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Leicester Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Newarke

In the civil parish of Leicester.
In the historic county of Leicestershire.
Modern Authority of Leicester; City of.
1974 county of Leicestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK58260413
Latitude 52.63170° Longitude -1.14063°

Leicester Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

The original motte and bailey castle (SK 50 SE 1) was built in timber by Hugh de Grentmesnil to whom William the Conqueror granted Leicester circa 1068. It was apparently rebuilt by Robert Beaumont, Count of Meulan and first Earl of Leicester, following the almost certain damage which it suffered in the rebellion of 1101. Robert 'le Bosso' is generally credited with the building of the great hall (SK 50 SE 165) who inherited the castle in 1118. Henry II ordered its demolition in 1174 but how much was cleared is unknown as it is again recorded as being the residence of the Earl of Leicester. Simon de Montfort held it from 1231 until his death in 1265 when it passed to Edmund Crouchback who improved the structure. John of Gaunt died there in 1399 and after his son became Henry IV it was only used occasionally for Parliaments; the 'Parliament of Bats' was assembled there in 1426. Richard III seems to have been the last occupant in 1483 and by Charles I's time, apart from the great hall, the rest was 'utterly ruynous, useless and irreparable' (PastScape–ref-Clarke; Pevsner; HKW)

The castle mound is about 30ft high, the steepest scars being 4ft on the south west and the diameter of the level summit 100ft. It was considerably higher, probably 12 to 15ft until reduced and levelled for a bowling green in C19. Excavations have located the castle wall.

The Newarke, A stone-walled outer bailey added to Leicester Castle in circa 1330 and enlarged in 1354. A fragment of the wall survives and two gateways.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated on Friday, November 14, 2014

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