Goltho Manor

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

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameGoltho Manor
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishGoltho

Early medieval settlement, motte and bailey, and medieval village consisting of a moat, and crofts with buildings, seen as cropmarks and earthworks. Excavation revealed an early medieval ringwork and medieval motte and tower. Roman features have been recorded separately (TF 17 NW 37). The motte and bailey has been levelled and the site cultivated. (PastScape)

The chronology of the site has been given as follows: A Romano-British settlement of late 1st and 2nd century date, including a substantial Roman building. An unenclosed settlement of middle Saxon date, including timber and clay buildings, predated the development of a serise of fortified enclosures. A stave-built hall, bower, kitchen and weaving shed were constructed around 850, surrounded by a defensive rampart and ditch. A sequence of rebuildings was followed by a replanning in the period around 1000-1080 within a larger enclosure, again surrounded by a rampart and ditch. Around 1080 a motte and bailey castle was constructed.

The motte lay in the north east of a rectangular earthwork enclosed with a gatehouse and a bridge located to the east side. Two successive single-aisled halls of clay with vertical posts provided domestic accomodation. In the mid 12th century the bailey banks were pulled in to create a flat-topped mound for a timber aisled hall and ancillary buildings which was adandoned shortly afterwards. By the mid-12th century the manor is believed to have been in the hands of the Kyme family.

Aerial photographs show the site both before and after it was levelled with the ditch showing as a cropmark following the destruction of the site. The site of the motte and bailey was formerly contained within a scheduled area including the earthwork remains of the medieval settlement. The whole site was descheduled in 1982. (PastScape–ref. Drury, D

14-SEP-1998 English Heritage Alternative Action Report)

Paul Everson suggests that the finds and documentary evidence supports a later dating - at the earliest in the late 1130s; with a possible enforced slighting of the earthworks in c. 1217 (Lincolnshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

This is a site than has undergone a rare extensive and detailed excavation and was found to have had a complex history. This started as a Saxon defended manorial site and had the earthworks modified on several occasions (and timber buildings rebuilt) including use as a Norman castle. The excavation of this site was utterly destructive turning what looked to be a straightforward motte and bailey into a cropmark, undetectable on the ground. However without such an intense excavation the earlier Anglo-Saxon manor and the development of the site from a Ringwork to a Motte and Bailey is unlikely to have been understood or even known. One of the most important sites in castle studies but, as can be seen by the limited online information, one little known outside academic fields. There has been some considerable discussion as to the dating of the various phases suggested by Beresford. The issue does not seem to be settled although, at this time (2015) it seems Beresford's initial phasing seems to be back in favour.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTF115773
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 55, 57
  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 24, 33-35
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 50
  • Roffe, David, 1993, 'Castles' in Bennett, S. and Bennett, N. (eds), An Historical Atlas of Lincolnshire (University of Hull Press) p. 40-1
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 281-6
  • < >Beresford, G. et al, 1987, Goltho: the development of an early medieval manor c 850–1150 (London: English Heritage) < > (The major text for this site) Download via ADS
  • Bassett, S.R., 1985, 'Beyond the edge of excavation: the topographical context of Goltho' in Mayr-Harting, H. and Moore, R.I. (eds), Studies in Medieval History Presented to R.H.C. Davis (London: Hambledon) p. 21-39 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 265
  • Beresford, Guy, 1982, 'Goltho Manor, Lincolnshire: The Buildings and their Surrounding Defences c.850-1150' in Brown, R.Allen (ed), Proceedings of the Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies 4, 1981 (Boydell Press) p. 13-36, 171-4
  • Beresford, G., 1975, The Medieval Clay-Land Village: Excavations at Goltho and Barton Blount (London: Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 6)


  • Creighton, O.H., 2004, ''The Rich Man in his Castle, The Poor Man at His Gate': Castle Baileys and Settlement Patterns in Norman England' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 25-36
  • Everson, P.,1990 'The problem of Goltho' Medieval Settlement Research Group Annual Report Vol. 5 p. 9-14 online copy
  • Stocker, D., 1989, 'Review of G. Beresford, 'Goltho: The Development of of an Early Medieval Manor c. 850-1150'' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 146 p. 627-9
  • Everson, P.,1988, 'What's in a name? “Goltho”, Goltho and Bullington' Lincolnshire History and Archaeology Vol. 23 p. 93–9
  • Hodges, R., 1988, 'Origins of the English castle' Nature Vol. 333 p. 112–13
  • Beresford, Guy, 1977, 'The excavation of the deserted medieval village of Goltho, Lincolnshire' Château Gaillard Vol. 8 p. 47-68 plates 1 and 4
  • Selkirk, A., 1975-6, 'Goltho, a deserted medieval village and its manor house' Current Archaeology Vol. 5 p. 262-70
  • (Beresford), 1974, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 p. 210-11 download copy