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Moulton Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Moulton.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP78606715
Latitude 52.29686° Longitude -0.84885°

Moulton Castle Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


Manor House Site (?) (SP 78606715), 1 km. N.E. of the church on the N. side of a valley, on clay at 114 m. above OD. The area is traditionally known as Castle Hill and is said to be the site of the manor house of the Fitz John family who are known to have held land in Moulton in the 13th century (VCH Northants., IV (1937), 88–90). Bridges writing in c. 1720, said that foundations of buildings had been dug up and that there were traces of a moat (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 419).
The remains lie on a small, natural, almost circular knoll. On air photographs taken in 1946 (RAF VAP 3G/TUD/UK 118, 6224–5) most of the knoll was already under cultivation and only a wedge-shaped area of land remained intact. Within this, standing on the summit, was a V-shaped bank with its apex to the N., with a large depression or pit to the S. and what appear to have been rectangular platforms below it. These have been totally destroyed by modern ploughing and only the depression, 25 m.–30 m. across and up to 2 m. deep, survives. The surrounding area is very stony and there are patches of dark earth. A few sherds of medieval pottery have been discovered there. (RCHME)

There were several holdings in Moulton in 1086. This may have been the manor house of one of the secondary holdings, possibly one that became surplus when some of the holdings were combined later in the middle ages. It is, therefore, possible there was a small castle here perhaps one that was basically a large farmhouse using a natural knoll as a symbolic motte representing the status of a tenant. Intriguingly one of the Domesday tenants of 1086 was a William the artificer (or William the Engineer; William Engaine) who held 8 manors in Northamptonshire and who must have been a valued military engineer although it should not be assumed this was his holding or that the building on the natural knoll dates from the C11.
Not to be confused with Moulton King's Hall, Lincolnshire which is, sometimes, called Moulton Castle.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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