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 

Holmesfield Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Holmesfield.
In the historic county of Derbyshire.
Modern Authority of Derbyshire.
1974 county of Derbyshire.
Medieval County of Derbyshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK31897764
Latitude 53.29484° Longitude -1.52295°

Holmesfield Castle Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


An artificial mound known as Castle Hill, just to the back of the village school, Holmesfield, seems to have been a small example of a ditch-encircled mount, without a bailey "Castle Hill" - Scheduled. This castle mound has been partially destroyed on the S.E. by building. The top of the mound is 18.0m in diameter, and the centre is slightly sunken, but there is no trace of a building. The surrounding ditch now only remains on the northern side - greatest width 15.0m, depth 1.2m below land level and 3.2m below mound (F1 JHO 12-DEC-52) (Derbyshire HER)

The monument at Holmesfield is a reasonably well-preserved example of a small motte and bailey castle which retains substantial areas of intact archaeological remains. The site is also of interest for the evidence it provides of the development of the medieval manor at Holmesfield through its relationship with the later medieval moated site and the post-medieval manor house which now survives as Hall Farm.
The monument is a medieval motte and bailey castle and includes the motte or castle mound, the defensive ditch round the base of the motte on the north side and the bailey on the south and west sides. A small part of the motte has been disturbed by the construction of Castle Bank Cottage. This area is therefore not included in the scheduling. The part of the bailey which originally extended eastward into the area now occupied by the parish church hall of St Swithin and the landscaped garden south of Castle Bank Cottage is also not included in the scheduling because although archaeological remains are likely to survive here, their extent and state of preservation is not sufficiently understood for them to be included as part of the scheduling. The motte is a 3m high flat-topped mound measuring c.30m across the summit. Its appearance indicates that it was the site of a shell keep; a type of castle keep in which timber buildings were arranged round the inside of a circular wall or palisade. To the north the motte is defended by a 15m wide ditch with a current depth of c.2m. On the west side, the ditch terminates on the edge of the bailey and it is believed that the same arrangement existed on the east side where the modern church hall now overlies the remains. The bailey originally extended in an arc round the south side of the motte. It occupies a level area defined by a steep scarp and would have been enclosed by a timber palisade constructed along the top of the scarp. The buried remains of a variety of domestic and ancillary buildings will survive within the bailey and will include the lord's hall and other living accommodation, kitchens, workshops, stables and pens for stock and horses. The castle was the centre of a medieval manor and was probably abandoned by its owners or tenants in favour of the later medieval moated site 400m to the north-east. (Scheduling Report)

Castle Hill at Holmesfield, possibly built by Roger Deincourt (younger son of Walter Deincourt the Domesday tenant-in-chief), may be of this period {the Anarchy}. (Turbutt)

Turbett association of the site with the Anarchy is probably part of received wisdom rather than anything based on real evidence. The use of the term 'shell keep' in the scheduling report is ambiguous; this is usually (exclusively) used to refer to a masonry wall although the report seems to be suggesting a timber pallisade. The location next to the church may well suggest a site dating back to pre-Conquest times, although the motte is likely to be late C11 or C12 date.
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 15/08/2017 15:56:47

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