The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 


In the civil parish of Catthorpe.
In the historic county of Leicestershire.
Modern Authority of Leicestershire.
1974 county of Leicestershire.
Medieval County of Leicestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP551781
Latitude 52.39851° Longitude -1.19048°

Catthorpe has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are uncertain remains.


Vanished castle. Forbidden as unlicenced in 1218. Possibly the same as Shawell. (King 1983)

Catthorpe is a vanished site, although it has been suggested that the documentary' reference can be associated with the probable motte at Shawell.
Documentation: A castle at Catthorpe was said to be unlicensed in 1218, and presumably slighted thereafter, although the possible castle earthwork at Shawell exhibits no outward signs of mutilation in the manner of, for instance, Groby. (Creighton 1998)

Eodem mo scribitur Viconte Leic et Warewic de castro de Catthorp prosternendo, quod Rob' de Gaugi firmare cepit. {Write the same order to the sheriff of Leicestershire and Warwickshire to throw down the castle of Catthorpe which Robert of Gaugy strengthened.} (Rot. litt. claus. 2 Hen III 1218)

King and, authors following him, write possibly the same as Shawell, Renn suggest one of the Lilbourne motte and baileys across the river in Northamptonshire. Since the Shawell Castle and Lilbourne Castle are both next to their respective parish churches it might be expected that they be identified by those names (All three place-names are recorded in The Domesday Book), however Lilbourne Roundhill is not next to a church, it is the closest of the three to Catthorpe, and it may be it was given the Catthorpe name to differentiate it from Lilbourne Castle.
There is no mention in the source of this castle being 'unlicenced' - that statement by King is part of his 'received' wisdom reflecting Whiggish historic bias about supposed medieval royal authority. It was a castle made strong by a notably King John loyalist which Henry III's council are ordering to be demolished (one of several) to establish their authority after the first Baron's War.
The given map reference is for Catthorpe parish church.
Questionable as a separate unidentified castle. Although the order to prosternendo was given to the Sheriff of Leicestershire and Warwickshire and Lilbourne Roundhill was in Northamptonshire, technically outside that Sheriff remit, in practice he may have had forces closer or simply the identification of the county location of this border site was just not known by Henry IIIs mainly London based court.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
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.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:48

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact