Uppingham Castle Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameUppingham Castle Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryRutland
Modern AuthorityRutland
1974 AuthorityLeicestershire
Civil ParishBeaumont Chase

Medieval motte and bailey castle surviving as an earthwork; supposed outer bailey traced as a cropmark. The motte is 8 to 10 metres tall from the base of the ditch and has a flat top approximately 12 metres across. The motte ditch is semi-circular in shape and is 6 to 8 metres wide. There are no signs of slight banks at the two ends before the ground slopes away to the west. The outer bank of the bailey survives as a very low earthwork some 50 metres to the east of the motte. The castle was probably built in Stephen's reign (1135-54). (PastScape)

Castle Hill, Beaumont Chase, stands at the end of a steeply sided natural promontory. It consists of a large conical mound with a deep ditch separating it from the bailey to the east. The mound or motte is 8-10m tall from the base of the ditch and has a flat top approximately 12m across. The motte ditch is semi-circular in shape and is 6-8m wide. There are signs of slight banks at the two ends before the ground slopes away to the west. The outer bank of the bailey survives as a very low earthwork some 50m to the east of the motte. Beaumont Chase is identified as being a typical example of a post Conquest motte and bailey site. The hill on which the motte and bailey was built is mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 1046AD and referred to as Martin's Hoe. (Scheduling Report)

The site is a natural promontory with the motte at the point and a bailey ditch cutting it off from the east. To the south, west and north the natural slopes suffice. The bailey has long been ploughed and only suvives faintly. The motte is overgrown but well preserved.

104 sherds of pottery were retrieved from the site in 1976/7. The sherds were re-identified in 2006. Not all of the sherds appeared to be medieval (some may be Roman?). The report is in the parish file.

The Scheduled Monument description says that Beaumont Chase is identified as being a typical example of a post Conquest motte and bailey site

The hill on which the motte and bailey was built is mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 1046 and referred to as Martin's Hoe.

VCH says that the castle was probably built during Stephen's reign (1135-1154).

It has been suggested that the site is related to prehistoric cropmarks in the area rather than being a Norman castle.

Fieldwalking in 2010 recorded 65 sherds of late Saxon/early medieval pottery, concentrated in the area near the castle. The material closest to the castle tended to be earlier Stamford ware rather than Stanion/Lyveden. A coin of Stephen was also found. (Leicestershire and Rutland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Creighton writes this was not an adulterine castle, as usual suggested, but the seat of the appointed royal forester. The suggestion it was built in the reign of Stephen, whilst not impossible, probably has more to do with 'received wisdom' than a real consideration of actual evidence. The found evidence appear to suggest a late Saxon Site, with the motte probably being a post-Conquest but C11 addition.

- 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 ReferenceSK849004
Latitude52.5953788757324
Longitude-0.747089982032776
Eastings484970
Northings300460
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Cantor, Leonard, 2003, The Scheduled Ancient Monuments of Leicestershire and Rutland (Leicester: Kairos Press) p. 39
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Rutland Local History Society, 1982, Uppingham in Rutland (Stamford: Speigl)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1935, VCH Rutland Vol. 2 p. 61 online copy
  • Wall, C.J., 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Rutland Vol. 1 p. 112, 253 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 (plan) online copy
  • Cantor, L.M., 1980, 'The Medieval Hunting Grounds of Rutland' Rutland Record Vol. 1 p. 14-15

Other

  • Jones, Elaine, 2010, Castle Hill Field, Uppingham, Rutland - an archaeological field walking survey