The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Laughton en le Morthen Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Thurcroft Castle Hill; Castle Yard; Hallyard

In the civil parish of Thurcroft.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Rotherham.
1974 county of South Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK51628821
Latitude 53.38822° Longitude -1.22530°

Laughton en le Morthen Castle Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Castle Hill, Laughton en le Morthen, is a very well-preserved example of a conventional motte and bailey castle, consisting of a motte, c.9m high, with a kidney-shaped inner bailey to the north east, measuring c.50m x 20m. The bailey is surrounded by a substantial rampart with an outer ditch encircling the earthworks on the north, west and south. An outer bailey lay to the north and east under what is now the churchyard of the fourteenth century parish church of All Saints and part of its rampart can be seen as an earth bank running east-west immediately north of the church. These remains of the outer bailey have been disturbed by the use of the churchyard for burial, and, as the graveyard remains in active use, are not included in this scheduling. According to the Domesday Book, Laughton was the location of the hall of Earl Edwin of Mercia who was brother-in-law to King Harold Godwinson. It is thought that the site of the Saxon hall underlies the Norman earthworks since the church itself, adjacent to the site, lies on a Saxon foundation. After the Conquest, the manor was granted to Roger de Busli, who built the Norman castle, as part of the Honour of Tickhill. (Scheduling Report)

"The mound, measured in the bottom of the surrounding ditch, is 370 feet in circumference", and the ditch itself is 5 feet deep. "The truncated top of the mound is flat and measures 27 feet from east to west and 30 feet from north to south". The bailey is surrounded by a bank and ditch, the latter being of the same size as that surrounding the motte. There is no trace of an entrance or entrance causeway, but a gap on the east side is rather bigger than other gaps in the surrounding banks. "There are slight indications of earthworks on the north side of the area. No indication of the former existence of walls was apparent". (PastScape ref. Addy, 1914)

This fine, medium-sized motte-and-bailey castle is situated at the west end of this hilltop village at an altitude of 122m. It lies immediately to the south-west of the parish church and has extensive views to the north, west and south. The earthworks are surrounded by trees and bushes, but are themselves largely clear of obtrusive vegetation.
The primary feature of the site is a steep-sided mound some 9m high, 9m across its summit, and 112m around its base. The moat around this mound (dry at present) is 9m in width, and 1.5m in depth, and completely encircles it, leaving no indications as to the point of access.
The half-acre courtyard to the north-east is kidney-shaped and contained by an earth bank up to 2.5 m in height above the external ditch, which is rather weak now along the east side.
A bank leading north-north-east from this courtyard rampart may indicate the location of a former outer courtyard.
The site has not been the subject of any serious excavation and little or nothing is known of its history. The timber and earthwork motte and bailey, which may have been built on the site of Earl Edwin's Saxon hall, does not seem to have been developed in stone in the twelfth century and the castle may thus have been abandoned quite early. (Birch 1981)

A fine Saxon doorway remains in the adjacent church. Although it is assumed the castle earthworks are the work of Roger de Busli this dating is done on analogue grounds. It may be they represent a modification and enlargement of defensive entrenchments of Earl Edwins Hall. The form is now a fairly classic motte and kidney shaped bailey but, if a process similar to that which happen at Goltho, happen here it may have originally been a more rectangular enclosure.
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 > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact