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Torksey Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Windmill Hill; Torkesey Wynde Mille Hille

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SK837786
Latitude 53.29821° Longitude -0.74514°

Torksey Motte has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are no visible remains.


The olde buildinges of Torkesey wer on the south of the new toune, but there now is litle scene of olde buildinges, more then a chapelle, wher men say was the paroch chirch of old Torkesey, and on Trent side the yerth so balkith up that it shewith that there be likelihod hath beene sum waulle, and by it is a hille of yerth cast up : they caulle it the Wynde Mille Hille, but I thinke the dungeon of sum olde castelle was there. (Leland)

Excavations showed that the scarp towards the Trent, which Leland had taken to be the remains of defences, is entirely natural, formed by the river cutting eastwards into the Keuper Marl. The pre-conquest borough may well have been an open settlement, consisting primarily of a string of wharves and warehouses extending some miles up the Foss Dyke towards Lincoln. (Med. Arch. 1962-3)

A one metre by one metre test pit was excavated in July 2011 by the University of Sheffield at 4 Sand Lane, Torksey 54207a. Medieval pottery, a copper alloy belt fitting and fragments of possibly medieval glass and tile were found. The glass and tile suggests that a high status building may have existed nearby. (Lincolnshire HER 54207)

Rejected by King who writes "Mentioned by Leland, in terms suggesting a motte, is nothing of the kind, while late Tudor building, now called Torksey Castle, is quite unfortified." However, since Torksey became a new port in 1121, and also seems to have had a monastic foundation in C12, a castle would not be an improbable addition to what was a high status potential development. Leland writes the mound was called Windmill Hill, but that he thought it was the site of an old castle. Modern flood defences and intense agriculture have also much altered the landscape, and earlier flooding from the Trent may well have obliterated any ditches. Despite the apparent amount of open land flood safe land near the river is very limited and the site may well have been built over by later development including the later castle which is less than 200m from Sand Lane.
An excavation, directed by M.W. Barley, in 1960/61, showed a scarp, which they said was the defences identified by Leland, to be natural. However, Leland's account does not allow for a specific modern site to be so identified (Did Barley assume modern Castlebank was Lelands Wynde Mille Hille?). The possibility of a high status site south of the modern village, associated with the medieval town remains high although its form is unclear.
Site lost, given map reference for the junction of Sand Lane with the A156 close to the test pit finds of stained glass and tile. The site of the medieval town south of this site is scheduled monument 1004991, which, despite this legal protection, is on the Heritage at Risk Register.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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