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Groby Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Tourhull; Grobi

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SK52390764
Latitude 52.66399° Longitude -1.22684°

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

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Medieval motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork. The Castle was built in the late C11 by Hugh de Grantmesnil and was destroyed in 1172. Excavations in 1962-3 showed the motte was built around an existing stone structure of function, possibly a tower. Fishponds to north destroyed by road by-pass. The oval castle motte is 5 to 6m high with a flattish top and measures 38m east to west and 25m north to south. To the east is a flat bailey area extending for 20m and enclosed by a ditch surviving for a length of 35m and 15m wide and 2m deep. On its outer east side it has a slight bank 1m high. (PastScape)

Now largely destroyed and some of the bailey perimeter beneath embanked road. Creighton speculates that the motte was built over a pre-existing, already somewhat ruinous, Saxon residential tower and represents a continuity of use of a manorial site. The TimeTeam excavation (of just three days) found no evidence of a Saxon tower or earlier site, although a timber thegnal site remains probably. The bailey enclosure is suggested to have included the parish church. The motte was found to been thrown up around the Norman tower (as at Lydford, Devon) although no effort seems to have been made to identify the form of the motte and it is not know if motte was revetted (as at Farnham, Surrey). The site had a major episode of demolition and reconstruction c. 1300 as a great manor of the Ferrers/de Grey family within the bailey. The Time Team investigation did much interesting geophysics giving some idea of the layout of the C14 manor.
A Close Roll entry of May 1344 describes the manor and notes a garden called 'le Tourhull' (Towerhill), an ancient ditch called 'le Slade' and a house called 'le Baillyfeshous'. Quiet what sort of garden was on the motte, market or pleasure?
The C14 manor (described as a 'palace' by TimeTeam) was demolished and replaced by the late C15 brick Old Groby Hall on a slightly different site.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LIDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
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Photos >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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