Leicester Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLeicester Castle
Alternative NamesThe Newarke
Historic CountryLeicestershire
Modern AuthorityLeicester; City of
1974 AuthorityLeicestershire
Civil ParishLeicester

The original motte and bailey castle (SK 50 SE 1) was built in timber by Hugh de Grentmesnil to whom William the Conqueror granted Leicester circa 1068. It was apparently rebuilt by Robert Beaumont, Count of Meulan and first Earl of Leicester, following the almost certain damage which it suffered in the rebellion of 1101. Robert 'le Bosso' is generally credited with the building of the great hall (SK 50 SE 165) who inherited the castle in 1118. Henry II ordered its demolition in 1174 but how much was cleared is unknown as it is again recorded as being the residence of the Earl of Leicester. Simon de Montfort held it from 1231 until his death in 1265 when it passed to Edmund Crouchback who improved the structure. John of Gaunt died there in 1399 and after his son became Henry IV it was only used occasionally for Parliaments; the 'Parliament of Bats' was assembled there in 1426. Richard III seems to have been the last occupant in 1483 and by Charles I's time, apart from the great hall, the rest was 'utterly ruynous, useless and irreparable' (PastScape–ref-Clarke; Pevsner; HKW)

Gatehouse Comments

The castle mound is about 30ft high, the steepest scars being 4ft on the south west and the diameter of the level summit 100ft. It was considerably higher, probably 12 to 15ft until reduced and levelled for a bowling green in C19. Excavations have located the castle wall. The Newarke, A stone-walled outer bailey added to Leicester Castle in circa 1330 and enlarged in 1354. A fragment of the wall survives and two gateways.

- 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
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSK582041
Latitude52.6316986083984
Longitude-1.14063000679016
Eastings458260
Northings304130
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Laitude 53° 20' 25.46" Longitude 0° 18' 1.62"

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Books

  • Knox, Richard, 2015, 'The medieval fortified sites of Leicestershire and Rutland' in Medieval Leicestershire: Recent research on the Medieval Archaeology of Leicester (Liecestershire Fieldworks 3) p. 123-42
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 311 (1173 siege)
  • Cantor, Leonard, 2003, The Scheduled Ancient Monument of Leicestershire and Rutland (Leicester: Kairos Press) p. 35-6
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 40-1
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 139-40
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 60
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 178, 179, 192, 349
  • Hartley, R.F., 1989, The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire (Leicester: Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service) p. 48
  • McKinley, R.A., 1988, VCH Leicestershire Vol. 4 p. 344-47
  • Buckley, R. and Lucas, J., 1987, Leicester Town Defences: Excavations 1958-1974- (Leicester: Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service) p. 59
  • Drage, C., 1987, 'Urban castles' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 117-32 online copy
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus; revised by Elizabeth Williamson with Geoffrey K Brandwood, 1984, Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland (Harmondsworth) p. 217-221
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 254, 257
  • Liddle, P., 1983, A Guide to 20 Archaeological Sites in Leicestershire (Leicester: Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service) p. 24-25
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 253
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 223
  • Fox, L .,1972, 'Leicester Castle' in Brown, A.E. (ed), The Growth of Leicester (Leicester University Press) p. 19-25
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 702-3
  • Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 157-8
  • Billson, C.J., 1920, Mediaeval Leicester (Leicester) p. 41, 200-1 (slight) online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Wall, C., 1907, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm, (ed), VCH Leicestershire Vol. 1 p. 260-1 (plan) online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 415-17 online copy
  • Johnson, T. Fielding, 1896, Glimpses of Ancient Leicester p. 48, 134-7 (note) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 182-8 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 347-9 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 237 online copy
  • Thompson, J., 1859, An Account of Leicester Castle (Leicester: Crossley and Clarke) online copy
  • Flower, J., 18225, Views of ancient buildings in the town and county of Leicester (Leicester: W.Day) passim online copy

Antiquarian

  • 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. 277
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 15 online copy

Journals

  • Mackie, D. and Buckley, R., 1995, 'Castle Yard, Leicester' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Natural History Society Vol. 69 p. 119-124 online copy
  • Neck, B.S. et al, 1995, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1994' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 39 p. 224 online copy
  • Buckley, R., 1993, 'John of Gaunt’s Cellar, Leicester Castle (SK 582 041)' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Natural History Society Vol. 67 p. 86-87 online copy
  • Buckley, R. and Hagar, J., 1993, 'Excavations in Castle Gardens, Leicester'' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Natural History Society Vol. 66 p. 179-80 online copy
  • Neck, B.S. et al, 1993, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1992' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 37 p. 271 online copy
  • Neck, B.S. et al, 1992, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1991' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 36 p. 249 online copy
  • Alcock, N.W. and Buckley, J., 1987, 'Leicester Castle: the Great Hall' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 31 p. 73-9 download copy
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 314, 319
  • Liddle, P. (ed.), 1981-82, 'Report on Leicestershire Museums Archaeological Survey Team' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 57 p. 78-93
  • Cantor, Leonard, 1977-8, 'The Medieval Castles of Leicestershire' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 53 p. 36-7 online copy
  • 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)
  • Radford, C.A.R., 1955, 'Leicester: Church of St Mary de Castro' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 112 p. 156-8
  • Clarke, 1952, Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society Vol. 28 p. 22-29 online copy
  • Fox, Levi, 1944-5, 'Leicester Castle' Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society Vol. 22 p. 125-70 (reprinted as guide book) online copy
  • Wood, M., 1935, 'Norman Domestic Architecture' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 92 p. 167-242 esp 190-1 online copy
  • 1933, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 90 p. 368 (note) online copy
  • Chalkley Gould, 1900, The Antiquary Vol. 36 p. 372-4 (where as ascribed to the Danes)
  • Bellairs, 1893, Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society Vol. 7 p. 150-2 and plates (on the late Newarke gateway)
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 207 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1867, The Builder Vol. 25 p. 487-8 (reprinted in MMA)
  • Thompson, J., 1866, Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 84-6 online copy

Guide Books

  • Chinnery, G.A., 1981, Leicester Castle and the Newarke (Leicester Museums)
  • Thompson, J., 1977 (original edn 1859), An Account of Leicester Castle (Sycamore Press)
  • Fox, Levi, 1944, Leicester Castle (Leicester) (see Journal article)

Primary Sources

Other

  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 14, 15 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 14, 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 13, 14 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 14, 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 29, 30 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 28 online copy
  • Fradley, Michael, 2011, The Old in the New: Urban Castle Imposition in Anglo-Norman England, AD1050-1150 (University of Exeter PhD Thesis) available via EThOS
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 25 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 34, 35 online copy
  • Smith, P., 2009, Leicester Castle, Leicester, Leicestershire, The Courtrooms in the Former Great Hall: Historic Buildings Report (English Heritage Research Department Reports series 19-2009) online copy
  • 2007, Castle Conservation Area Character Appraisal (Leicester City Council) online copy
  • Finn, N., 2004, An Archaeological Watching Brief on Castle Street, Leicester ULAS online copy
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 185-7, 392-3 online copy
  • Buckley, R., 1991, Leicester Castle: The Great Hall and John of Gaunt's Cellar: Application for Scheduled Monument Consent (Unpublished Document: Leicestershire HER)