Mount Alstoe, Burley

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameMount Alstoe, Burley
Alternative Names
Historic CountryRutland
Modern AuthorityRutland
1974 AuthorityLeicestershire
Civil ParishBurley

An Anglo-Saxon moot mound or a motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork. The mound is irregular in shape and is surrounded by a heavily silted ditch. Investigations have shown that there is no trace of any castle structure on the mound. Weak earthworks, perhaps forming a burgus, and the presence of Norman pottery suggest that it was used as a motte. Further work is required to ascertain its nature. (PastScape)

A conical mound surrounded by a rectangular earthwork enclosure. It may be a Norman castle. An alternative origin of the mound is a moot mound - one hundred of Rutland was called Alsthorpe Hundred and presumably met here.

In 1936 GC Dunning excavated at the site and produced a group of Stamford ware (which was known locally as Alstoe Ware) pottery and a whetstone. He identified the site as a Saxo-Norman motte and bailey castle, but found no post holes or other structures.

The 'motte' is completely within the 'bailey' in an unlikely relationship for a castle, hence the suggestion that it may be a moot mound. The pottery would be consistent with a late Saxon/early medieval use of the mound for this purpose. (Leicestershire and Rutland HER)

Alsthorpe deserted medieval village stands on relatively high ground to the east of the B668, mid-way between the villages of Burley and Cottesmore. The monument consists of a substantial mound, identified as a moot or meeting place, and the earthwork remains of the medieval village. Alstoe moot is a large irregularly-shaped mound, about 35m in diameter and 5m high. Surrounding the mound is a heavily silted ditch 8m wide and 1.5m deep. On the southern and western sides of the mound are two very pronounced straight ditches 8m wide and 1.5m deep which appear to mark the edges of adjacent enclosures

Adjacent to the mound are the deserted medieval village earthworks which include a series of house platforms and garden plots located on either side of a north-south running holloway. The outlines of rectangular buildings are still discernible on some of the platforms. Excavations of the moot and the straight ditches have shown them to be contemporary and of Saxon date. The site is also mentioned in the Domesday Book, and there is a documentary reference to a large 'green' ditch next to 'Altiechestouwe' in 1207. The village may have Saxon origins but was certainly occupied from the Norman period until its desertion in the 15th or 16th century. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Not now a obvious manorial centre but there are other surrounding earthworks (?DMV) and a Chapel Farm nearby which probably represent the manor of Alsthorpe recorded in Domesday.

- 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 ReferenceSK894119
Latitude52.6978988647461
Longitude-0.678619980812073
Eastings489400
Northings311990
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Kate Jewell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Cantor, Leonard, 2003, The Scheduled Ancient Monuments of Leicestershire and Rutland (Leicester: Kairos Press) p. 30
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 97
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 141 (slight)
  • Cox, B., 1994, The Place-Names of Rutland (English Place-Name Society 67-69) p. 4
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 21, 356
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 417
  • Hartley, R. F., 1983, The Mediaeval Earthworks of Rutland, A survey (Leicester) p. 11-12
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 197
  • Brown, A.E., 1975, Archaeological Sites and Finds in Rutland, a Preliminary List (Leicester: Leicester University Press) p. 5
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 124
  • Wall, C.J., 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Rutland Vol. 1 p. 112 online copy

Journals

  • Creighton, O.H., 2000, 'The Medieval Castles of Rutland: Field Archaeology and Landscape History' Rutland Record Vol. 20 p. 415-24
  • Creighton, O.H., 1999, 'Early Castles in the Medieval Landscape of Rutland' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 73 p. 19-33 online copy
  • Dunning, G.C., 1936, 'Alstoe Mount, Burley, Rutland' Antiquaries' Journal Vol. 16 p. 394-411

Primary Sources

  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 405