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Monument record MDR2549 - Motte and bailey castle, Castle Gresley

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

"Of the Castle at Gresley there only remains a hillock known as Castle Hill, near the Railway Station. (Listed under 'Castle Mounts with Attached Courts'). (1) This feature, about 3m high, still exists and is locally known as Castle Knob. (2) A prominent motte, part ditched, part built around. Adjacent slopes are generally modern, the area is much disturbed and developed, but a fragment of ditch immediately west and a platform slope to the east are probably remains of the bailey earthworks. Published survey (25" 1960) correct. (3) Various features were recorded and mapped using good quality aerial photographs. They include an earthwork motte of medieval date seen as one large (15-50m) round positive feature centred at SK27921791; an earthwork bailey of medieval date seen as an incomplete asymmetric curvilinear enclosure, ??m by 70m, defined by a ditch and with internal and/or attached features, centred at SK 27941786; and a possible earthwork enclosure of medieval date seen as an incomplete asymmetric curvilinear enclosure, ??m by 40m, defined by a ditch, with internal and/or attached features. (5) The castle is a scheduled monument comprising the motte and three baileys. The centrally placed motte is a steep-sided conical mound measuring c. 4m high. Its summit is roughly circular and slightly raised around the edge, indicating that it was the site of a stone wall or timber palisade. The overall width of the summit is c. 12m but, on the north-east side, there is a raised circular platform measuring c. 5m wide. This is interpreted as the site of a tower or keep. Round the base of the motte is a 10m wide ditch with a current depth of c. 2m. This feature is best preserved on the south, east and west sides of the motte but also exists as a buried feature on the north side, where it has been partially filled in with earth from the adjacent modern housing development. At its east end, the ditch is truncated by a 2m wide bank which connects the motte to a 3m high mound on the other side of the ditch. This second mound or outwork would have been the site of another tower and may have guarded the entrance into the castle. The motte and the outwork occupy the north side of the central bailey which is the largest of the three enclosures. It is divided from the northern bailey by a 2m deep linear ditch which is c. 5m wide and from the southern bailey by a short scarp and a 5m wide berm or terrace. There are no earthwork ramparts round the edges of the site but all three baileys are delimited by steep scarps which would originally have been crowned by timber palisades. The buried remains of a variety of domestic and ancillary buildings will survive within the baileys and will include the lord's hall and other living accommodation, kitchens, workshops, stabling and corrals for stock and horses. The castle is in an elevated position and would originally have commanded wide views over the countryside between the River Trent to the north and the River Mease to the south. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. 'Ancient Earthworks', The Victoria County History, Derbyshire, Volume 1. p 384. p379.
  • <2> Personal Observation: SS Rev 24-SEP-49.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F2 FRH 04-AUG-66.
  • <4> Index: TPAT. 2325. 2325.
  • <5> Index: RCHME. 1995. National Forest Survey 921508. 183.
  • <6> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1994. Castle Gresley motte and bailey castle. 23288.



Grid reference Centred SK 2793 1790 (95m by 144m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR794

Please contact the HER for details.

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Record last edited

Jan 26 2017 3:28PM

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