Groby Castle Hill
Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle
There are earthwork remains
|Name||Groby Castle Hill
|Alternative Names||Tourhull; Grobi
Medieval motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork. The Castle was built in the late C11 by Hugh de Grantmesnil and was destroyed in 1172. Excavations in 1962-3 showed the motte was built around an existing stone structure of function, possibly a tower. Fishponds to north destroyed by road by-pass. The oval castle motte is 5 to 6m high with a flattish top and measures 38m east to west and 25m north to south. To the east is a flat bailey area extending for 20m and enclosed by a ditch surviving for a length of 35m and 15m wide and 2m deep. On its outer east side it has a slight bank 1m high. (PastScape)
Norman Castle (built c.1086) with a possible Saxon manorial precursor. The castle was apparently destroyed by order of Henry II in 1176 and seems to have been replaced by a more impressive castle before a manorial complex developed to the south in the C13th.
The site is essentially a Norman castle that remained an important manorial complex throughout the medieval period.
The motte survives behind Groby Old Hall next to the A50 bypass. It is c.30m across and 7m high. Little survives of the bailey but a map of 1757 shows an elogated oval enclosing the motte and an area to the west. The motte has a gazebo on it.
The building of the castle is said to have been by Hugh de Grantemesnil and it was destroyed by order of Henry II in 1176. Ditches were filled with earth by Thomas, 2nd Marquis of Dorset, intending to make a herbere out of it. Nichols also mentions 'a very antient stone wall' some 10-15 yards long c.100yds above the site of the keep.
In 1962/3 excavation took place in advance of the bypass. The bailey ditch was rock-cut and very deep. The motte had been built around a stone building 20' by 16', with walls standing at least 6'-7' high. This tower, predating the medieval castle may be an Anglo-Saxon tower, perhaps representing a late Saxon manorial precursor to the castle site
The material (including pottery) is in the HBMC stores and the excavation is unpublished (Creighton 1997).
Following a survey in 1984 Groby Castle was described as, "a kidney-shaped mound, up to 7 metres in height, which used to be surrounded on its north and east sides by a semi-circular section of bank flanked by inner and outer ditches" (Hartley 2008).
Geophysical survey work was carried out by the Time Team in 2010. The three sides of the keep were well defined. The northern side had been quarried away. Breaks in the response were thought to relate to the stairs and a doorway recorded during the 1960s excavation. There appeared to be revetment stones and a possible structure extending to the south of the keep (Adcock and Wood 2011).
Trial trenching by the Time Team, following the geophysical survey, did not find any evidence for Saxon activity on site. It was thought that the keep was built in the C12th/C13th following the demise of the first castle. Two trenches were opened up on the motte; they recorded the stone keep, built directly onto the bedrock, wth the motte built up around it. A large outer wall was constructed around the keep. There was no evidence for the destruction of the castle - the northern wall of the keep was quarried away during the post-medieval period. (Also, there are C18th images showing a building still standing.) A trench across the bailey, to the east, recorded banks and an outer ditch. The ditch appeared to have been backfilled in the late C15th/C16th, presumably so that a garden could be laid out for the newly built Groby Old Hall (Wessex Archaeology 2011).
A watching brief undertaken in 2011 to the east of the site, adjacent to the farmyard but within the Scheduled Monument, noted a demolition layer dating to the 19th or early 20th Century. This layer became softer and noticeably sank towards the eastern part of the stripped area, coinciding with the alignment of the castle ditch and confirming the ditch continued into the proposed development area (Richards 2011). (Leicestershire and Rutland HER)
This site is a scheduled monument protected by law
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
|OS Map Grid Reference||SK523076