bussey family. The ringwork takes the form of a raised sub-circular mound, enclosed by a ditch. The mound measures approximately 60m in diameter and stands up to 2.5m above the base of the surrounding ditch. The interior of the ringwork is marked by a series of rectilinear platforms and low banks, with stonework protruding through the turf, representing buried building foundations. The building remains are believed to be associated with the later medieval occupation of the site, when a manor house and ancillary domestic buildings stood on the mound. In the 16th century Leland, the antiquarian, wrote that a member of the Bussey family `dwelleth in an old place at Haider' indicating that the site was still occupied at this time. The ditch, measuring 8m in width and up to 1.5m deep, encloses the ringwork to the west and south; an irregular shaped water-filled pond, lying on the line of the ditch, extends around the south eastern side of the ringwork. On the north side of the mound the ditch is partly infilled and survives as a buried feature; its course, depicted on earlier maps, is visible as a shallow depression. There are now three access points to the ringwork; a broad causeway to the south provides access between the ringwork and bailey and is believed to indicate the position of an original access point, as does a narrower causeway on the western side of the ringwork. Both now serve as part of a trackway crossing the ringwork and bailey. A linear hollow providing access to the eastern side of the mound is thought to be modern in origin. The bailey, adjoining the southern side of the ringwork, is semi-circular in plan, measuring approximately 90m from east to west by 45m, and is enclosed by a bank up to 1m in height. The earthwork remains of an external ditch are visible on the south western side of the bailey; elsewhere the infilled portion of the ditch survives as a buried feature. To the north east of the ringwork lies an L-shaped bank, the only surviving part of an enclosure associated with the complex. Immediately to the north of the ringwork there are a series of channels, which supplied water to the complex, and two further building platforms. A broad, flat-based channel, now dry, lined by a low bank on the northern side, divides into two narrower channels, one leading southwards, toward the ditch around the ringwork, the other branch leading south east for a distance of approximately 80m. A rectangular, water-filled pond located at the end of the latter channel is believed to be modern in origin and is not included in the scheduling. The two irregular shaped level platforms, both measuring appoximately 40m in length and between 30m and 40m in width lie between the channels. Both platforms incorporate low earth-covered stone walls, indicating the location of building remains, thought to be service structures associated with the manor house. A further channel, depicted on earlier maps, lined the east side of the southernmost platform and fed into the ditch on the east side of the ringwork and bailey. This channel is no longer visible but will survive as a buried feature. The remains of two fishponds, located approximately 80m east of the ringwork and formerly associated with the complex, have been altered and are therefore not included in the scheduling. All fence posts and water troughs are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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:
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Books and journals
Downham, EA, Ancient Earthworks in Lincolnshire, (1912), 14
Healey, RH, Roffe, DR, Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire, (1990), 59-60
Li 30083, (1999)
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" sheet 114.8, 2nd Edition Source Date: 1905 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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