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Worksop Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Worksop.
In the historic county of Nottinghamshire.
Modern Authority of Nottinghamshire.
1974 county of Nottinghamshire.
Medieval County of Nottinghamshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK58307883
Latitude 53.30319° Longitude -1.12655°

Worksop 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.


Alleged medieval castle, consisting of a ditch which cuts off a promontory, upon which is a flat mound. Despite extensive research it has not been possible to confirm the site as a motte, though it could be an adulterine castle. (PastScape) There is no evidence that a Medieval Castle ever stood there, but "the earthwork, such as remains, is the work of an earlier age ...." The remains consist of a ditch which cuts off the promontory, upon which is a flat mound of almost circular plan. (Listed under promontory forts) (VCH 1906).
Included in scheduled list under 'Castles' as "Worksop, castle mound" (Ancient Monuments in England and Wales, 1936).
At Worksop on the covered Castle Hill the Lovetaftes had a castle. It is said that the stones were removed to build the "present unfinished" (16c writing) lodge at Worksop Park; but Leland is of the opinion that the castle stones went to construct the perimeter wall of the Priory.
Extensive research, both locally and nationally, revealed no confirming evidence apart from that noted by Leland, to the effect that an early castle existed in Worksop. Mr Inger is the local resident reference librarian - has also undertaken personal research over many years and has now convinced himself that the story has its origin in legend. Despite the lack of written information "Castle Hill" has every appearance of being a castle mound of impressive proportions. The feature is certainly neither natural nor a promontory fort, although, as stated above, it has been mainly engineered by cutting the neck of a promontory. The council are in the process of laying out a footpath across the ditch to a newly constructed car park, but no finds have as yet come to light. Worksop Museum hold no archaeological material from the immediate area. It is possible that the mound has an Adulterine origin and no history; it is of course also possible that the site was never completed as a whole although the line of what may have been an original bailey or court can be faintly traced through the adjacent modern building (F1 FDC 16-MAY-74). (PastScape)

There appears to be little documentary evidence relating to Worksop castle. It has generally been assumed to have been built by William de Lovetot who acquired the manor in 1103 (for example, Eddison 1854, Speight 1995); however, it is perhaps more likely to have been built by Roger de Busli in the late 11th century and then rebuilt in stone by the de Lovetots . A charter of 1154 listing grants made to the canons included the phrase infra burgum et extra. Holland (1826) considered that this referred to the castle , or its immediate jurisdiction. The present remains show how substantial the castle would have been, with a platform some 50m by 50m that must once have been a strong shell keep surrounded by a ditch. A gate-tower led from the keep into the bailey , via a drawbridge across the ditch (Speight 1995). (Stroud 2002)

Leland wrote the Castle was "deane downe and scant knowen wher it was." "The stones of the Castel" he adds, "were fetchid, as sum say, to make the fair lodge in Wyrkesoppe Parke, not yet finished :" but he observes, "I am of opinion that the Chanons had the ruins of the Castil stones to make the closure of their large waulles."

The reason this site, with a castle name, good earthwork remains of not untypical castle form and antiquarian record of stonework was dismissed as a castle site by Stevenson and some later authors is somewhat unclear. King accepted it as a certain castle in 1983. Speight regards this as a certain castle of early C12 date, a strong ringwork, built by William de Lovetot, which had a long life. More recent excavation and investigation show this was certainly a medieval castle probably with a masonry shell keep. An informative lesson in the effect personal bias can have on site interpretation. The PastScape record, particularly the summery description, should be rewritten to reflect modern scholarship and to downplay the dated opinion of Stevenson.
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:51

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