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Rothwell Castle

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SE34222827
Latitude 53.74969° Longitude -1.48254°

Rothwell Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A small castle or fortified manor house built by Ilbert de Lacy (11th century). Fragments of walling remain (Batty: Pevsner). Only a weathered and irregular column of rubble masonry, apparently the remains of a newel stairway, survive. A large amount of building debris is visible in the ploughed land surrounding it but no ground plan can be deduced. These are no earthworks associated with the structure (Field Investigators Comments–F1 RL 21-NOV-63). There was a substantial stone-built, manor-house at Rothwell in 1341, which served as the principle administrative centre for the northern half of the honour of Pontefract, but this was recorded as ruinous in 1485. In 1487 it was leased by Henry VII to Roger Hopton on condition that he erect a hall and parlour with chamber and kitchen; a single bay of this later, timber-framed house was dismantled by West Yorks County Arch. Unit in 1977 (Faull and Moorhouse). (PastScape)

Hunting lodge of honour of Pontefract. Used by King John in 1212 and Edward II in 1319 and 1323. Probably built on site of 'hall' of Harold, an Anglo-Scandinavian thegn. The Rothwell and District Historical Society states a small motte was constructed here, which is entirely possibly, but it is not clear what their evidence is for this suggestion. There is a tendency for some authors to think all Norman castles had mottes although at least a quarter did not. King made no reference to such a structure and only considered this a possible castle site (generally King's 'possible' is closer to the Gatehouse 'doubtful' category). Certainly a C13/C14 fortified manor house, likely to be a C11/C12 timber castle.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:48

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