Brierley Hallsteads

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameBrierley Hallsteads
Alternative NamesHall Steads; Grimethorpe; Willow Garth; Brereley
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityBarnsley
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishBrierley

Remains of medieval moated site, still visible as an earthwork. The hillside within the moat has been scarped to create a roughly circular inner enclosure. This once carried a stone wall, described as having been 4 or 5ft thick. A line of fishponds run eastwards from the northern arm of the moat. A manor house is known to have stood on this site, but no upstanding building remains survive. King rejects writing 'Tends to be accepted as M&B. In fact the site of manor house is a natural hillock with only slight signs of artificial earthworks'. This may be the site of the house for which a licence to crenellate was granted in 1479 (PastScape)

Hallsteads is an unusual site consisting of a flat-topped rise between two narrow valleys. A dam built to the west of the rise, across the confluence of the valleys, has created a moat to north and south while a bank and ditch encloses the site to the east. Within the enclosure, c.120m across, the hillside has been scarped to provide a roughly circular inner enclosure. In the past this carried a stone wall, the remains of which have been located during ploughing and stone from which litters the northern arm of the moat. Writing in 1831, Hunter states "there were lately those who remembered walls of four or five feet in height, and as much in thickness" indicating that a substantial stone-built building once inhabited the summit. In addition, running eastward off the north arm of the moat for c.150m is a line of three or four linear fishponds, divided by dams and created by embanking the natural stream line. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Licence granted to John Harrington but see also Brierley manor house which may have some structures dating back to about this date.

- 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 ReferenceSE420093
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  • Hey, David, 2003, Medieval South Yorkshire (Landmark Publishing) p. 80
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 422
  • Sneyd, Steve, 1995, The Devil's Logbook Castles and Fortified Sites around South Yorkshire (Hilltop Press) p. 11
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 533 (reject as motte and bailey)
  • Watson, M.R. and Harrison, M., 1976, Brereley A History of Brierley p. 2-5 view online edition
  • Hunter, J., 1828, South Yorkshire. The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster in the Diocese and County of York Vol. 1 p. 435


  • Birch, J., 1981, 'The castles and fortified houses of South Yorkshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 374-6

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III (1476-85) p. 151 online copy


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 724 online copy