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Scheduled Monument record MDR4704 - Duffield Castle (remains of), Duffield

Type and Period (5)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 3434 4406 Castle (remains of). (1) Duffield Castle when first excavated in 1886 consisted of a motte with the foundations of a massive stone keep; west of these the bailey was defined by two ditches. Since then the site has been engulfed by building development, except for the motte and the keep foundations which became the property of the National Trust. The excavations of 1886 and 1957, and the review of the 1886 excavations in 1931, suggest that in about 1080 an earth and timber motte and bailey castle was erected by Henry de Ferrers. This was destroyed in 1173 but in 1177-90 William de Ferrers built a stone keep. After 1250 the outer defences were elaborated and in 1266 the castle was finally demolished. (2, 3, 4) SK 344 440. Duffield Castle. The foundations of the Norman keep of the castle of the Ferrars which was razed to the ground in 1266 by Prince Henry, nephew of Henry III. The 2½ acre site was given to the National Trust by the Hon. F. Strutt and Mr. G.H. Strutt in 1899. (5) An impressive castle mound constructed on a prominent knoll. It is 4.5 m. high and the knoll is 12.0 m. Foundations of the keep vary from 0.4 m. to 1.2 m. They have a concrete capping for preservation [in 1966]. Re-surveyed at 1/2500. (6) Scheduled. (7) SK 343 441. Duffield Castle. A late 11th century timber keep was replaced by stone in the late 12th century. A dry moat surrounds the motte. Pottery of 3rd-4th century A.D. date was found. Listed in survey. (8) SK 343 441. Foundations of a large Norman keep, standing on a large low mound; formerly a ditched outer bailey. Listed in survey. (9) A condition survey was made of the site in 1985, prior to the proposed implementation of improvements to the remains, including the clearance of trees, the consolidation of masonry and the grassing over of internal floor areas. (10) The scheduled area was extended in 1997. The monument includes part of the remains of the 12th century tower keep castle together with those of the 11th century motte and bailey castle which preceded it, and also part of the remains of an Anglian cemetery and a Romano-British settlement which formerly occupied the area. Also included are the remains of a small medieval building constructed after the demolition of the castle in the early 13th century. Knowledge of the site of Duffield Castle derives principally from three excavations, firstly by Cox in 1886, secondly by Williamson in 1931 and thirdly by Manby in 1957. The excavated remains indicate several phases of activity, the earliest of which dates to the third century AD. This was followed in the sixth or seventh century by a period of Anglian use, apparently as a pre-Christian cemetery. In c. 1080 a motte and bailey castle with a timber keep was built. This was probably demolished in 1173 and was replaced by a stone keep in around 1177. There is no evidence that the rest of the castle was rebuilt in stone and the next elaboration of the defences did not occur until c. 1250 when the defensive bank was raised and a stone gatehouse possibly constructed. Following the capture of Robert de Ferrers in 1266, Duffield Castle was demolished. Masonry from the site was subsequently removed, leaving only the foundations. Enough stone was robbed to construct a small building. (11) In 1999 five trial trenches were excavated within the newly scheduled area containing part of the bailey ditch and thought to represent a relatively undisturbed area of the outer defences of the castle. However, no undisturbed medieval or earlier stratigraphy was encountered in the trenches. Pottery dating from the 12th/13th century to the 20th century was recovered, but all from post medieval or contaminated contexts. It was suggested that the ditch may have been a natural feature such as a water course prior to the construction of the castle. Pollen analysis of the ditch deposits provided poor results. (12) Evaluation excavations were undertaken in and around the footprint of the stone-built keep of Duffield Castle in 2009. Eighteen hand-excavated trenches established that the existing above ground keep representation is of 19th or 20th century construction and contains no in situ medieval remains. The below-ground medieval footprint of the west and internal walls is wider than the current representation. Despite evidence that most of the stone from the core and almost all the dressed facing stone has been robbed, some in situ medieval archaeology survives. (13)

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1955. 6".
  • <2> Article in serial: Cox, J. 1887. 'Duffield Castle; its history, site, and recently found remains; with some account of the seven Earl Ferrers who held it', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 9, pp 118-178. pp. 118-78.
  • <3> Article in serial: Williamson, F. 1931. 'Roman and other remains found at Duffield', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 52, pp 107-112.
  • <4> Article in serial: Manby, T. 1959. 'Duffield Castle excavations, 1957', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 79, pp 1-21. pp. 1-20.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: National Trust Properties 1963, 22.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 FDC 06-DEC-66.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Department of the Environment. 1978. Ancient Monuments of England 3.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Trent Valley Arch Res Com Gaz c.1980-9.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: King, D J C. 1983. Castellarium Anglicanum. Vol 1, 109.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Smith, L (The National Trust). 1985. National Trust Archaeological Survey: Duffield Castle, Derbyshire, East Midlands.
  • <11> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1997. Twelfth century tower keep castle, including sites of an 11th century motte & bailey castle .. .. ..etc.. 23343.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Cromwell, T (EH Central Archaeology Service). 1999. Evaluation Report for land off Lime Avenue, adjacent to Duffield Castle.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Weston, P (WYAS). 2009. Duffield Castle, Derbyshire: Archaeological Evaluation.



Grid reference Centred SK 3431 4405 (210m by 202m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (11)

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Record last edited

May 5 2020 1:58PM

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