Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill motte and site of a World War II gun emplacement

A Scheduled Monument in Maryport, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7121 / 54°42'43"N

Longitude: -3.5012 / 3°30'4"W

OS Eastings: 303382.451079

OS Northings: 536261.059122

OS Grid: NY033362

Mapcode National: GBR 3FZY.SN

Mapcode Global: WH5YB.6T0J

Entry Name: Castle Hill motte and site of a World War II gun emplacement

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1970

Last Amended: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019209

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32853

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Maryport

Built-Up Area: Maryport

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Maryport St Mary with Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Castle Hill motte,
a 12th century medieval castle, together with the foundations of a World War
II gun emplacement located on the summit of the motte. The motte is
strategically situated at the end of a ridge overlooking a horseshoe bend in
the River Ellen close to the river's mouth, and overlooks the point where an
earlier Roman road crossed the river. The motte is surrounded by a ditch on
all sides except the west where defence is afforded by the steeply sloping
hillside. On the summit of the motte there are the concrete foundations of a
World War II gun emplacement which guarded the approaches to Maryport harbour.

Property boundaries on the monument's northern side and a modern wall on the
monument's western side are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath these features is included.

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 gun emplacement on the summit of Castle Hill motte formed part of the
defences of Maryport harbour and its approaches during World War II. Despite
the construction of the gun emplacement on its summit, Castle Hill motte and
its surrounding defensive ditch survives reasonably well and remains a good
example of this class of monument. The remains of the gun emplacement are a
rare survival of the artillery defences which were employed at strategic
points along the Cumbrian coast, and will add greatly to any further study
of the World War II defences in this area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bailey, J B, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Notes on Roman Roads at Maryport and on the Netherhall Collection, , Vol. XXVI, (1926), 415-9
Perriam, D R, Robinson, J, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. Extra Series.' in The Medieval Fortified Buildings Of Cumbria, , Vol. XX1X, (1998), 19
SMR No. 827, Cumbria SMR, Mote Hill, Castle Hill motte, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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