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Grantham Castle

In the civil parish of Grantham.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Lincolnshire.
Medieval County of Lincolnshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK915363
Latitude 52.91689° Longitude -0.63929°

Grantham Castle has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Masonry Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


{Marginal} Grantham Castle was granted to Edmund, Duke of York, in 1363. It stood N.E. of the church near the then confluence of the Mowbeck and Witham. There is no trace of it now. (PastScape ref. Street 1867)

Grantham Castle and defences are entirely a mis-reading of various C14 Patent Roll entries referring to the 'castle (castra) and towns of Stamford and Grantham'. There is a Castlegate in Grantham, but it is late and, I suspect, a function of conscious antiquianizing. There may have been humps and bumps in the open space to the east of the church, but these would have related to the manor house.
It's tenurial profile is all wrong for a castle - it was always the fag end of the Stamford deal, and, of course, Stamford had a real castle. I accept that high status sites can leave a gap in urban topography - I call the phenomenon urban fall out - but it is not only castles that do it. Manor houses can also, and I have always thought that that was the case in Grantham. (Roffe 2006 pers. corr. )

Roffe, presumably, means the Latin should be translated as the castle of Stamford and the towns of Stamford and Grantham. Alternatively, in these letters, castra is being used to refer to the full holdings beyond the distinct urban parts of the manors of Grantham and Stamford. Gatehouse considers an early short-lived castle is a possibility in the immediate post-Conquest period, as Grantham was a significant town on the Great North Road but such a castle would be small and if such did exist it seems unlikely it had a motte. It is perhaps more probably there was a manor house, a residence of the bailiff, with some elements of domestic defences (a surrounding pallisade?) and some decorative elements suggesting the status of the overlord but really taking a castle title from it administrative and judicial functions rather than any 'military' role or architectural features. It is possible some late C14 elements of this manor house survive in Grantham House.
Street's location seems to be about SK91593636, although the Mowbeck he mentions is no longer a mapped feature. It is, presumably, now an underground canalised drain of which Brook Street might represent part of its course. This is an area that had been modified for mill leets and was being built over at his time so nothing is really discernible on the 1st edition OS maps. It is also possible that earthworks of old river banks and leets were being misinterpreted as the site of a dwelling. However that site can not be dismissed as a possible location of a manor house of some form. Equally Grantham House, SK91553615, on the east side of Castlegate directly opposite the parish church, is equally probable as a manor house site. However it should also be noted that Street states "in later times" the manorial court was held at the Angle Inn on the High Street although it was not uncommon for such courts to move away from the manor house into a local Inn as manor house owners wanted more privacy and stopped 'living over the shop'.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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