Ancient Monuments

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Howe Hill motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in North Deighton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9598 / 53°57'35"N

Longitude: -1.401 / 1°24'3"W

OS Eastings: 439397.279914

OS Northings: 451688.866603

OS Grid: SE393516

Mapcode National: GBR LQNN.G8

Mapcode Global: WHD9T.GQ2Q

Entry Name: Howe Hill motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 10 October 1935

Last Amended: 14 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015541

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26621

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: North Deighton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Spofforth with Kirk Deighton

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated 250m to the east of
Howe Hill Farm.
The motte mound survives to a height of up to 20m and has an overall diameter
of up to 30m. It is surrounded by a bailey bank which to the south and east
survives to a height of up to 0.7m, and is between 2m to 4m wide.
Bailey earthworks also survive less clearly to the west of the motte.
Masonry of the original tower survives on the summit of the motte, which is
reputed to have been the site of the original Spofforth Manor house of the
Percy family, given to them at the time of the Norman Conquest.
Modern post and wire fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it 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.

Although the earthworks of the bailey are somewhat degraded, the motte mound
of Howe Hill motte and bailey castle still survives in good condition, and
retains masonry of the original tower on its summit. Archaeological deposits
relating to the original occupation and the configuration of the bailey ditch
and bank will also survive intact beneath the ground surface. The monument is
thought to be the original site of Spofforth Manor House, given to the
Northumberland Percy family at the time of the Norman Conquest.

Source: Historic England


Bastow, Dr M, AM107, (1985)
Knowles, G C, AM107, (1995)
North Yorks SMR, Y A S Inventory Record Card,
Thubron, S, AM12, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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