Dewy Hill

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameDewy Hill
Alternative NamesDewey Hill
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishBolingbroke

Although not well documented until the 13th century, it has always been assumed that there had been a castle at Bolingbroke since the 12th century. Excavations on the castle site therefore prompted the thought that the site of the castle had been moved. There is an earthwork, 120 yards long and 80 yards broad, on Dewy Hill. 500 yards north of the present castle. In October 1965 five days were spent on this site trial trenching. Evidence of an earthwork was found, and traces of occupation (bones, sherds, a buckle and hone) of 11th to 12th century date were found, although the earthworks themselves might be of earlier origin. The occupation is of the right date, but the evidence is still a little slender to speak of a castle. (Lincolnshire HER referencing 1965 article in East Midlands Archaeological Bulletin)

Dewy Hill. An earthwork 120 x 80 yards, roughly following the 200 ft contour, was examined by M W Thompson in 1965 and identified as the remains of an 11th-12th century fortified hall, the forerunner of the hexagonal Bolingbroke Castle (TF 36 SW 10). A trench through the E end of the single, sand, bank showed it to be c.5 ft high x 50 ft wide, lacking a dug ditch but with the natural slope scarped down to a depth of 11 ft. At the W end the bank was only 2 ft high, but there was a substantial ditch, excavated to 7ft but not bottomed. Within the bank, occupation material included pottery (Torksey ware, 12th-13th century glazes and hand-made types), animal bone , a buckle and scatter of ridge-tile fragments. No foundations were found. The pottery suggests an early Medieval origin for the earthwork, which is now ploughed flat. (PastScape ref. Thompson 1966)

Gatehouse Comments

Ringwork. Survives as roughly rectangular cropmark with slightly large area in southeast corner on top of hill overlooking Bolingbroke castle. Possibly built on site of an early medieval fortification and/or settlement. The site is now ploughed flat. Possible precursor to Bolingbroke Castle. It is sometimes mentioned in the texts for Bolingbroke. No earthworks are shown on the 1888 OS map suggesting either the site was damaged by ploughing even by this relatively early date (not impossible in highly agriculture Lincolnshire) or that the earthwork were never particularly strong, suggesting the C11 hall was only modestly defended (although a ditch more than 2m deep would make this a castle). There is no evidence for a motte.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTF348655
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 32, 33
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 265 (possible)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 112


  • Thompson, M.W., 1966, 'The origins of Bolingbroke Castle Lincolnshire' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 10 p. 152-8 online copy
  • 1965, East Midlands Archaeological Bulletin p. 25
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)

Primary Sources

  • Stenton, F.M. (ed.), 1922, Transcripts of charters relating to the Gilbertine houses of Sixle, Ormsby, Catley, Bullington and Alvingham. Edited with a translation from the King's Remembrancer's Memoranda rolls nos. 183, 185 and 187 (Lincoln Record Society 18) p. 45 (C13 reference to old castlery)


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 427-8 online copy