Bothamsall Castle Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameBothamsall Castle Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNottinghamshire
Modern AuthorityNottinghamshire
1974 AuthorityNottinghamshire
Civil ParishBothamsall

Medieval motte and bailey castle, thought possibly to be of adulterine origin, motte is in quite poor condition having been quarried away in places, there is no trace of the former bailey. The mound is about 150 yards in circumference, with a parapet at the top, 70 yards in circumference. The motte is 4.8 metres high. (PastScape)

A motte situated in an outstanding position with excellent all round visibility; the feature has a maximum height of 4.8m and is in relatively poor condition, quarrying having in part disturbed the profile. The top is saucered to a maximum depth of 1.8m and now supports a small copse of bush and oak, no building remains are evident. The immediate adjacent areas south, east and west have been extensively quarried for gravel - not agriculture as suggested by Blagg - and a former bailey cannot now be traced; however the situation of the mound, together with local topography, leaves no doubt that a bailey or court formerly existed. To the north a modern E-W road grazes the motte, north of the road extensive cultivation has destroyed any feature that might have formerly existed. The name "Bothamsall Castle" is still in local use. The lack of early recorded history suggests a possibly Adulterine origin. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments–F1 FDC 01-APR-74)

Castle Hill, Bothamsall is but one of around one thousand castles built prior to the thirteenth century. Castle construction afforded an almost limitless variety of design form and there is no site which exactly mirrors the morphology of Castle Hill. However, the similarity of landscape context and purpose of establishment between East Bridgford and Bothamsall is stark. Both castles seem to have been created as part of a deliberate royal policy to dominate river crossings by a major arterial road into the royal forest of Sherwood, or at the perimeter of the jurisdiction of a possible castlery of Nottingham

This is the raw power of the Norman Conquest writ large in both military and symbolic terms upon the very landscape of Nottinghamshire. This expression of power was also played out by physically claiming the former manor of one of late Saxon England’s most important figures – Earl Tostig. The establishment of a castle in what was potentially Tostig’s own aristocratic enclosure is another instance of both the physical and symbolic demonstration of the Conquest. (Gaunt and Wright, 2012)

Gatehouse Comments

The suggestion this was an adulterine castle is probably based on the received wisdom of the 1970's, writing in the 1990's Speight suggests that this may actually be a Saxon defensive structure of Tostig upgraded into a ringwork castle by the early C12. The castle, although often called a motte and bailey, is a sizeable ringwork without an apparent bailey. The area south of the castle was clearly, at one time, an extensive area of wet meadow land of the sort which would have produced vital winter animal feed (particularly for horse feed important both for military and elite pleasure activity) but also have been an excellent place for the hawking of water fowl, an activity Tostig, his family and their successors would certainly have indulged in.

- 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 ReferenceSK670732
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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
Copyright Richard Croft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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  • Wright, James, 2008, Castles of Nottinghamshire (Nottinghamshire County Council) p. 61
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 84
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 379
  • Stevenson, W., 1906, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Nottinghamshire Vol. 1 p. 305 online copy


  • < >Gaunt, Andy and Wright, James, 2012, 'Bothamsall Castle, Nottinghamshire An Archaeological and Historical Landscape Analysis' Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire Vol. 115 p. 63-78 < >
  • Speight, Sarah, 2008, 'Castles as Past Culture: Living with Castles in the Post-Medieval World' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 23 p. 385-94 (slight)
  • Speight, Sarah, 1994, 'Early Medieval Castles in Nottinghamshire' Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire Vol. 98 p. 61-3
  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Oswald, Adrian, 1939 , 'Some unrecorded earthworks in Nottinghamshire' Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire Vol. 43 p. 6
  • Blagg, T.M., 1931, 'Bothamsall Castle' Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire Vol. 35 p. 1-3 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 209 online copy


  • Gaunt, Andy and Wright, James, 2011, A topographic earthwork survey of Bothamsall Castle, Nottinhamshire (NCA-0006 at Nottinghamshire CC HER)
  • NCC, 2007, Topgraphic survey
  • Groves, G.,1987, Gazetteer of Minor Moated and Fortified Sites in Nottinghamshire (Unpub MA Thesis; University of Nottingham) p. 20