Kinaird Castle, Owston Ferry

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameKinaird Castle, Owston Ferry
Alternative NamesKinnards Ferry; Kenefar; Kinardferry; Kinardeferie; castellum apud Kinardeferiam; Axholme; Axiholme; castello de Insula
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Lincolnshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishOwston Ferry

Kinaird Castle is a good example of motte and bailey castle with known historical references. The archaeological watching brief in 1995 showed that important remains survive protected under a thick blanket of later deposits. The interiors of the baileys especially will contain additional archaeological remains, including evidence of buildings and industrial and agricultural activity, which will provide evidence for life in the Norman period. The mainly infilled moat ditches will preserve environmental information as well as evidence of the refortification and slighting of the castle in 1173-74. The castle, built to control a crossing point on the Trent, will also preserve evidence of medieval trading activity.

The monument includes part of the buried and earthwork remains of a Norman earthwork castle located at the west end of Owston Ferry. The settlement of Owston Ferry pre-dates the Norman Conquest. There is no mention of a castle in the Domesday Book which records that the manor of Owston Ferry was owned by Geoffrey de La Guerche. The castle is thought to have been constructed shortly after the Domesday Book was compiled, in the late 1080s, to control the traffic between Lindsey and the Isle of Axholme across the River Trent. However, records suggest that it was partially dismantled in 1095, in one of the years when William Rufus faced a revolt in support of his brother's claim to the throne. In 1173-74 the castle was re-fortified by Roger de Mowbray in rebellion against Henry II, but surrendered to royal forces under the command of the king's son Geoffrey Plantagenet, the bishop-elect of Lincoln in 1174. The castle, along with other castles belonging to the Mowbrays, was then slighted to make it undefendable. In the following century the church of St Martin's was constructed within the bailey to the north of the motte. Kinaird Castle is thought to have originally included a motte surrounded by a moat ditch

To the north there were two baileys, the whole surrounded by a bank and second external moat ditch. The motte is a conical mound 60m-70m in diameter at the base, standing over 5m high from the bottom of the encircling moat ditch. The top is a circular, level platform about 10m in diameter and would have been the site of a tower, typically built of timber. The surrounding inner moat ditch is on average 15m wide. On the north west side it is infilled and lies beneath part of St Martin's Church and the original churchyard. To the north of the motte there is a pair of baileys divided by a marked break of slope that runs due north of the motte from the north side of the original churchyard, with the modern ground surface of the eastern bailey being approximately 1m below that of the western one. The eastern bailey contains St Martin's Church and the churchyard which is divided into three main areas. The original churchyard lies immediately around the church and its ground surface now stands around 1m higher than the general lay of the land. A later extension to the churchyard lies to the north, bound by the road, and the most recent part, which is still actively receiving burials, lies to the west. The eastern bailey now contains three houses with outbuildings and gardens. Archaeological investigation in the north east of this bailey in May 1995 showed that the remains of a sequence of two timber palisades on the external bank survive buried under up to 1m of later deposits. From the south side of both baileys, broad banks up to 2m high extend to encircle the southern side of the motte and inner moat. These banks do not join, but are divided from one another by a hollow due south of the motte. The external moat around the castle is believed to have been filled in when the castle was slighted in 1174. A slight depression marking its course can be seen in the field to the east of the motte; the bank to its west also shows as a clear soil and crop mark. The northern part of its circuit co-coincides with the curving course of Church Street, which along this part is slightly sunken. On the west side of the church, its course is continued by a trackway running southwards and then by a footpath around the south western side. (Scheduling Report)

The buried and earthwork remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle located at the west end of Owston Ferry. The castle is thought to have been constructed in the late 1080s, to control traffic between Lindsey and the Isle of Axholme across the River Trent. Records suggest that it was partially demolished in 1095, in one of the years when William Rufus faced a revolt in support of his brother's claim to the throne. In 1173-74 the castle was re-fortified by Roger de Mowbray in rebellion against Henry II, but surrendered to royal forces under the command of the king's son, Geoffrey Plantagenet, in 1174. The castle was then slighted to make it undefendable. The castle is thought to have originally included a motte surrounded by a moat ditch. To the north west were two baileys, the whole surrounded by a bank and second external moat ditch. The top is a circular, level platform which would have been the site of a tower. To the north of the motte there is a pair of baileys divided by a marked break of slope running due north. The eastern bailey contains St Martin's Church and the churchyard. Archaeological excavation in the north east of this bailey in May 1995 showed that the remains of a sequence of two timber palisades on the external bank survive buried under up to 1 metre of later deposits. The external moat around the castle is believed to have been filled in when the castle was slighted in 1174. (PastScape)

A.D. 1174. Roger de Mowbray renounced his fealty to the old king and repaired a ruined castle in the island of Axiholme, but a large number of the Lincolnshire men crossed over in boats and laying siege to the castle, compelled the constable and all the knights to surrender: they then again reduced the fortress to ruins. (Wendover's Flowers of History)

Gatehouse Comments

On opposite side of village from the river Trent and ferry, which are nearly a kilometer away, so not ideal location for a pure military site and must be primarily a manorial administrative centre, although would still have some value as a policing station. In the rapidly developing situation of revolts expedient military choices have to be made and fortifying an existing defensible site is clearly a more rapid solution than building a new defensive site in a more ideal location.

- 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 ReferenceSE805002
Latitude53.4926490783691
Longitude-0.787880003452301
Eastings480510
Northings400260
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 26, 31, 32, 33
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 58
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 148 (slight)
  • Roffe, David, 1993, 'Castles' in Bennett, S. and Bennett, N. (eds), An Historical Atlas of Lincolnshire (University of Hull Press) p. 40-1
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 262
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 249
  • Loughlin, Neil and Miller, Keith, 1979, A survey of archaeological sites in Humberside carried out for the Humberside Joint Archaeological Committee p. 156
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 271
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 438 online copy
  • Stonehouse, W.H., 1839, History and Topography of the Isle of Axholme (London) p. 223-5 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. 296
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 37 online copy

Journals

  • Speight, Sarah, 2004, ''Religion in the Bailey: Charters, Chapels and the Clergy' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 271-80
  • 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)

Primary Sources

  • Giles, J.A. (ed), 1849, Roger of Wendover's Flowers of History (London) p. 27 online copy
  • 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. 379, 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. 64, 68, 126-7 online copy
  • 1909, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1180-1181 p. 56(Pipe Roll Society Publications 30) online copy

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 27 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 30 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 30 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 48 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 44 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 44 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 53 online copy
  • Foreman, M., 1995, An Archaeological Watching Brief at The Willows, Church Street, Owston Ferry