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Sibbertoft Castle Yard

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Fox Hill

In the civil parish of Sibbertoft.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP69038317
Latitude 52.44270° Longitude -0.98529°

Sibbertoft Castle Yard has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Sibbertoft is a good example of a small motte and bailey castle which is situated in an isolated position and is unusually remote from any known medieval settlement. The earthworks of the site are largely undisturbed.
The motte and bailey castle at Sibbertoft, known as Castle Yard, is situated 800m to the south of Marston Lodge farm and south of the dense woodland of Marston and Sibbertoft woods. Sibbertoft motte and bailey is located on the north spur of a natural hilltop, and the round flat topped mound of the motte stands approximately 3m above this hill. On its southern side the motte is bounded by a ditch 2.5m deep and 6m wide and on the northern side there is narrow ledge with a slight outer bank about 0.25m high. Within the area of the top of the motte slight depressions indicate the location of former buildings. The bailey lies to the south and south east of the motte and covers an area about 100m x 50m. A ditch 1m deep surrounds the bailey on the southern side and there is a slight inner bank 0.5m high on the south, west and east sides of the bailey. This motte and bailey is considered to have been constructed in the late 11th century or early 12th century. (Scheduling Report)

Motte and bailey (SP 609831; Fig. 130), known as Castle Yard, lies on the end of a N.-projecting spur, between two streams cut deeply into the Middle Lias clays and silts, at about 155m. above OD. It is in a position of considerable tactical strength, commanding the assumed ancient trackways through the valley below. Nothing is known of its history, though it perhaps dates from between the late 11th and the mid 12th century. Its situation is surprisingly remote from any known medieval settlement.
The motte, standing on the edge of the spur, is roughly circular and rises some 2 m. above the ground to the S. The summit slopes slightly up to the N. and at its N. end stands the foundations of a modern structure. The motte is bounded on the S. by a broad ditch up to 2.5 m. deep and on the N. by a narrow ledge, with traces of an outer bank only 0.25 m. high above the precipitous natural slope.
The bailey is set on the flat ground to the S. of the motte; it is bounded on the S. by a broad ditch, up to 1 m. deep from the outside, with a flat-topped inner bank up to 0.5 m. high. At each end the ditch runs down to the natural valley side, but the bank returns to meet the ditch of the motte. Below this the ledge which encircles the N. side of the motte continues some 3 m. below the bank.
Beyond the bailey ditch to the S. is a block of very flat ridge-and-furrow which seems to have ended on the line of the present hedge. No finds have been made on the site (VCH Northants., II (1906), 411–2; plan of 1884, Dryden Collection, Central Library, Northampton). (RCHME)

As said by the RCHME the site is isolated. Gatehouse is unable to suggest an association with an Domesday manor. Whilst the site is tactically strong it is strategically worthless. It is within Rockingham Forest and there are park names in the area. Sibbertoft is one of 26 places in the Domesday Hundred of Stotfold which seems to be two distinct area north and south of Northampton (It may be two hundreds with the same name). There is no Stotford place-name, although it maybe the hundred took its name from Water Stratford, Buckinghamshire, in the southern group. Was this site the original moot meeting place for the northern group of places in this hundred and the castle a Norman imposition onto Saxon local government? There was a mound called Moot Hill slightly to the south.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:03

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