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Kinaird Castle, Owston Ferry

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Kinnards Ferry; Kenefar; Kinardferry; Kinardeferie; castellum apud Kinardeferiam; Axholme; Axiholme; castello de Insula

In the civil parish of Owston Ferry.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of North Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Humberside.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE80510026
Latitude 53.49265° Longitude -0.78788°

Kinaird Castle, Owston Ferry has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Kinaird Castle is a good example of motte and bailey castle with known historical references. The archaeological watching brief in 1995 showed that important remains survive protected under a thick blanket of later deposits. The interiors of the baileys especially will contain additional archaeological remains, including evidence of buildings and industrial and agricultural activity, which will provide evidence for life in the Norman period. The mainly infilled moat ditches will preserve environmental information as well as evidence of the refortification and slighting of the castle in 1173-74. The castle, built to control a crossing point on the Trent, will also preserve evidence of medieval trading activity.
The monument includes part of the buried and earthwork remains of a Norman earthwork castle located at the west end of Owston Ferry. The settlement of Owston Ferry pre-dates the Norman Conquest. There is no mention of a castle in the Domesday Book which records that the manor of Owston Ferry was owned by Geoffrey de La Guerche. The castle is thought to have been constructed shortly after the Domesday Book was compiled, in the late 1080s, to control the traffic between Lindsey and the Isle of Axholme across the River Trent. However, records suggest that it was partially dismantled in 1095, in one of the years when William Rufus faced a revolt in support of his brother's claim to the throne. In 1173-74 the castle was re-fortified by Roger de Mowbray in rebellion against Henry II, but surrendered to royal forces under the command of the king's son Geoffrey Plantagenet, the bishop-elect of Lincoln in 1174. The castle, along with other castles belonging to the Mowbrays, was then slighted to make it undefendable. In the following century the church of St Martin's was constructed within the bailey to the north of the motte. Kinaird Castle is thought to have originally included a motte surrounded by a moat ditch. To the north there were two baileys, the whole surrounded by a bank and second external moat ditch. The motte is a conical mound 60m-70m in diameter at the base, standing over 5m high from the bottom of the encircling moat ditch. The top is a circular, level platform about 10m in diameter and would have been the site of a tower, typically built of timber. The surrounding inner moat ditch is on average 15m wide. On the north west side it is infilled and lies beneath part of St Martin's Church and the original churchyard. To the north of the motte there is a pair of baileys divided by a marked break of slope that runs due north of the motte from the north side of the original churchyard, with the modern ground surface of the eastern bailey being approximately 1m below that of the western one. The eastern bailey contains St Martin's Church and the churchyard which is divided into three main areas. The original churchyard lies immediately around the church and its ground surface now stands around 1m higher than the general lay of the land. A later extension to the churchyard lies to the north, bound by the road, and the most recent part, which is still actively receiving burials, lies to the west. The eastern bailey now contains three houses with outbuildings and gardens. Archaeological investigation in the north east of this bailey in May 1995 showed that the remains of a sequence of two timber palisades on the external bank survive buried under up to 1m of later deposits. From the south side of both baileys, broad banks up to 2m high extend to encircle the southern side of the motte and inner moat. These banks do not join, but are divided from one another by a hollow due south of the motte. The external moat around the castle is believed to have been filled in when the castle was slighted in 1174. A slight depression marking its course can be seen in the field to the east of the motte; the bank to its west also shows as a clear soil and crop mark. The northern part of its circuit co-coincides with the curving course of Church Street, which along this part is slightly sunken. On the west side of the church, its course is continued by a trackway running southwards and then by a footpath around the south western side. (Scheduling Report)

The buried and earthwork remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle located at the west end of Owston Ferry. The castle is thought to have been constructed in the late 1080s, to control traffic between Lindsey and the Isle of Axholme across the River Trent. Records suggest that it was partially demolished in 1095, in one of the years when William Rufus faced a revolt in support of his brother's claim to the throne. In 1173-74 the castle was re-fortified by Roger de Mowbray in rebellion against Henry II, but surrendered to royal forces under the command of the king's son, Geoffrey Plantagenet, in 1174. The castle was then slighted to make it undefendable. The castle is thought to have originally included a motte surrounded by a moat ditch. To the north west were two baileys, the whole surrounded by a bank and second external moat ditch. The top is a circular, level platform which would have been the site of a tower. To the north of the motte there is a pair of baileys divided by a marked break of slope running due north. The eastern bailey contains St Martin's Church and the churchyard. Archaeological excavation in the north east of this bailey in May 1995 showed that the remains of a sequence of two timber palisades on the external bank survive buried under up to 1 metre of later deposits. The external moat around the castle is believed to have been filled in when the castle was slighted in 1174. (PastScape)

A.D. 1174. Roger de Mowbray renounced his fealty to the old king and repaired a ruined castle in the island of Axiholme, but a large number of the Lincolnshire men crossed over in boats and laying siege to the castle, compelled the constable and all the knights to surrender: they then again reduced the fortress to ruins. (Wendover's Flowers of History)

On opposite side of village from the river Trent and ferry, which are nearly a kilometer away, so not ideal location for a pure military site and must be primarily a manorial administrative centre, although would still have some value as a policing station. In the rapidly developing situation of revolts expedient military choices have to be made and fortifying an existing defensible site is clearly a more rapid solution than building a new defensive site in a more ideal location.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
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This record last updated on Saturday, July 26, 2014

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