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Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;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

In the civil parish of Castleford.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Wakefield.
1974 county of West Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE427255
Latitude 53.72457° Longitude -1.35308°

Castleford has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Nothing known of possible castle mentioned by Leland in very dubious terms. (King 1983)

Next to the churchyard I was shown a garden in which many curious building foundations have been discovered. My informant said that it was the site of a castle, but I think rather that it had been some manor house. (Leland from Chandler 1993)

Antiquarians of 16th-18th centuries usually attributed all ancient remains in Castleford to the Romans. John Leland and William Stukely were less certain though and thought some of the earthworks and 'ancient enclosures' to the west and south of the church in particular, might be later. They considered that these might have been associated with a castle or, as Leland put, 'some Manor Place'. Parts of these areas were occupied by the Roman vicus, but only limited medieval activity has been recorded through excavation.
The notion of lost earthworks representing a medieval castles or manor house is strengthened by a documentary reference made between 1129-1140, which records a grant made to St John's Priory by William Foliot (a local baron), of a carucate of land 'that lay before the castle at Castleford'. This possibility of a castle site to south of the church is given support by some 18th century maps. Thomas Jefferys' map of 1775 records Castle Hill as a detached rectangular enclosure to the south of the village, in Bean Croft Field. In roughly the same place the 1752 map shows a distinct, almost square, area between the fields called Bean Croft and Bean Roods which avoided the plough strips belonging to William Sagar. The arrangement of plough strips, not shown on the more comprehensive 1812 map, may be coincidental, or just reflect the fact that Sagar did not own this land. However, it is possible that this land was not suitable for ploughing, due to the survival of upstanding earthworks. It is conceivable that the adjancent Round Hill Field was so named because it was next to such earthworks, perhaps reflecting a former motte, as at Fairies' Hill at Whitwood, or even a ringwork, similar to one preserved at Kippax.
More evidence was provided by the local historian, Samuel Johnson. In the 1820s he recalled seeing a moat and a few scattered stones in Bean Croft Field, but could not find the place again 40 years later. Johnson recorded that, even then, it was a local tradition that these lost remains were the site of a medieval castle. The truth may never be known as this area of the the town has been heavily disturbed by the railway station, but a medieval fortification or manor here is not out of the question; indeed, from parallels elsewhere, it is roughly where one might expect it. Perhaps significantly, a copper alloy gilt brooch, of 10th-12th century date, and a spindlewhorl, dating to between 1200-1485, have been found in this part of the town. (Roberts 2012)

Despite Roberts comment about the site being 'roughly where one might expect it' the given site is in the middle of a field. It is close too but not adjacent to the church nor at the other end of the medieval settlement. The fact that the site could be ploughed out before the introduction of mechanical ploughing does suggest the earthworks were not particularly large but this need not exclude a Whitwood sized motte, Kippax sized ringwork or, perhaps more probably, a small square moat.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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