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Maiden Bower and Cock Lodge: a motte and bailey castle, moated site, windmill mound and associated linear outwork

A Scheduled Monument in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.1708 / 54°10'15"N

Longitude: -1.3764 / 1°22'34"W

OS Eastings: 440807.921959

OS Northings: 475183.877126

OS Grid: SE408751

Mapcode National: GBR LNT6.TM

Mapcode Global: WHD8V.TFRF

Entry Name: Maiden Bower and Cock Lodge: a motte and bailey castle, moated site, windmill mound and associated linear outwork

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1935

Last Amended: 21 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011612

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20530

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Topcliffe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes a Norman motte and bailey castle, known as 'Maiden
Bower', along with the moated site and windmill mound of 'Cock Lodge', the
manor house which succeeded the castle. Also included is a linear outwork
located in a separate area 200m to the north of the River Swale on a narrowing
spur of higher land between the Swale and its tributary the Cod Beck.
The motte is an earthen mound located at the southern tip of the spur and
would have been largely surrounded by impassable marshes during the Middle
Ages. The mound is 60m in diameter at the base, rising about 15m from the
floodplain to the flat top 10m in diameter. Unusually, the sides of the motte
are terraced in three stages, although this may be a slight alteration
resulting from later medieval gardening and landscaping works associated with
the manor house. The tip of the natural spur forms a small platform to the
south-east of the motte whilst, on the north-west side, a 2.5m deep ditch
separates the motte from the D-shaped bailey. The bailey measures 80m by 60m
across and its defences are formed by a ditch 10m wide by up to 1.5m deep
strengthened by an inner bank which is 2m high in places. A slight earthwork,
comprising a bank and ditch of maximum width 12m, runs from the north-eastern
arm of the bailey across the floodplain of the Cod Beck; this may have been a
causeway crossing the former marshes. North-west of the bailey, a strip of
land about 60m wide is known to have been ploughed recently and there are no
visible earthworks, although this area will retain buried features linking the
castle with the moated site.
The moated site occupies a major part of the spur between the two rivers; it
is unusually large, the island measuring 200m by 160m across, and has a five-
sided plan. The south-eastern arm, facing the earlier castle, comprises a 5m
wide, 5m deep ditch running across the spur and has a 2m high inner bank with
an entrance gap at its mid point. The inner bank continues along the north-
eastern arm, although it becomes less substantial, and the side of the valley
has been modified to make it steeper; the ditch along this arm, which was
recorded in a survey published in 1912, has been altered since then by the
passage of farm vehicles and a gap in the bank is modern. The north-western
arm is formed by a ditch which is 8m-12m wide by 1.5m deep with a 1.5m high
inner bank and has an old causewayed entrance at its mid-point, while a modern
entrance is located at the south end of Winn Lake. The two remaining arms run
along the western edge of the spur which has been modified to form a 5m high
scarp falling steeply from the island platform to the floodplain; no ditch has
been observed here. About halfway along the south-western arm, a ditch runs
north-eastwards into the interior of the island for a distance of 80m,
defining the north-western edge of a slightly raised rectangular platform
measuring 90m by 60m. A low bank runs along the south-eastern edge and at the
western side of the platform is an oval mound 15m in diameter and 2.5m high.
The platform is the site of the manorial buildings, the mound being the base
of a type of windmill. Other slight earthworks are visible over the rest of
the moated island, indicating areas of medieval agricultural and horticultural
activity.
North of the moated site, the Swale and its tributary lie up to 650m apart and
the intervening land levels out into a wide plain. At this point, the spur is
cordoned off by a bank and ditch; although slightened over the years by
agricultural activity, the 8m wide bank is 1m high in places, while the ditch
is incorporated into the present field boundary on the north side of the bank.
The motte and bailey may have been erected in 1071 and was re-fortified by
Geoffrey Plantagenet, Bishop of Lincoln, during the de Mowbray rebellion in
1174. Topcliffe was the 'demesne' or home manor of the Percy family from the
time of the Doomsday and it was still held by them after 1200 AD, when the
prestigious manor house was constructed. The moated site is also known as
'Manor Hills'.
All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is
included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 castle was superseded by a moated site. Such sites consist of wide
ditches, often waterfilled and enclosing one or more islands on which stood
domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the island were used for
horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as aristocratic and
seigniorial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status
symbol rather than as a practical military defence. They form a significant
class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the
distribution of wealth and status in the countryside.
The monument comprises well defined earthworks and retains conditions
favourable for the preservation of medieval building foundations in the
unploughed interiors of the bailey and the moated island. Although the Norman
castle and later manor house are closely associated, they are spatially
discrete; the structures of the motte and bailey will not have been altered by
the construction of the later medieval buildings. The monument thus holds
important evidence for the evolution of aristocratic residences and, hence,
for the development of the feudal system in England throughout the medieval
period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of North Riding of Yorkshire, (1912), 40-2
L'Anson, W M, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Castles of the North Riding, , Vol. 22, (1912), 393-6
Other
A.M.7: County Monument NY 226,
AM7: County Monument NY 226,
Monument Class Description: Postmills, (1990)
Page W Ed., DOE AM7,
Title: 1:2500 Map Series
Source Date:
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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