Bourne Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameBourne Castle
Alternative NamesBrune; Brun; Brunne
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishBourne

Medieval motte and double bailey castle, traces of the enclosed mound and inner and outer moats are all that now survive. The Norman castle built by Baldwin FitzGilbert was reputed to stand on the same site as the Saxon Manor which was the home of Hereward the Wake. This was destroyed after being used by Cromwell's troops in 1645 and a farmhouse was built on the site.

This castle lying in low easily flooded country is in reality a large moated site. There are two enclosures both rectangular in shape; the easterly one has been almost flattened by cultivation but there is the remains of a motte on the south side. The western enclosure is a pure rectangle and the banks on its west side are 15-20 feet in height. An interesting type of earthwork; reputed to be pre-Norman but there is no evidence of this on the ground. Size consists of two roughly rectangular enclosures separated by a circular pond. The westerly one is the better preserved with an impressive bank standing 5-6m high and c12-15m across on the west side. On the south the bank is lower and there is a gap of c15m. Beyond there is to the south a further bank visible at the field edge. The area between these two is very marshy. The east bank is also lower and has very marshy ground beyond it towards the pond. The north side is fairly level and obviously affected by footpath. Eastern earthwork has been affected by cultivation. Some banks visible standing to 1m high on the west side. Towards the east edge is an irregularly shaped mound with a fairly level top and fairly vertical sides. The site is in good condition with fairly short grass and only a little erosion was noted on the banks. Although landscaping for the park has removed or hidden some of the monument's features, the main details can still be clearly seen. There is an irregularly shaped motte 1.2-2.7m high with traces of a surrounding ditch. Beyond this to the north are traces of fishponds

An outer bailey to the west is partly hidden by a large pond but the surrounding banks can be traced for much of the way. Bourne was held by Morcar, Earl of the Northumbrians, and in 1086 by the Norman Oger. (Lincolnshire HER referencing schedulings records and OS report)

During a watching brief at Bourne Castle a number of medieval features were recorded. Four medieval walls, a possible rampart, a moat and a second possible moat or pond were discovered. Pottery sherds dating from 10th-12th century through to 16th-17th centuries were all recovered together with some medieval but mainly post medieval tile and other post medieval building materials. The walls are located in the north-east corner of the bailey suggesting that there was an open space, possible a courtyard in the centre. The deposits recorded during this watching brief seem to indicate widespread demolition of the castle, tentatively dated to the 16th-17th centuries. (Lincolnshire HER referencing 2002 Archaeological Project Services reports)

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 ReferenceTF094199
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Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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  • Moore, John, 1809, Collections for a Topographical, Historical and Descriptive Account of the Hundred of Aveland online copy


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 289
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 25 online copy


  • Speight, Sarah, 2008, ''Castles as Past Culture: Living with Castles in the Post-Medieval World' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 23 p. 385-94
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 311
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Primary Sources

  • Pipe Rolls 1179-81 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 430 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 289


  • David Charles Hibbitt, 2006, Bourne Castle Bourne, Lincolnshire. County Monument LI 95. Geophysical Survey. DCH/BC001
  • Archaeological Project Services, 2002, Bourne Castle, Bourne. LCNCC:2001.267
  • Paul Cope-Faulkner, 2002, Archaeological Watching Brief During Pipeline Trenching at Bourne Castle, Bourne, Lincolnshire (BCD 01) (Archaeological Project Services Report No. 85/02)
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 233-4, 428-9 online copy