Laughton en le Morthen Castle Hill
Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)
There are earthwork remains
|Name||Laughton en le Morthen Castle Hill
|Alternative Names||Thurcroft Castle Hill; Castle Yard; Hallyard
|1974 Authority||South Yorkshire
Castle Hill, Laughton en le Morthen, is a very well-preserved example of a conventional motte and bailey castle, consisting of a motte, c.9m high, with a kidney-shaped inner bailey to the north east, measuring c.50m x 20m. The bailey is surrounded by a substantial rampart with an outer ditch encircling the earthworks on the north, west and south. An outer bailey lay to the north and east under what is now the churchyard of the fourteenth century parish church of All Saints and part of its rampart can be seen as an earth bank running east-west immediately north of the church. These remains of the outer bailey have been disturbed by the use of the churchyard for burial, and, as the graveyard remains in active use, are not included in this scheduling. According to the Domesday Book, Laughton was the location of the hall of Earl Edwin of Mercia who was brother-in-law to King Harold Godwinson. It is thought that the site of the Saxon hall underlies the Norman earthworks since the church itself, adjacent to the site, lies on a Saxon foundation. After the Conquest, the manor was granted to Roger de Busli, who built the Norman castle, as part of the Honour of Tickhill. (Scheduling Report)
"The mound, measured in the bottom of the surrounding ditch, is 370 feet in circumference", and the ditch itself is 5 feet deep. "The truncated top of the mound is flat and measures 27 feet from east to west and 30 feet from north to south". The bailey is surrounded by a bank and ditch, the latter being of the same size as that surrounding the motte. There is no trace of an entrance or entrance causeway, but a gap on the east side is rather bigger than other gaps in the surrounding banks. "There are slight indications of earthworks on the north side of the area. No indication of the former existence of walls was apparent". (PastScape ref
This fine, medium-sized motte-and-bailey castle is situated at the west end of this hilltop village at an altitude of 122m. It lies immediately to the south-west of the parish church and has extensive views to the north, west and south. The earthworks are surrounded by trees and bushes, but are themselves largely clear of obtrusive vegetation.
The primary feature of the site is a steep-sided mound some 9m high, 9m across its summit, and 112m around its base. The moat around this mound (dry at present) is 9m in width, and 1.5m in depth, and completely encircles it, leaving no indications as to the point of access.
The half-acre courtyard to the north-east is kidney-shaped and contained by an earth bank up to 2.5 m in height above the external ditch, which is rather weak now along the east side.
A bank leading north-north-east from this courtyard rampart may indicate the location of a former outer courtyard.
The site has not been the subject of any serious excavation and little or nothing is known of its history. The timber and earthwork motte and bailey, which may have been built on the site of Earl Edwin's Saxon hall, does not seem to have been developed in stone in the twelfth century and the castle may thus have been abandoned quite early. (Birch 1981)
This site is a scheduled monument protected by law
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
|OS Map Grid Reference||SK516882