Doncaster Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are masonry footings remains

NameDoncaster Castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityDoncaster
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishDoncaster

Nothing can now be seen of the castle although the former motte has been located under the eastern end of St George's church. it has been shown that the surrounding ditch was 16 feet deep and 30 feet wide. (Hey, 1979) Castle mound stood in north east corner of Roman fort, under east end of present parish church. Angled stretch of churchyard perimeter immediately south of the east end perpetuated line of inner bailey ditch. Outer bailey ditch also located. Motte and ditch had been levelled by C.1200 (Moot Hall (PIN 784) built over ditch) (South Yorkshire SMR)

Doncaster Castle. Excavations in the early 1970s uncovered the remains of two baileys, either an inner and outer or a ringwork with a later bailey. There is no archaeological evidence for a motte, only a bibliographic reference in Camden. It was probably built before 1068 and may have been destroyed on the orders of Henry II at the end of the civil war. (PastScape ref. Buckland and Dolby, 1972)

Motte and bailey or ringwork and bailey was revealed by excavation in the early 1970's, probably built by 1068 and destroyed in Henry II's reign. the faire and large parish church of St George, standing in the very area where once the castle of the town stood long since clean decayed. The dykes partly yet be seen and the foundations of parts of the walls. (Leland)

Gatehouse Comments

Leland was probably referring to the walls of the Roman fort on the same site of which a short section of footings remain of a wall 2m thick. Whilst the Norman castle may well have reused some of the original Roman ditching it seems unlikely that enough Roman walls survived to be part of their defences. St George's church started as a castle chapel, the original parish church being St Mary Magdalene, now lost under the Corn Exchange (See Doncaster town defences) being rebuilt, much larger, as a new parish church after 1200.

- 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 ReferenceSE574035
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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
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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  • Barber, B., 2007, A History of Doncaster (The History Press)
  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) passim
  • Hey, David, 2003, Medieval South Yorkshire (Landmark Publishing) p. 74
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 36
  • Buckland, P.C., Magilton, J.R. and Hayfield, C., 1989, The Archaeology of Doncaster, The Medieval and Later Town (British Archaeological Reports: British series 202) p. 86-100
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 530
  • Hey, David, 1979, The Making of South Yorkshire p. 52
  • Magilton, J.R., 1977, The Doncaster District: An Archaeological Survey (Doncaster) p. 32-36
  • Hunter, J., 1828, South Yorkshire: the History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster (London) Vol. 1 p. 11
  • Wainwright, 1826, Strafford and Tickhill (Sheffield) p. 67-8


  • 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. 524
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 34 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 (slight)
  • 1987, 'The Yorkshire Archaeological Register: 1986' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 59 p. 197
  • Birch, J., 1981, 'The castles and fortified houses of South Yorkshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 374-6
  • 1973, 'The Yorkshire Archaeological Register: 1972' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 45 p. 204
  • 1972, 'The Yorkshire Archaeological Register: 1971' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 44 p. 219
  • Buckland, P. and Dolby, M., 1972, 'Doncaster' Current Archaeology Vol. 33 p. 273-7
  • 1971, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 15 p. 135-6 download copy
  • Whiting, C.S., 1945, Dalesman Vol. 6 p. 184