Heydour Castle Hills

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameHeydour Castle Hills
Alternative NamesHaydour
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishHaydor

West of church are traces of the foundations of a large moated mansion or castle, supposed to have been built in the reign of Stephen by one of the Bussey Family, who were resident here until c1609. The site is a low circular motte with a bailey to south. Foundations are traceable both on the motte and outside the bailey. Two roads and ponds exist within ridge and furrow; other earthworks are amorphous. An irregular ring motte or inner enclosure, large enough to have contained main buildings, with bank highest in south-east corner and ditch. Traces of light outer bailey to south. During a watching brief from Haydor to Aisby, material from the collapsed outer earthworks of the castle was found on the south side of the site. However, in the absence of dateable material the association can only be tentative. A medieval ringwork and bailey situated on Castle Hills, occupied by a manor house in the later medieval period. In 1086, the land was held by Guy de Craon as part of his manor of Osbournby. By the beginning of the 13th century, the manor of Haydor was held by a tenant, Roger de Rudston, and in 1343 documentary sources record the presence of a manor house with outbuildings, a dovecote and a garden. By the 16th century, the manor of Haydor had descended to the Bussey family. Creasy noted in his History of Sleaford the former existence of 'an edifice of vast size. The foundations...are singularly traceable, and...the immense banks of earth...speak...of its ancient strength and glory'. (Lincolnshire HER)

The ringwork and bailey at Castle Hills survives well as a series of earthwork and buried remains. The buried building remains will preserve valuable evidence of the later layout, construction and use of the site. Waterlogging will preserve evidence of organic remains, such as seeds, leather and timber. In addition, the raised ground will preserve evidence of the land use prior to the construction of the monument

The continued use of the site over a period of 400 years will contribute to an understanding of the development of a relatively high status component of the medieval landscape. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and documentary research the monument is quite well understood.

The monument includes a medieval ringwork and bailey lying on a gentle east- facing slope known as Castle Hills, which was occupied by a manor house in the later medieval period. In 1086 the land was held by Guy de Craon, as part of his manor of Osbournby. By the beginning of the 13th century the manor of Heydour was held by a tenant, Roger de Rudston, and in 1343 documentary sources record the presence of a manor house with outbuildings, a dovecote and a garden. By the 16th century the manor of Heydour had descended to the Bussey family. The ringwork takes the form of a raised sub-circular mound, enclosed by a ditch. The mound measures approximately 60m in diameter and stands up to 2.5m above the base of the surrounding ditch. The interior of the ringwork is marked by a series of rectilinear platforms and low banks, with stonework protruding through the turf, representing buried building foundations. The building remains are believed to be associated with the later medieval occupation of the site, when a manor house and ancillary domestic buildings stood on the mound. In the 16th century Leland, the antiquarian, wrote that a member of the Bussey family 'dwelleth in an old place at Haider' indicating that the site was still occupied at this time. The ditch, measuring 8m in width and up to 1.5m deep, encloses the ringwork to the west and south; an irregular shaped water-filled pond, lying on the line of the ditch, extends around the south eastern side of the ringwork. On the north side of the mound the ditch is partly infilled and survives as a buried feature; its course, depicted on earlier maps, is visible as a shallow depression. There are now three access points to the ringwork; a broad causeway to the south provides access between the ringwork and bailey and is believed to indicate the position of an original access point, as does a narrower causeway on the western side of the ringwork. Both now serve as part of a trackway crossing the ringwork and bailey. A linear hollow providing access to the eastern side of the mound is thought to be modern in origin. The bailey, adjoining the southern side of the ringwork, is semi-circular in plan, measuring approximately 90m from east to west by 45m, and is enclosed by a bank up to 1m in height. The earthwork remains of an external ditch are visible on the south western side of the bailey; elsewhere the infilled portion of the ditch survives as a buried feature. To the north east of the ringwork lies an L-shaped bank, the only surviving part of an enclosure associated with the complex. Immediately to the north of the ringwork there are a series of channels, which supplied water to the complex, and two further building platforms. A broad, flat-based channel, now dry, lined by a low bank on the northern side, divides into two narrower channels, one leading southwards, toward the ditch around the ringwork, the other branch leading south east for a distance of approximately 80m. A rectangular, water-filled pond located at the end of the latter channel is believed to be modern in origin and is not included in the scheduling. The two irregular shaped level platforms, both measuring appoximately 40m in length and between 30m and 40m in width lie between the channels. Both platforms incorporate low earth-covered stone walls, indicating the location of building remains, thought to be service structures associated with the manor house. A further channel, depicted on earlier maps, lined the east side of the southernmost platform and fed into the ditch on the east side of the ringwork and bailey. This channel is no longer visible but will survive as a buried feature. The remains of two fishponds, located approximately 80m east of the ringwork and formerly associated with the complex, have been altered and are therefore not included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceTF007397
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 41
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 51
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 148 (slight)
  • Roffe, David, 1993, 'Castles' in Bennett, S. and Bennett, N. (eds), An Historical Atlas of Lincolnshire (University of Hull Press) p. 40-1
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 260
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1964, Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Harmondsworth) p. 572 (slight)
  • Allen, T., 1934, History of the county of Lincolnshire Vol. 2 p. 290
  • White, W., 1872, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire p. 563 online copy


  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Trollope, E., 1863, 'Haydor' in 'Notes on Sleaford, and other Churches in its vicinity' Associated Architectural and Archaeological Societies Reports and Papers Vol. 7 p. 32-33 (tenurial history) online copy


  • English Heritage, 30/07/2001, Scheduling record: Castle Hills ringwork and bailey, Haydor. SAM 33128
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 434 online copy
  • Healey, R.H. and Roffe, D., (n.d. pre 1998), Some Medieval and Later Earthworks in South Lincolnshire: The Present State of Knowledge (Unpublished Report: Lincs. SMR) p. 58-60