Castle Steads, Rowley Farm, Esh Winning

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameCastle Steads, Rowley Farm, Esh Winning
Alternative NamesCastlesteads; Lanchester; Hamsteels; Rowley Gillet
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishCornsay

Situated at about 152 m OD on a NE facing slope are the remains of a rectangular enclosure measuring about 190 m. NW/SE by 114 m. Transversely between the centres of a well formed ditch with inner and outer banks. The ditch, now mainly dry, (4 m maximum depth and 10 m average width) is of unusual construction as it is not a complete unit but is formed by four separate watertight arms. The breaks in the centre of the NW side and at the S end of the SE side are deliberate in order to form dams to retain the water. Water had drained along a natural channel to a low-lying depression at the NE corner which appears to have been utilized as a pond, strengthened by a retaining bank. The inner bank, where best preserved to the W of the entrance at (1.3 m maximum height spread to about 5 m) shows traces of walling. The outer bank of similar dimensions is predominantly earth. Although there is no ditch at there are traces of the outer bank continuing. The turf covered footings of a probably contemporary wall survive parallel to the outer bank to the SE of the entrance at. Outside the outer bank at the N end of the W side are traces of a possibly secondary bank. The entrance in the centre of the S wall at appears to have been the only one. The gently sloping, marsh, interior contains the remains of buildings, the main block at and others against the inner bank. They are now too ill-defined for accurate measurement but appear as turf-covered stony banks (1 m maximum height spread to about 3 m) with occasional facing stones. Attempts to excavate have left large robber trenches which confuse their outlines. To the N of both of these groups of buildings are the remains of contemporary wall footings. The whole area is now wooded and traces of ridge and furrow can be seen as delineated. The site is probably the remains of a fortified manor house with ancillary buildings inside a wall and protective ditch. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments F3 ISS 27-AUG-80)

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 ReferenceNZ179427
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 63 (slight)
  • Jackson, M.J., 1996, Castles of Durham and Cleveland (Carlisle) p. 74
  • Corfe, Tom (ed), 1992, 'The Visible Middle Ages' in An Historical Atlas of County Durham p. 28-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 139 (possible)
  • Steer, K.A., 1938, Archaeology of Roman Durham p. 298
  • Gould, Chalkley, 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Durham Vol. 1 (London) p. 351-2 online copy
  • Whellan, F., 1894 (2edn), History, Topography and Directory of the County of Durham p. 283-4
  • Boyle, J.R., 1892, Comprehensive Guide to the County of Durham: its Castles, Churches, and Manor-Houses (Newcastle) p. 480-1


  • Emery, N., 1999, 'The Earthworks at Rowley Farm, County Durham' Durham Archaeological Journal
  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 200