Notes: Found on the B5493 to the north-west of Seckington. There is a lay-by on the road and it is a short walk along the verge to access the castle. Please note that the road is quite busy so care should be taken.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The well preserved remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle. The castle had a relatively short life and subsequently the site has not been developed leaving the remains largely unaltered.
NO OFFICIAL SITE
A well preserved motte-and-bailey fortification, Seckington Castle was built in the decades following the Norman invasion to secure an important trade route between Tamworth and Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The castle went out of use in the twelfth century.
HISTORY OF SECKINGTON CASTLE
Seckington was located on an important trade route between Tamworth, the primary town of Mercia, and Ashby de la Zouch at the point where it intersected with a road south. For this reason a small settlement emerged on the site known as 'Secandune'. It was near here that Ethelbald, King of Mercia was killed around AD 757 in a battle with Cuthred, King of the West Saxons. The Mercian King was allegedly killed by one of his own men, Beornred.
The strategic importance of Seckington prompted the Normans to construct a castle at the site in the late eleventh century. The fortification was an earth and timber motte-and-bailey most probably built by Roger de Beaumont, Count of Meulan or his son Robert, Earl of Leicester. Built on land that had previously been used for agricultural purposes (traces of the ridge and furrow cultivation are visible at the site), the motte itself stood around 10 metres tall and was partially surrounded by a crescent shaped bailey with an entrance at the south-east corner. The entire structure was surrounded by a water filled ditch.
The castle had a relatively short life. It may well have been one of the castles demolished by Henry II in his efforts to restore Royal authority after the long civil war between Matilda and King Stephen. Alternatively it might simply have been superfluous - the Beaumonts sold the Seckington estate in 1170 to William de Campville who clearly made no efforts to retain/rebuild the castle. Today the earthworks stand as a fine example of an early Norman motte-and-bailey fortification.