Thorngate, Lincoln

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle

There are no visible remains

NameThorngate, Lincoln
Alternative NamesTornegat
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishLincoln

The mysterious "castellum ... de Tornegat" occurs just twice in documents; once certainly in a document of 1141 (ed. Foster 1931, 61, RA99) and then, perhaps, in a document of 1151 (Ibid., 287-9). Foster thought that it was located just outside the south-east corner of the lower city, but Sir Francis Hill made a case that the site was represented by the later Manor House of the Kyme family, Kyme Hall (Hill 1948, 159-60). Professor Cameron prefers to locate Kyme Hall in Hungate, thereby distinguishing it from Thorngate Castle (1985, 150). Dr Vince makes a third proposal (chapter 9a), that the castle might have been on the actual island of Thorngate in the River Witham. Without further excavation, it is hard to see how this issue will be progressed. The date and fleeting references to the castle suggested to Foster that it was a castle of the Anarchy period, but it is not impossible that it was a foundation of more substance, and should be considered similar to establishments like Mountfitchet and Baynard Castles in London (Watson 1992). That is to say it could have been a private castle held by a major noble who was not part of the official power structure in the county. In this case Foster shows that it would have been the holding of the Condet family (ed. Foster 1931, 282-95). These observations merely emphasise what an interesting structure this castle would be, if it could be located. Thorngate Castle is an important component of the townscape which needs to be located and investigated as a matter of urgency. (Heritage Connect Lincoln website accessed 22/7/2013)

Gatehouse Comments

The castellum de Tornegat described by King as a second castle close to or, more likely, on the SE corner of city wall of Lincoln. Mentioned about 1141 and 1151 when demolished. Hill suggested that it might be Kyme Hall, north-west of Thorn Bridge (The medieval bridge over the Witham into Lincoln). The loss of the castle and the early date might suggest this was mainly an earthwork and timber affair, although if there were stone elements, which the readily accessed Roman remains makes entirely possible, these would have been robbed out for later building in the city.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSK977711
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 30, 32
  • Vince, A., 2003, in D. Stocker (ed), The City by the Pool: Assessing the Archaeology of the City of Lincoln (Oxford: Oxbow Books) p. 186
  • 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. 265
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 322
  • Hill, F., 1948, Medieval Lincoln (Cambridge University Press) p. 159-60 Amazon preview
  • Foster, C.W., 1931, 'Appendix II Thorngate and the Condet family' Registrum Antiquissimum of Lincoln (Lincoln Record Society 27) Vol. 1 p. 277-95 esp. 282-9

Primary Sources

  • Foster, C.W. (ed), 1931, Registrum Antiquissimum of Lincoln (Lincoln Record Society 27) Vol. 1 p. 61-2, 287-9