Castleton Town Defences

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are earthwork remains

NameCastleton Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDerbyshire
Modern AuthorityDerbyshire
1974 AuthorityDerbyshire
Civil ParishCastleton

The earthwork remains of the medieval town defences of Castleton. The monument lies in two area towrads the outer limits of the town in the north west and south east corners. The construction of the bank and ditch are thought to have been connected with the foundation of the borough in 1196 after Henry II acquired Peveril Castle from the original owners, the Peverels. The monument survives as a linear earthwork which includes a bank and outer ditch. The bank is approximately 12 metres wide and the ditch is of a similar width. The section to the south east of the town measures 200 metres in length and runs east to west for 100 metres before turning to the north and running in this direction for a further 100 metres. The section to the north west of the town measures 105 metres in length and is aligned north to south but curves to the east at its northern end. This section of the monument is more clearly defined with the bank sloping down steeply to the west and north. A mill stream now occupies this section of the town ditch. The town was totally enclosed within the earthwork defences but elsewhere these have been levelled, infilled and encroached on by later development. Nevertheless, the original line of the town defences can still be traced from the surviving remains on the north west side to those on the south east side of the town. The mill stream marks the line of the ditch on the northern side of the town and the curve in Mill Lane follows the line around the north east corner. (PastScape)

Castleton the town defences were constructed at the instigation of Henry II at a time when he held nearby Peveril Castle. The earthwork remains of Castleton town defences are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits

The bank, the buried land surface beneath the bank and the silt deposits within the ditch will all hold important information about the method of construction and the environment at the time the town defences were built. Combined with documentary references the evidence will greatly enhance our understanding of the development of the town and its position in the wider medieval landscape.

The monument, which is in two areas of protection, includes the earthwork remains of the medieval town defences of Castleton. The monument is situated towards the outer limits of the town in the north west and south east corners. The first historical reference to the town defences was in the 18th century when it is recorded that an 'intrenchment', which began in the lower end of the valley, enclosed the town, forming a semi-circle to the north east of Peveril Castle. The construction of the bank and ditch are thought to be connected with the foundation of the borough in 1196 after Henry II aquired the castle from the original owners, the Peverels. The defences signified the towns limits and the size or intended size of the settlement. Within the town defences Castleton was laid out to a formal grid with the church erected in its centre and a market place immediately to the south. The monument survives in both areas of protection as a linear earthwork which includes a bank and outer ditch. The bank is approximately 12m wide and the ditch is of a similar width. The section to the south east of the town measures approximately 200m in length and runs east to west for 100m before turning to the north and running in this direction for a further 100m. A modern field boundary follows the line of the earthworks between the bank and ditch. The section to the north west of the town measures approximately 105m in length and is aligned north to south but curves to the east at its northern end. This section of the monument is more clearly defined with the bank sloping down steeply to the west and north. A mill stream now occupies this section of the town ditch. The town was originally totally enclosed within the earthwork defences but elsewhere these have been levelled, infilled and encroached on by later development. Nevertheless, the original line of the town defences can still be traced from the surviving remains on the north west side to those on the south east side of the town. The mill stream marks the line of the ditch on the northern side of the town and the curve in Mill Lane follows the line around the north east corner. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceSK152828
Latitude53.3437690734863
Longitude-1.77670001983643
Eastings415200
Northings382820
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 46
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 24, 266
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 112
  • Hart, C.R., 1981, The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD1500 (Derbyshire Archaeological Trust)
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 118
  • Beresford, Maurice, 1967, New towns of the Middle Ages: town plantation in England, Wales and Gascony p. 416-7
  • Cox, J.C., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Derbyshire Vol. 1 p. 379-80 (plan) online copy

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Brooksbank, J.H., 1925-8, 'Castleton: its traditions, sayings, place-names, etc.' Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society Vol. 3 p. 43-4

Other

  • Dave Barrett, Gill Stroud, 2009, Extensive Urban Survey - Derbyshire (English Heritage) Download copy