Motte and Bailey Castle, Castle Hill, Mountsorrel (Ancient Monument)

Geo: 52.7285, -1.1398
Date ListedFri 28th February, 1992
CategoryScheduled Ancient Monument
AddressMotte & Bailey Castle Castle Hill, Mountsorrel Mountsorrel
GradeAncient Monuments
Grid ReferenceSK5818514891
LBSMonument Number 17075
Volume, Map, Item17075
Conservation AreaMountsorrel

Mountsorrel Castle is situated on a granite outcrop within the small town mid way between Loughborough and Leicester. It includes a motte and a second mound on the hill top and the remaining part of the bailey ditch at the foot of the hill to the south.
Two natural high points of granite on the hill have been adapted within the castle. The northern of these is the castle motte which is roughly circular and part quarried away. It stands 2-3m high above the surrounding hill and about 18m in diameter at the base. 50m south of this is a second mound also roughly circular which is about 2m high above the surrounding hill and about 15m in diameter at the base. On the south side of the hill is the remaining part of the bailey ditch which survives for a length of 60m. It is about 12m wide and 2m deep. The bailey originally extended to the east and west of the protected area but the degree of archaeological survival in these areas is uncertain and hence they are not included in the scheduling.
The castle was founded by Hugh Lupus Earl of Leicester c1080. It was besieged by the King?s forces to whom it fell in 1174. Henry II retained it when the earl of Leicester?s lands were restored to him in or after 1177. The tower over the walls and other buildings were repaired in the 1190s and again in King John?s reign. In 1217 Henry II ordered the castle to be destroyed and it was never rebuilt. Small scale excavations in 1952 revealed granite foundations within the motte and traces of sandstone blocks and medieval building material within the second mound to the south.
The motte today is topped by a war memorial which is excluded from the scheduling. Also excluded is a stone seat on the eastern side of the hill and stone approach steps on the western slope of the monument. The ground beneath these features is included in the scheduling.

The description above describes the salient features of the building as it was at the date of listing. It is given in order to aid identification; it is not intended to be either comprehensive or exclusive.