Horncastle Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameHorncastle Castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishHorncastle

The castle was said to have been demolished in a charter of 1146 (Dugdale, Baronage I, 39; Registrum Antiquissimum of Lincoln I, p. 287.) This may be an error for Thorngate (in the same hands), but considerable remains of the Roman wall still survive there. ( Arch. Jl. CXII, pp. 38-9). (Renn)

King writes Roman only.

Gatehouse Comments

Horncastle is a river crossing, and was a major Saxon town, with a mint. The manor house is within the Roman fortified town. The strength of the C3 walls in C12 is debatable, but they were still up to 4yds high in the early C18. There must be a possibility of some form of C11 or C12 defensive structure here based on the Roman walls. It is clear that the 'castel' mentioned by Leland was the Roman town but Camden was writing about structure being razed in the C12. Is it possible that the Roman walls were in such good condition that they needed no improvement in the medieval period and there are therefore no obvious medieval defensive works? The Bishop of Carlisle had a residential manor here, although only from the C13. This manor house was in the north-west corner of the circuit of the Roman wall. Horncastle was held by the de Condet family in the C12 who certainly had a residence here, probably in the same place. Given their baronial status it is entirely possible their manor house was defensible, although there is nothing to suggest it was isolated from the rest of the town by either a stone wall or significant earthworks. See also Thorngate.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTF258695
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  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 32
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 265 (reject)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 206
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Walter, J.C., 1908, A History of Horncastle from the earliest period to the present time (Horncastle: W.K. Morton and Sons) p. 11-12 online transcription


  • 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. 304
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 34, 35 online copy


  • Corder, P., 1955, 'The reorganization of the defences of Romano-British towns in the fourth century' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 112 p. 38-9 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Dugdale, 1675, The Baronage of England Vol. 1 p. 39
  • Foster, C.W. (ed), 1931, The 'Registrum antiquissimum' of the cathedral church of Lincoln (Hereford: Lincoln Record Society 27) Vol. 1 p. 287


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 24 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 25 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 24 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 25 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 39 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 36 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 30 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 39 online copy