Skellow, Cromwells Batteries

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameSkellow, Cromwells Batteries
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityDoncaster
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishAdwick Le Street

Mutilated earthwork, possible motte and bailey, or a ringwork and bailey (King 1983)

Some old batteries said traditonally to have been used by Oliver Cromwell during the destruction of Hampole Old Hall (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference ONB 1904 19).

The remains of earthworks centred at SE 52381040 have been resurveyed at 1:2500. No further information was obtained from local sources apart from the continuance of the tradition mentioned in ONB. The remains are indicative of an oval or rectangular earthwork with a single bank of some strength. Only a short length survives, the remainder having been destroyed by modern development. Though its size and plan suggest a form of ring-motte, it has some similarities with a known Civil War Battery at Cornbury, Oxfordshire. (F1 RL 10-NOV-64).

A medieval motte/ post medieval battery is visible as an earthwork on air photographs at SE 5299 1043.

The motte measures 26m by 19m. None of the other features mentioned above was identified on the air photographs available to the project. (PastScape)

Motte, c.5m high, surrounded by a ditch with sections of a bailey and rampart surviving to north and west. By and large, the bailey is lost under the road (Cross Hill), but small areas survive relatively undisturbed in private gardens and adjacent land. The motte, which is the best defined of the surviving features, lies in the grounds of Skellow Old Hall. A ditch coming through the west boundary of the hall grounds, close to the motte, is interpreted as an inlet or outlet channel for the ditch. Immediately to the west of the motte, areas of the bailey survive in the gardens of Cromwell's Croft and The Cottage, and sections of the rampart can be seen along the boundary between Cromwell's Croft and Edgehill. The most substantial section of bailey and rampart lies to the north of the road, where the latter stands to a height of c.3m

This section would originally have curved round to the west and south to link with the section south of the road. Some modification of these remains is thought to have occurred during the Civil War, giving rise to the tradition that they were gun emplacements and the local name, Cromwell's Batteries. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

In medieval village of Skellow, by Skellow Old Hall. Area much redeveloped. Could be possible castle earthwork, possibly reused as Civil War battery.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE529104
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Hey, David, 2003, Medieval South Yorkshire (Landmark Publishing) p. 75
  • Sneyd, Steve, 1995, The Devil's Logbook Castles and Fortified Sites around South Yorkshire (Hilltop Press) p. 16
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 532 (possible)
  • Hey, D., 1979, The Making of South Yorkshire (Ashbourne: Moorland) p. 44
  • Magilton, J.R., 1977, The Doncaster District: An Archaeological Survey (Doncaster) p. 25


  • Birch, J., 1981, 'The castles and fortified houses of South Yorkshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 374-6
  • O'Neil, B.H.St.J., 1945, 'A Civil War Battery at Cornbury, Oxfordshire' Oxoniensia Vol. 10 p. 73-8 online copy


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 720 online copy