Groby Castle Hill

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

There are earthwork remains

NameGroby Castle Hill
Alternative NamesTourhull; Grobi
Historic CountryLeicestershire
Modern AuthorityLeicestershire
1974 AuthorityLeicestershire
Civil ParishGroby

Medieval motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork. The Castle was built in the late C11 by Hugh de Grantmesnil and was destroyed in 1172. Excavations in 1962-3 showed the motte was built around an existing stone structure of function, possibly a tower. Fishponds to north destroyed by road by-pass. The oval castle motte is 5 to 6m high with a flattish top and measures 38m east to west and 25m north to south. To the east is a flat bailey area extending for 20m and enclosed by a ditch surviving for a length of 35m and 15m wide and 2m deep. On its outer east side it has a slight bank 1m high. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Now largely destroyed and some of the bailey perimeter beneath embanked road. Creighton speculates that the motte was built over a pre-existing, already somewhat ruinous, Saxon residential tower and represents a continuity of use of a manorial site. The TimeTeam excavation (of just three days) found no evidence of a Saxon tower or earlier site, although a timber thegnal site remains probably. The bailey enclosure is suggested to have included the parish church. The motte was found to been thrown up around the Norman tower (as at Lydford, Devon) although no effort seems to have been made to identify the form of the motte and it is not know if motte was revetted (as at Farnham, Surrey). The site had a major episode of demolition and reconstruction c. 1300 as a great manor of the Ferrers/de Grey family within the bailey. The Time Team investigation did much interesting geophysics giving some idea of the layout of the C14 manor. A Close Roll entry of May 1344 describes the manor and notes a garden called 'le Tourhull' (Towerhill), an ancient ditch called 'le Slade' and a house called 'le Baillyfeshous'. Quiet what sort of garden was on the motte, market or pleasure? The C14 manor (described as a 'palace' by TimeTeam) was demolished and replaced by the late C15 brick Old Groby Hall on a slightly different site.

- 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 ReferenceSK523076
Latitude52.663990020752
Longitude-1.22684001922607
Eastings452390
Northings307640
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Hartley, R.F., 2008, Medieval Earthworks of South-West Leicestershire (Hinckley & Bosworth) p. 21
  • Cantor, Leonard, 2003, The Scheduled Ancient Monument of Leicestershire and Rutland (Leicester: Kairos Press) p. 32
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 35
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 141 (slight)
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 47
  • Woodward, S., 1984, The Landscape of a Leicestershire Parish: The Historical Development of Groby (Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Record Service) p. 20-1
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 253
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 238
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 196
  • 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. 258-9 (plan) online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 413 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 351 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 280
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 17, 18 online copy

Journals

  • Speight, Sarah, 2008, ''Castles as Past Culture: Living with Castles in the Post-Medieval World' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 23 p. 385-94
  • Creighton, O. H., 1997, 'Early Leicestershire Castles: Archaeology and Landscape History' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 71 p. 22-5 online copy
  • McWhirr, A.D. and Winter, M.J., 1978-79, 'Medieval Castles Additional Information' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 54 p. 74-75 online copy
  • Cantor, Leonard, 1977-8, 'The Medieval Castles of Leicestershire' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 53 p. 36 online copy
  • Hurst, G., 1964, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 255 download copy
  • 1963-4, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 39 p. 51 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)
  • 1927, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 15 p. 196-201
  • 1902, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 9 p. 118-9 (a re-edition of JBAA article) online copy
  • Chalkley Gould, 1901, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 7 p. 55-6 online copy
  • 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
  • 1870, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 2 p. 320

Primary Sources

  • Stubbs, Wm. (ed), 1876, Radulphi de Diceto decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica. The Historical work of Master Ralph de Diceto, Dean of London (London, Rolls Series 68) Vol. 1 p. 404
  • Stubbs, Wm. (ed), 1867, Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi Benedicti Abbatis; Chronicle of the Reigns of Henry II and Richard I. A.D. 1169-1192 (London: Rolls Series 49) Vol. 1 p. 126 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1904, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward III (1343-46) Vol. 7 p. 373 online copy (requires subscription but searchable) [alternative online copy > http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval2,55209]

Other

  • Time Team (Mike Aston et al), 2011, March 20 (1st broadcast), 'The House of the White Queen' Time Team TV Programme (Time Team, a Videotext/Picture House production for Channel 4)
  • Wessex Archaeology, 2011, Groby Old Hall Groby, Leicestershire Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results (Wessex Archaeology 74151) online copy
  • Finn, N., 2009, Groby Old Hall, Markfield Road, Groby: Historic Building Assessment–contains some historical information about the castle.
  • Davison, B.K., 1963, Excavations at Groby, Leicestershire (Unpublished site notebook; Leicestershire SMR)