Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill motte and bailey and bowl barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Golborne and Lowton West, Wigan

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Latitude: 53.4608 / 53°27'38"N

Longitude: -2.6098 / 2°36'35"W

OS Eastings: 359605.580821

OS Northings: 396177.075575

OS Grid: SJ596961

Mapcode National: GBR BX6F.S4

Mapcode Global: WH98B.W8DQ

Entry Name: Castle Hill motte and bailey and bowl barrow

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 11 March 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009867

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13503

County: Wigan

Electoral Ward/Division: Golborne and Lowton West

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Newton-in-Makerfield St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool


The monument is Castle Hill motte, Newton. The motte is situated on a
commanding site at the northeast corner of an elevated platform within the
elbow formed by the deep-cut valley of the River Dene - latterly dammed to
form Newton Lake. The monument includes a slightly oval mound of sandy earth
raised upon largely bare sandstone bedrock. The motte measures c.5m high and
has diameters of 32m at the base and 13m across the summit. There are faint
traces of an encircling ditch some 10m wide with a maximum depth of 0.2m on
the motte's southwest side. All traces of the associated bailey have been
obscured by massive earthmoving operations undertaken during construction of
the nearby motorway.
Limited excavation of the motte was undertaken in 1843. An opening 1.2m
square was made on the western side of the mound at the level of the original
ground surface. This was driven forward horizontally towards the centre of
the motte until it met a shaft 1.8m diameter that was sunk at the same time
from the top of the mound. From this point a tunnel 0.9m square was driven
horizontally along the original ground surface into the south side of the
motte. At a distance of some 3m from the centre of the motte a narrow chamber
6.4m long and 0.6m high, possessing an arched roof made of pressed clay, was
found. Within this chamber lay wood ash and burnt bone.
Newton was the seat of a medieval barony, while documentary evidence from the
15th century refers to Castle Hill Field.

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.

The motte at Castle Hill, Newton, remains reasonably well preserved, despite
the earth-moving activities which have obscured the bailey which originally
lay at its base. The site is unusual in that limited excavation into the base
of the mound in the 19th century revealed evidence of burials, indicating that
the medieval motte was constructed over an earlier, possibly Prehistoric,
burial monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Farrer, W, Brownbill, J, The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire, (1914)
Farrer, W, Brownbill, J, The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire, (1914)
Sibson, E, 'Manchester Literatry and Philosophical Society, Series 2' in Account Of Opening Of Ancient Barrow Called Castle Hill, , Vol. VII, (1843)
Evans (Owner's Agent), To Robinson, K.D. MPPFW, (1991)
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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