NEWINGTON BAGPATH CASTLE
and LASBOROUGH CASTLE
Newington Bagpath Castle and Lasborough Castle were two motte fortifications built on either side of a steep sided valley to the south of Kingscote. Virtually nothing is known about their history but it is likely that occupation of both castles was short-lived and they were perhaps simply raised as a result of the instability caused by the Anarchy.
Two mottes can be found on the high ground either side of a steep sided valley to the south of Kingscote.
Newington Bagpath Castle
Despite its name, this motte is located south-west of the hamlet at Newington Bagpath on the other side of the Wells brook. It consists of a flat topped motte surrounded by a ditch and, based on the relatively limited assessment to date, may have been topped by a stone structure. There is no evidence of any bailey.
Virtually nothing is known of the history of Newington Bagpath Castle. It was a Royal estate at the time of the Conquest but by the Domesday survey of 1086 it was held by Roger of Berkley, a minor landowner with a number of estates nearby. Whether he or descendants raised the castle as the caput of his holdings is simply unknown. All that can be said with certainty is that motte based castles, particularly smaller ones such as Newington Bagpath, were common in the late eleventh/early twelfth centuries. Perhaps the most obvious reason for construction was the Anarchy, the civil war between Stephen and Matilda over the English succession. Certainly Gloucestershire, which was under the control of Matilda's leading military commander and half-brother - Robert, Earl of Gloucester - was in the frontline of that conflict. It should also be noted that, given the stone structure observed during the investigations made so far, it is possible the castle isn't a motte based fortification at all and instead is just an earthwork surrounding a stone tower. This would be comparable with other Anarchy era sites such as Middleton Stoney. Until further surveys are made however, all remains supposition. The adjacent St Bartholomew's church, although extensively rebuilt, is of Norman origin and was probably contemporary with the castle.
Even less is known about Lasborough Castle with some authors debating whether it is a motte at all. It consists of a flat top mound and may originally have been surrounded by a ditch but, if so, this has now gone. The top of the motte bears evidence of stone robbing. There was seemingly no bailey or surrounding buildings although the adjacent land has been extensively ploughed which could have eliminated any evidence.
Lasborough was an existing Saxon manor at the time of the Norman invasion and was owned by an individual called Lewin. By the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 it was under the control of Gilbert Maminot, Bishop of Lisieux who was one of the custodians of Dover Castle. Gilbert granted the site to his son, Hugh Maminot, whose descendants took the surname Lasborough and held it until the fourteenth century. Precisely how soon after the invasion the Maminots acquired Lasborough and whether they built the castle is unknown. As with Newington Bagpath the castle could have been raised in the immediate aftermath of the Norman invasion as part of the suppression of Gloucester or could have been as a consequence of the Anarchy. Whichever was the case it had a short occupation with the manorial site adjacent to Lasborough church (St Mary's) becoming the enduring site of the settlement.
Baggs, A.P, Jurica, A.R.J and Sheils, W.J (1976). A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11. Victoria County History, London.
Historic England (1994). Motte castle 200m south east of Lasborough, List entry 1008793. Historic England, London.
Historic England (1994). Motte castle 180m south west of Newington Bagpath, List entry 1009160. Historic England, London.
King, C.D.J (1983). Castellarium anglicanum: an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Kraus International Publications.
Salter, M (2002). The Castles of Gloucestershire and Bristol. Folly Publications, Malvern.
Williams, A and Martin, G.H (2003). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. Viking, London.
Newington Bagpath Castle consists of a motte surrounded by a ditch whilst Lasborough Castle is a low lying mound. Both are adjacent to public rights of way and the walk between the two sites is pleasant but includes steep gradients.
Lasborough Castle. A low lying motte with no ditch or evidence of a bailey. Some authors have questioned whether it is actually a motte and instead suggested it could be a burial mound.
Newington Bagpath Castle. The motte was constructed from the spoil of the surrounding ditch. The hamlet of Newington Bagpath can be seen on the lower ground.
St Bartholomew's Church. The ruined church is being converted into a private residence. Although extensively rebuilt, this was a Norman church that was probably contemporary with the castle.
The view from Newington Bagpath Castle looking out over the valley. The site of Lasborough Castle can be seen in the distance on the extreme right of the photograph.
Newington Bagpath Castle can be found on an unnamed road accessed off the A4135 although note that the turning is not sign-posted. Proceed through the hamlet and you will start to ascend a steep hill. At the top you'll pass St Batholomew's church on your left and there is a parking area just beyond. Newington Bagpath motte is just behind the church and you can follow the road/public rights of way to Lasborough motte (approximately a two mile round walk).
Car Parking Option
Newington Bagpath Castle