Bradfield Bailey Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameBradfield Bailey Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthoritySheffield
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishBradfield

Bailey Hill is a fine motte 60 ft high; the top has been mutilated and is now very narrow, but in Bowman's time it was 12 yds in diameter. The bailey covers about three quarters of an acre; it is placed on the edge of a steep slope, and appears to have trusted to a stockade on this side, but on the south side there is a lofty bank on the scarp, 30 ft high; and a ditch from 20 to 30 ft broad once surrounded the entire motte (VCH). Bailey Hill occupies a good defensive position on a plateau overlooking the low ground to the south and east. The steepsided motte is 10.5m in height. It has been extensively mutilated on the southern side to provide access to the top. The top shows some stone content, but nothing identifiable as the remains of foundations. Mutilation has also occured on the eastern side of the counterscarp to the circumscribing ditch. This has an average depth of 3m on the north side, and 1.5m elsewhere. A modern causeway occurs in the north west. The only defensive earthwork visible on the vulnerable northern side of the bailey is the remains of a bank 0.5 high now forming a field boundary. This bank links the steep natural scarp in the west with the ditch surrounding the motte, and probably forms the base of the stockade indicated by OS. In the south of the bailey, the rampart has an average height of 4m, and its associated ditch is 2.5m deep. There is no obvious approach to the site (Field Investigators Comments-F1 RWE 03-JUL-61). (PastScape)

Believed to be a 12th century castle of the de Furnivals, the monument comprises a motte c.18m high whose summit has been disturbed by amateur excavation, leaving it crescent shaped in plan. During excavations in 1720, squared tool-marked stones were found which have been interpreted as the foundations of a tower

A deep, steep-sided ditch c.9m wide circles the motte to the north and extends southward along the east flank of the monument, following the south-westward curve of a substantial 8m wide rampart. At its northern end, the rampart stops just short of the motte. At its southern end, it curves round to meet the edge of the sharp drop down into the valley of Rocher End Brook. This scarp forms a natural western defence to a small semi- circular bailey measuring c.15m x 30m, though it is likely this edge was also palisaded. A low bank running between the scarp and the motte ditch at the northern end of the bailey is all that survives of another section of rampart. A causeway across the motte ditch just south of this was a point of access to the motte from the bailey. Access to the bailey seems to have been from the south-west or, alternatively, from the east across the outer ditch, where a route up from the village and church would have passed through the gap between motte and rampart. A ditch also divides the bailey from the east rampart. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The bailey place name is probably derived from bailiff rather than a reference to the enclosure attached to the motte. Presumably after the castle was abandoned as a lordly residence it remained the site of the estate manager, or bailiffs, house and probably also the site of the manorial court. The notably rocky local soil must have been difficult to dig and this castle represents a considerable effort.

- 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 ReferenceSK266926
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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
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
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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