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Laughton en le Morthen Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;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

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

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.

Description

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)

A fine Saxon doorway remains in the adjacent church.
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
  • Books
    • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 241-2
      Hey, David, 2003, Medieval South Yorkshire (Landmark Publishing) p. 73
      Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 57
      Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 20
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 305
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 520-21
      Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 87-107
      Hey, David, 1979, The Making of South Yorkshire p. 40
      Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 128
      Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 32-3
      Armitage, Ella S., 1905, A key to English antiquites with special reference to the Sheffield and Rotherham district (London: J.M. Dent and Co) p. 55-6 online copy
      Smith, Wm. (ed), 1881, Old Yorkshire p. 6-8
      Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 24 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Creighton, O.H., 2004, ''The Rich Man in his Castle, The Poor Man at His Gate': Castle Baileys and Settlement Patterns in Norman England' Château Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 25-36
      Birch, J., 1981, 'The castles and fortified houses of South Yorkshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 374-6
      Birch, J., 1980, 'Castle Yard or Thurcroft Castle Hill, Laughton-en-le-Morthen' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 429-30
      Addy, S.O., 1914-18, 'Some Defensive Earthworks in the neighbourhood of Sheffield' Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 357-9
      Chalkley Gould, I., 1904, 'Some early defensive earthworks of the Sheffield district' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 10 p. 29-42 esp. 36-8 online copy
      Gould, I.C., 1901, 'Early Defensive Earthworks' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 7 p. 15-38 esp. 33 online copy
      Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 215 online copy
      Stacye, J., 1874, 'Laughton en-le-Mothen (or Morthing)' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 30 p. 397-408 online copy
      Hills, G.M., 1874, 'Examples of ancient earthworks' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 30 p. 406-13 online copy
      Clark, G.T., 1874, The Builder Vol. 32 p. 585-6
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
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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, November 15, 2014

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