Worksop Castle Hill

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

There are earthwork remains

NameWorksop Castle Hill
Alternative NamesWyrkesoppe
Historic CountryNottinghamshire
Modern AuthorityNottinghamshire
1974 AuthorityNottinghamshire
Civil ParishWorksop

Alleged medieval castle, consisting of a ditch which cuts off a promontory, upon which is a flat mound. Despite extensive research it has not been possible to confirm the site as a motte, though it could be an adulterine castle. (PastScape) There is no evidence that a Medieval Castle ever stood there, but "the earthwork, such as remains, is the work of an earlier age ...." The remains consist of a ditch which cuts off the promontory, upon which is a flat mound of almost circular plan. (Listed under promontory forts) (VCH 1906).

Included in scheduled list under 'Castles' as "Worksop, castle mound" (Ancient Monuments in England and Wales, 1936).

At Worksop on the covered Castle Hill the Lovetaftes had a castle. It is said that the stones were removed to build the "present unfinished" (16c writing) lodge at Worksop Park; but Leland is of the opinion that the castle stones went to construct the perimeter wall of the Priory.

Extensive research, both locally and nationally, revealed no confirming evidence apart from that noted by Leland, to the effect that an early castle existed in Worksop. Mr Inger is the local resident reference librarian - has also undertaken personal research over many years and has now convinced himself that the story has its origin in legend. Despite the lack of written information "Castle Hill" has every appearance of being a castle mound of impressive proportions. The feature is certainly neither natural nor a promontory fort, although, as stated above, it has been mainly engineered by cutting the neck of a promontory. The council are in the process of laying out a footpath across the ditch to a newly constructed car park, but no finds have as yet come to light. Worksop Museum hold no archaeological material from the immediate area

It is possible that the mound has an Adulterine origin and no history; it is of course also possible that the site was never completed as a whole although the line of what may have been an original bailey or court can be faintly traced through the adjacent modern building (F1 FDC 16-MAY-74). (PastScape)

There appears to be little documentary evidence relating to Worksop castle. It has generally been assumed to have been built by William de Lovetot who acquired the manor in 1103 (for example, Eddison 1854, Speight 1995); however, it is perhaps more likely to have been built by Roger de Busli in the late 11th century and then rebuilt in stone by the de Lovetots . A charter of 1154 listing grants made to the canons included the phrase infra burgum et extra. Holland (1826) considered that this referred to the castle , or its immediate jurisdiction. The present remains show how substantial the castle would have been, with a platform some 50m by 50m that must once have been a strong shell keep surrounded by a ditch. A gate-tower led from the keep into the bailey , via a drawbridge across the ditch (Speight 1995). (Stroud 2002)

Leland wrote the Castle was "deane downe and scant knowen wher it was." "The stones of the Castel" he adds, "were fetchid, as sum say, to make the fair lodge in Wyrkesoppe Parke, not yet finished :" but he observes, "I am of opinion that the Chanons had the ruins of the Castil stones to make the closure of their large waulles."

Gatehouse Comments

The reason this site, with a castle name, good earthwork remains of not untypical castle form and antiquarian record of stonework was dismissed as a castle site by Stevenson and some later authors is somewhat unclear. King accepted it as a certain castle in 1983. Speight regards this as a certain castle of early C12 date, a strong ringwork, built by William de Lovetot, which had a long life. More recent excavation and investigation show this was certainly a medieval castle probably with a masonry shell keep. An informative lesson in the effect personal bias can have on site interpretation. The PastScape record, particularly the summery description, should be rewritten to reflect modern scholarship and to downplay the dated opinion of Stevenson.

- 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 ReferenceSK583788
Latitude53.3031883239746
Longitude-1.12654995918274
Eastings458300
Northings378830
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Wright, James, 2008, Castles of Nottinghamshire (Nottinghamshire County Council) p. 35, 72
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 96
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 381
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Stevenson, W., 1906, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Nottinghamshire Vol. 1 p. 293 (rejects as medieval) online copy
  • Armitage, Ella S., 1905, A key to English antiquites with special reference to the Sheffield and Rotherham district (London: J.M. Dent and Co) p. 57-8 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 460 online copy
  • White, R., 1875, Worksop, The Dukery, and Sherwood Forest online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 225 online copy
  • Eddison, E ., 1854, History of Worksop (London: Longman & Co) p. 9- online copy
  • Holland, J., 1826, The History, Antiquites, and Description of the Town and Parish of Worksop, in the County of Nottingham (Sheffield: Blackwell)

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England (Sutton Publishing) p. 350
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 17 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 (slight)
  • Speight, Sarah, 1995, 'Four More Early Medieval 'Castles' Sites in Nottinghamshire' Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire Vol. 99 p. 66-8, 69 (Reconstruction)

Other

  • Pre Construct Geophysics, 2004, Geophysical survey (NCC)
  • Gill Stroud, 2002, Nottinghamshire Extensive Urban Survey Archaeological Assessment Worksop (Nottinghamshire County Council for English Hertage) online copy