Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle, 170m west of Warden parish church

A Scheduled Monument in Warden, Northumberland

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Latitude: 54.9932 / 54°59'35"N

Longitude: -2.1391 / 2°8'20"W

OS Eastings: 391195.491818

OS Northings: 566517.024725

OS Grid: NY911665

Mapcode National: GBR FBHP.PW

Mapcode Global: WHB25.3RMJ

Entry Name: Motte castle, 170m west of Warden parish church

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1972

Last Amended: 2 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011417

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20922

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Warden

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Warden

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a Norman motte situated on the top of a natural hill
commanding a prominent position above the confluence of the rivers North and
South Tyne. The conical motte, which stands at a height of at least 3m, has
been constructed upon a high promontory in order to utilize the steep natural
defence on the north, east and south sides and it is only on the west side
that artificial defences have been dug. These consist of a ditch, which
isolates the motte from the rest of the promontory, varying in width from 2.5m
to a maximum of 5m. The motte is flat-topped and oval in plan measuring 35m by
19m. A bank has been constructed along its western edge which now stands at a
height of 0.5m. There is a causeway across the ditch in the south-western
corner of the monument, the presumed site of an original entrance. The motte
was constructed in this strategic position in order to dominate the passage of
traffic across the rivers. The wall which runs along the western boundary of
the monument is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The motte castle at Warden is a well preserved example of a monument type
which is rare in Northumberland. Evidence relating to the nature and duration
of its use will be preserved and hence the site will contribute to the study
of the Norman Conquest of northern Britain.

Source: Historic England


NY 96 NW 18,

Source: Historic England

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