Cusworth Castle Hill, Sprotbrough

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameCusworth Castle Hill, Sprotbrough
Alternative NamesSpotborough; Sprotborough
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityDoncaster
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishSprotbrough And Cusworth

Isolated motte stands in the south-west corner of Cusworth Park. Field investigations in 1964 found it to measure 16ft high, and 60ft by 70ft wide. The ditch which was about 20 ft wide had been filled in on the east. The counterscarp bank survived on the north side. Part of the circumference of the ditch surrounding the motte is visible as an earthwork on air photographs. (PastScape)

Cusworth motte castle lies in woodland adjacent the A1(M) at what was once the south-west edge of Cusworth Park. It comprises an oval motte, 20m wide west-east and 23.5m wide north-south. The motte stands c.5m above a dry ditch, c.2m deep and c.6m wide and partially filled in to the east. The castle was built in the eleventh century by either William de Warenne or Roger de Busli, both of whom were granted lands at Cusworth by William the Conqueror. In the later middle ages it was part of the Honour of Conisbrough, held by the de Warennes. In the eighteenth century, or some time earlier, the site was superseded by that of Cusworth Hall, 700m to the north-east. (Scheduling Report)

"Castle Mound' which is hidden by trees on a small plateau alongside the A1 motorway, is in fact the 'temple hill' which was constructed as a feature of Cusworth Park in 1762-3, complete with a fine slope and ha-ha" (South Yorkshire SMT ref. Hey, 1979)

Gatehouse Comments

Site is isolated now and probably in medieval times which suggests that Hey dismissal of this as an C18 landscaping feature should be given serious consideration and the scheduling record may be in need of revision. However, even if a medieval mound it will have been effected by C18 landscaping so that a bailey may have been lost. If actually an isolated medieval mound then possible a hunting viewing platform rather than a motte.

- 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 ReferenceSE541033
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 35
  • Sneyd, Steve, 1995, The Devil's Logbook Castles and Fortified Sites around South Yorkshire (Hilltop Press) p. 10
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 526
  • Hey, D., 1979, The Making of South Yorkshire (Ashbourne: Moorland) p. 45 (reject)
  • Magilton, J.R., 1977, The Doncaster District: An Archaeological Survey (Doncaster) p. 29-30
  • Smith, G., 1964, Cusworth Hall Grounds
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield)
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 23


  • Birch, J., 1981, 'The castles and fortified houses of South Yorkshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 374-6
  • Coates, B.E., 1963, 'The work of Richard Woods, landscape gardener, in the West Riding of Yorkshire' Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society Vol. 8 p. 297-306


  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 113 online copy
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 67, 84, 94, 123, 732-3 online copy