Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1438 / 54°8'37"N

Longitude: -2.5376 / 2°32'15"W

OS Eastings: 364980.474433

OS Northings: 472124.060238

OS Grid: SD649721

Mapcode National: GBR BNQJ.FB

Mapcode Global: WH952.Z3SN

Entry Name: Castle Hill motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1938

Last Amended: 13 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009319

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24482

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Burton in Lonsdale

Built-Up Area: Burton in Lonsdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Burton-in-Lonsdale All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


Castle Hill is a very fine example of a motte and bailey castle situated on
the west side of the village of Burton in Lonsdale. The 9.6m high motte
retains a breastwork wall 3.3m high around the upper part of the mound. In
places the stonework is still visible through the grass on the inner face. A
nearly square bailey, 57m by 51m, is situated on the west side of the motte
and a semi-lunar bailey, 21m wide and some 2m-3m above the base of the ditch,
is situated to the south. The ditch around the motte is best preserved on the
west side; on the north side it merges with the steep natural slope down to
the road. A counterscarp or outer bank runs from north to east where it
disappears into a raised level platform which fills much of the area between
the motte and farmyard.
Excavations carried out in 1904 by H White and J C Walker found that the
motte, baileys, ditches and banks had all been paved. From the evidence
produced by the excavation it is now generally accepted that the site
originated as a ringwork in the 12th or early 13th century and after a
considerable lapse of time was raised with the addition of an inner revetment
wall to form a motte. The site went out of use at some time during the period
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fences although the ground beneath
them is included.

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 and bailey 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-bailey 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 and
bailey 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 or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally,
with examples known from most regions. 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.

Castle Hill is a well preserved example of this rare monument type.

Source: Historic England

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