Welton le Marsh Castle Hill

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameWelton le Marsh Castle Hill
Alternative NamesHanby
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishWelton le Marsh

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval motte castle, known as Castle Hill, located 250m east of Hanby Hall Farm. In 1086 land at Welton le Marsh was held by Gilbert de Gant, and during the 13th century, by Jolanus de Hamby. The motte is associated with the medieval manor of Hanby.

The motte takes the form of a large mound, approximately 5m high, enclosed by a ditch. The motte is sub rectangular in plan, measuring 50m by 40m at its base, with rounded corners and steep sides to the north and east. The top of the motte measures up to 30m in length, sloping gently down to the south west; a level platform, 10m in width, the north eastern corner may indicate post medieval alteration. The ditch enclosing the motte on the east and north sides is visible as a depression measuring up to 6m in width and up to 0.5m deep. The southern ditch arm has been infilled but survives as a buried feature visible on aerial photographs. The western arm has been partly infilled and is now marked by a shallow depression. A low bank marks the outer edge of the north western corner of the ditch. (EH Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The motte is over 100m from the edge of the moat of Hanby Hall which is, itself, 1km from the parish church of St Martin. However there is a suggestion there was a lost village of Hanby so the hall may not have been so isolated in the middle ages. Was the first manor house situation on the motte and then moved to a more spacious moated enclosure some time later or was the motte a supplement to a, perhaps more usual or to be expected, Saxon manor house with slight defences? If so what function did the motte serve? Was it the site of a significant residential building or a somewhat isolated but powerfully symbolic tower? It should be noted that; 1. The along the west side of the motte runs a disused railway. Building this railway may have damaged the motte and removed features showing any relationship the motte had with the Hanby Hall moat. 2. Although this mound has been called Castle Hill for several centuries, the identification of it as a motte is recent. It was not noted by David King in Castellarium Anglicanum. It may well have been missed because Lincolnshire does not have a good county history (there is no VCH earthworks chapter). The tenurial history of the site does not exclude a castle but is not really suggestive of this being a caste. There is a great variation in earthwork castles but this one does fall far from the more typical form and it remains a possibility the mound is something other than a Norman motte and has a castle name for some other reason.

- 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 ReferenceTF476698
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  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 33
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 69
  • Oldfield, E., 1829, Topographical and Historical Account of Wainfleet (London) p. 276 online copy


  • English Heritage, 2000, Revised scheduling document 31633. MPP 23
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 295, 297, 433-4 online copy