Ancient Monuments

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Giant's Hill motte

A Scheduled Monument in Elvington, York

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Latitude: 53.9289 / 53°55'44"N

Longitude: -0.9196 / 0°55'10"W

OS Eastings: 471037.756736

OS Northings: 448629.791687

OS Grid: SE710486

Mapcode National: GBR QR00.PB

Mapcode Global: WHFCC.VH8V

Entry Name: Giant's Hill motte

Scheduled Date: 22 November 1965

Last Amended: 25 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008041

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21192

County: York

Civil Parish: Elvington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Sutton-on-Derwent St Michael

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument is the Giant's Hill motte in Sutton Wood and includes a raised
motte enclosed by a moat. The circular motte is 4m high and 23m in diameter.
The sub-rectangular moat enclosing it is 1.5 to 2m wide and 1m deep; it is
seasonally wet. A pit about 1m wide and deep has been dug into the summit of
the mound.
Little is known about the history of the monument, although it has
been suggested that it was built to guard the nearby crossing of the River

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the
Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte,
surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of
examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey,
adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bai1ey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal
administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte castles
generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality
and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early
post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles
and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from
most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as
motte castles. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest
monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and
the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a
short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from
the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other
types of castle.

Despite tree-growth, the monument survives reasonably well. It will retain
evidence of the building originally located on the motte. The moat retains
conditions suitable for the preservation of organic materials.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Le Patourel, H E J, Moated site of Yorkshire, (1973), 116

Source: Historic England

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