Residents have voiced their shock this week as it emerged an important piece of Stamford’s history is to be sold at auction this month.
The Grade II listed three arch structure on the corner of Bath Row and Castle Dyke, which is all that remains of the former 14th century castle is being advertised by Leicester auctioneers Kal Sangra.
The Grade II listed corner building, believed to date back to the 14th century, is protected by the Ancient Monument Act.
The building is most probably the remains of the Great Hall and comprises outhouses with three splayed arches with the centre having an ancient iron studded door.
The structure has a guide price of £20,000 to £25,000 plus VAT. It is being sold on February 20 at Leicester Racecourse from 5pm.
Chairman of the Stamford urban group Don Lambert said: “It is a historic part of old Stamford and I want to know what it means to put it up for sale like this.
“It is such an important part of the town’s history this should become a real priority. I feel something needs to be done to protect this historic piece of our town’s history.”
The owner of the site has not been revealed but it is believed the site is owned by Jelson Homes which has refused to comment on the sale.
Chairman of Stamford Civic Society Gwyneth Gibbs said the ancient monument is protected by English Heritage but said: “The civic society will be keeping a strict eye on the situation to make sure nothing is done with it.”
Stamford town councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing said the owners should donate the ancient monument to be preserved as a heritage site.
The property is listed at www.shonkibrothers.com.
Stamford historian Philippa Massey has done some digging into the history of the castle.
Stamford Castle was built in about 1068, as a standard motte and bailey construction of wood, on top of a manmade defensible mound. The Domesday Book of 1086 mentions five dwellings in Stamford which were made waste because of the work on the castle.
This wooden castle was rebuilt in stone as quickly as possible.
The available evidence of the stone castle indicates the keep on the north side, the service buildings (the bailey) and hall on the south, and the gatehouse in the north-east corner. On its eastern side there was a stream and a ditch.
There is little documentary evidence about the castle at this time, but the lord of the manor’s court was held there. During the civil wars in King Stephen’s reign, it was besieged by Henry of Anjou, later Henry II, in 1153, and eventually surrendered to him.
In 1347 the castle was described as “ruinous”.
By 1895 the remnants of the stone keep were covered by buildings, and the bailey area was used as gardens and storehouses.
In 1933 a job creation scheme demolished the keep to make the bus station. Only six photographs record the demolition. In the 1970s, the archaeological dig of the bailey area by the South Lincolnshire Archaeological Unit gave us our present knowledge of the castle area. Artefacts from the castle dig are in the former Stamford Museum collection.
The three 14th century arches remaining in Bath Row are part of the east wall of the castle great hall.
Sources: Stamford Castle and Town by Christine Mahany and David Roffe The Medieval Buildings of Stamford by Alan Rogers and the Stamford Survey Group.