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Somerton Castle, Lincolnshire

In the civil parish of Boothby Graffoe.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Lincolnshire.
Medieval County of Lincolnshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK95405875
Latitude 53.11752° Longitude -0.57555°

Somerton Castle, Lincolnshire has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, received a licence to crenellate in 1281 from Edward I. The castle was built in the most up-to-date style of the time, that of the Welsh castles. It is quadrangular, with circular towers at the angles, curtain walls, and surrounded by a moat. The size was 330 by 180ft. In 1309 Antony Bek gave a gift of Somerton Manor to Edward II, himself having received it from his mother, Eva De Grey, 30 years earlier. Some repairs were carried out in 1323-26, but when the castle was surveyed on the accession of Edward III the buildings were in a poor condition. In 1328 the castle was granted to John De Roos for life for a rent of £10 per annum, but 6 years later the King took it back and granted the constableship of Somerton to John Crabbe, a position he held until his death in 1351-52. King John I of France was confined here after being taken prisoner at Poitiers in 1356. Of the original building only the south east tower with three storeys and a conical roof, and the ground floors of the north east and north west towers. The north west tower was mostly demolished in 1849, but the remains of all four circular towers were described in 1856. In 1601 the castle is recorded as being almost completely ruinous, except for the south eastern tower which stood almost to full height. Attached to the south eastern tower is the south front, extended by a wing built in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century by the Disney family. More curtain wall is thought to survive attached to the south western tower. The L-shaped wing was built in about 1660. The castle seems to have been Crown property until the Victorian period. It is suggested that the moated site to the south of castle was a walled 'grange' mentioned in a survey of 1279, pre-dating the castle, belonging to the De Grey manor. It is also suggested that it was where the Lord's dues were stored, including crops, foodstuffs and livestock. (Lincolshire HER)

Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, received a licence to crenellate this castle in 1281. Of the original building the following parts remain:-
The SE tower with 3 storeys and a conical roof, and the ground floors of the N.E. and S.W. towers. Attached to the SE tower is the south front extended by an Elizabethan wing before 1595, part of which may be the original curtain wall. More curtain wall is attached to the SW tower base.
King John I of France was confined here after being taken prisoner at Poitiers in 1356.
The castle, which is double moated, remained Crown property till Victorian times.
Scheduled. RB potsherds were found 5 ft down when an inspection pit was dug at SK 95395876 in 1958. (Pevsner; Blagg 1933; Scheduling notice)
Medieval earthworks associated with Somerton Castle were mapped from good quality air photographs. The main feature is a huge ditch (40m wide) and bank running around three sides of a raised platform (at SK 9541 5871) upon which part of the castle may have stood. At the southern edge of this platform is a small pond 36m by 8m. To the north of the present farm are three sides of a long moat, centred at SK 9544 5892. In close proximity to this moat and probably associated with it are three small ponds, ranging in length from 30m to 52m. There are three mounds located near the castle earthworks, two to the east at SK 9554 5883, SK 9553 5880 and one to the west at SK 9535 5890. They are roughly circular, 10m in diameter and of unknown function. To the east of the main earthworks, at SK 9561 5864, is a pond which appears to be of the same type of construction as parts of the castle earthworks.
Immediately south of the main large ditch and bank is a complete, roughly square moat, 80m by 70m, centred at SK 9533 5856 also assumed to be Medieval in date. (Morph Nos. LI.878.1.1 - 1.7) This description is based on data from the RCHME MORPH2 database. (Antonia Kershaw/05-AUG-1996/RCHME: Lincolnshire NMP)
Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, had inheritted Somerton Castle from his mother, Eva de Grey, and been granted licence to crenellate it in 1281. In 1309 he granted the castle to Edward II. A survey of 1328 showed the great hall, chapel and other buildings to be delapidated, and the foundations of the ange towers undercut by the moat. In 1372, the stables in the outer bailey, which could hold circa 100 horses, collapsed. From 1421 it was little repaired and in 1628 was described as being long a ruin (HKW). (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1281 May 23 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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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.
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.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 11/04/2017 07:40:57

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