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OAKHAM CASTLE

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Oakham Castle occupies a central position in the town of Oakham. The castle complex comprises a standing great hall and the remains of a motte inside a square inner bailey. To the north of this is a large rectangular outer bailey known as Cutts Close which contains dry fishponds and garden earthworks. The inner castle bailey measures 140 x 140 metres in overall dimensions. The great hall is situated close to its western boundary, and consists of an aisled building built of ironstone rubble. The inner bailey is delimited by a curtain wall dating to the 13th century. On the inside, a bank, consisting of grassed-over collapsed stone rubble, slopes up to the wall and the remains of two towers or bastions can be identified on the western side. In the south east corner is the castle motte and stands to a height of about 6 metres. The ground surface of the bailey is uneven signifying the foundations of buildings. The gateway on the south side is still in use, although it has been rebuilt many times. To the north, the outer bailey contains earthworks of gardens and fishponds which are mentioned in 14th century documents. The hall of Oakham Castle is listed in the Domesday book. The stone-built hall which survives today was built by Walkelin de Ferrers between 1180 and 1190. The great hall is a grade I listed building and is excluded from the schedule. A Second World War gun emplacement at the north east corner of Cutts Close and a 19th century garden folly in the eastern wall of the castle are both included in the scheduling. The great hall is now in use as the magistrates court. The site has been excavated.

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