Peel Hill Motte and surrounding land was purchased
in 1979 from the proceeds of Thorne Town Lottery after decades of unsuccessful
attempts to acquire it for the benefit of the public.
The Motte is a listed National Monument (Ref. S.A.M. 268) Classification:
A1.ii, Ordnance Survey Grid Reference SE690133. The Motte was probably
originally attached to a Bailey.
A Motte and Bailey was a type of early castle introduced
by the Normans after 1066 and is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. A motte
is a mound of earth and a bailey is a ward or enclosure. The motte was
usually on the edge of the bailey to enable the defenders to escape in
an emergency. Wooden palisades or stockades often crowned the top of the
bank around the bailey and again around the edge of the flat top of the
motte. The bailey was big enough to contain wooden buildings to house
the garrison and the cattle which would be driven in to feed them during
The Lord's house, a tower-like structure of wood, was built on
top of the motte and was connected with the bailey by a wooden bridge
or gently sloping ladder across a ditch. Another wooden bridge crossed
the outer ditch which circles the whole site to open country.
The Peel Hill Motte was reference in the following books: History and
Antiquities of Thorne, W.Cass on (1829) The Doncaster District, J. Magilton
(1977) pp 71-3. Victoria County History of Yorkshire (VCH) Vol 2 (1912) p.23.
PEEL HILL CASTLE
Casson refers to the Peel Hill site being owned by a John Benson Esq..
Who in the first quarter of the 19th Century "bared the foundations
of the castle." The foundations on the motte top were partly destroyed
by Wm Snow the owner of the site at the time Casson wrote(1829).
The Mott’s circular 22ft (7m) high, 55ft (16.8m) in diameter the top
(V.C.H.), 50m north of the parish church parts of which are of the 12th
Century. Small fragments of rubble wall core survive buried beneath earth
at the summit. The motte ditch survives but is pertly filled in on the
south. North of the motte, and across the road to the east, are depressions
which are probably old sand and gravel quarries.
The local manor belonged to the Warennes of Conisborough in the 12th Century
who erected the Church. The VCH suggests that the castle served as a hunting
lodge in Hatfield Chase.
The form of the stone tower on the motte seems
to have been unusual. Casson wrote that the top of them was found to be
from four to five feet thick and composed of rounded stones and cement
and it appears to have had three large buttresses or outworks pointing
north-east, west and south-east."
The tower remained standing into the 16th
Century at least. Leyland wrote in 1534 "by the church garth of Thorne
is a praty pile or castelet, well diked, now used for a prison for offenders
in the forestes"… Early 17th Century documentary references
suggest that important medieval buildings stood south of the motte. Casson
(pp 27-28) quotes reference to the "Hill Garth" (evidently to
the west of the church), the "Kings Chamber" and the "Chamber
over the outward gate".
The "Gate House" evidently stood
in Stonegate not far from the Church.
The presence of an important group of buildings with a specific gate house
in this situation would add weight that Peel Hill motte may have had a
bailey to the south.
This is a designated ancient monument & valuable
to the people of Thorne.
PLEASE TREAT IT WITH RESPECT.
Causing damage is strictly prohibited
e.g.. Cycling, Sliding etc.
CCTV is in operation and anyone causing damage
will be prosecuted.
By order Thorne-Moorends Town Council
Please note that a BMX track is available for free use at the
Wyke Gate Road recreation ground.
© Thorne Moorends Regeneration Partnership. All Rights Reserved.