Beaumont Leys Castle Hills

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameBeaumont Leys Castle Hills
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLeicestershire
Modern AuthorityLeicester; City of
1974 AuthorityLeicestershire
Civil ParishLeicester

Preceptory, boundary, two mounds, fishpond and dam at Beaumont Leys. Scheduled. The preceptory is situated within a sub-rectangular enclosure measuring 200m x 150m overall and is formed by a bank up to 1.5m high and an outer ditch about 0.5m deep. An irregular surface exists internally containing two mounds each about 1m high and 12m in diameter. To the east and parallel to the enclosure is a further bank and ditch running north-south. the boundary runs for almost 300m, with the bank about 0.5m high and the ditch 0.5m deep and formed part of a former boundary to control stock movement. A stream situated to the west of the preceptory enclosure was dammed to the north to form a large fishpond, now a marshy area, 100m x 75m with a small island formerly used for breeding water-fowl. The dam measures over 100m long and up to 3m high and 8m wide; a division in the centre marks a former sluice gate. The present stream runs to the west of the fishpond but the original channel can be seen as discolouration of vegetation south of the pond. In 1252, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester granted Beaumont Leys to the Knights Templars but the lands were seized by the King in 1308. The land was then granted to the Knights Hospitallers until 1482 when it was exchanged with Edward IV for the Rectory of Boston. The land is described as being surrounded by a pale and the area is later described as being a park. Comparison of an excavated Templar house at South Witham indicates that below ground features of the preceptory buildings exist around the perimeter of the enclosure, originally forming a courtyard in the centre. (PastScape–ref. Scheduling report)

Gatehouse Comments

No evidence of particular fortifications but a manorial site of a knightly order can be expected to have had some symbolic defensive features and I expect the 'Castle Hill' name comes in part from these and in part from this being a manorial centre. As stated by Creighton the 'Castle Hill' placename is, in this case, not evidence of an earlier motte.

- 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 ReferenceSK565092
Latitude52.6778984069824
Longitude-1.16539001464844
Eastings456500
Northings309260
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Books

  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R. Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longmans) p. 308
  • Wall, C., 1907, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm, (ed), VCH Leicestershire Vol. 1 p. 265 online copy
  • Nichols, J., 1811, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire Vol. 4.2 p. 492

Journals

  • Creighton, O.H., 1997, 'Early Leicestershire Castles: Archaeology and Landscape History' Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 71 p. 29 online copy