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Scaleby Castle moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Scaleby, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.9537 / 54°57'13"N

Longitude: -2.8618 / 2°51'42"W

OS Eastings: 344906.519783

OS Northings: 562455.623046

OS Grid: NY449624

Mapcode National: GBR 8CG5.71

Mapcode Global: WH7ZR.0RJ9

Entry Name: Scaleby Castle moated site

Scheduled Date: 2 November 1950

Last Amended: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019762

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32896

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Scaleby

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Scaleby All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of the ruined portions
of Scaleby Castle, a class of medieval castle known as quadrangular, together
with the circular moat surrounding the castle and the island created by the
moat. It is located a short distance to the south of Scaleby village and
includes the upstanding remains of a medieval sandstone tower, an adjacent
polygonal tower, the gatehouse with flanking guardchambers and curtain wall,
an infilled inner moat which is considered to have surrounded or partially
surrounded the slightly elevated mound upon which the castle was constructed,
an extant circular outer moat and its outer bank, and the archaeologically
sensitive ground between the inner and outer moats where buried remains
associated with the medieval occupation of the castle are expected to survive.
The date of the earliest building at Scaleby is unknown, however, documentary
sources indicate that Robert de Tilliol was granted a licence to crenellate
his dwelling here, thought to be a farmhouse or grange, in 1307. During the
14th and 15th centuries a tower house was constructed, together with a
gatehouse and a polygonal tower which formed part of the curtain wall
enclosing a courtyard. By the late 16th/early 17th centuries the castle had
passed into the Musgrave family and a large portion was rebuilt by Sir Edward
Musgrave. During the Civil War it was beseiged by Parliamentarian forces on
two occassions and eventually in 1648 the victorious attackers set fire to the
castle. It was then sold to Richard Gilpin whose son, William, rebuilt the
western half of the south range in about 1685. By 1741 Scaleby Castle was
deserted and remained thus until repairs were undertaken in about 1800 by
Rowland Fawcett. The south range was rebuilt between 1835-40.
The upstanding medieval fabric is of red sandstone and consists of the remains
of a four-storey tower of which only two walls partially survive above ground
floor level. The tower has a thick chamfered plinth, chamfered string courses
to each floor and chamfered lancet windows. The interior has remains of a
vaulted lower chamber with the remains of a newel staircase in the thickness
of the wall. The adjacent two-storey polygonal tower has 15th century windows
to the ground floor and chamfered lancet windows on the first floor. The
two-storey gatehouse has a round-arched entrance with a recessed pointed arch
and portcullis room above. Flanking the gateway are vaulted guardhouses. A
crenellated angle turret stands at the castle's south west corner and beyond
that a length of crenellated curtain wall runs south to join the castle's 19th
century south wing. The site of the infilled inner moat is suggested by the
presence of poorly-drained areas on the castle's north and west sides; the
western arm of this moat was still functioning as a garden feature during the
mid-20th century. The date of construction of the circular outer moat is
unknown. It remains water-filled and is flanked by an outer bank.
Scaleby Castle is a Listed Building Grade I. The stables east of the castle,
the bridge over the outer moat north east of the castle, and the gate piers
and wall north of the castle are all Listed Buildings Grade II.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These include the east
and south wings which form the current residential parts of the castle, the
stables, outbuildings, a greenhouse and an access bridge to the east of the
castle, the stone bridge over the outer moat north east of the castle, a
wooden footbridge over the moat, the gate piers and wall north of the castle,
all modern walls, steps and railings, and the surfaces of all paths and access
drives. The ground beneath all these features is included within the

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

A quadrangular castle is a strongly fortified residence built of stone, or
sometimes brick, around a square or rectangular courtyard. The outer walls
formed a defensive line, frequently with towers sited on the corners and
occasionally in intermediate positions as well. Some of the very strongly
defended examples have additional external walls. Ditches, normally wet but
sometimes dry, were also found outside the walls. Two main types of
quadrangular castle have been identified. In the southern type, the angle and
intermediate mural towers were most often round in plan and projected markedly
from the enclosing wall. In the northern type, square angle towers, often of
massive proportions, were constructed, these projecting only slightly from the
main wall. Within the castle, accommodation was provided in the towers or in
buildings set against the walls which opened onto the central courtyard. An
important feature of quadrangular castles was that they were planned and built
to an integrated, often symmetrical, design. Once built, therefore, they did
not lend themselves easily to modification. The earliest and finest examples
of this class of castle are found in Wales, dating from 1277, but they also
began to appear in England at the same time. Most examples were built in the
14th century but the tradition extended into the 15th century. Later examples
demonstrate an increasing emphasis on domestic comfort to the detriment of
defence and, indeed, some late examples are virtually defenceless. They
provided residences for the king or leading families and occur in both rural
and urban situations. Quadrangular castles are widely dispersed throughout
England with a slight concentration in Kent and Sussex protecting a vulnerable
coastline and routes to London. Other concentrations are found in the north
near the Scottish border and also in the west on the Welsh border. They are
rare nationally with only 64 recorded examples of which 44 are of southern
type and 20 are of northern type. Considerable diversity of form is exhibited
with no two examples being exactly alike. With other types of castle, they are
major medieval monument types which, belonging to the highest levels of
society, frequently acted as major administrative centres and formed the foci
for developing settlement patterns. Castles generally provide an emotive and
evocative link to the past and can provide a valuable educational resource,
both with respect to medieval warfare and defence, and to wider aspects of
medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date
are considered to be of national importance.

Around 6000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry
ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. The majority served as
prestigious aristocratic or seigneurial residences with the provision of a
moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The
peak period during which moated sites were built lies between about 1250 and
1350. They exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes and form
a significant class of medieval monument which are important for an
understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside.
Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic
Scaleby Castle is a rare example of a circular moated site while the castle
itself is also a rare example of a quadrangular castle in north west England.
The ruinous portions of Scaleby Castle still retain substantial amounts of
upstanding medieval fabric. Its location close to the Scottish border meant
that it functioned as the first line of defence against attacking Scottish
armies and as a focal point for English military campaigns against the Scots
in the late 13th/early 14th centuries. As such it provides an insight into the
constantly changing design and defensive strategies employed in medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Scaleby Castle, , Vol. XXVI, (1926), 398-411
Graham, T H B, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Scaleby, , Vol. XXI, (1921), 139-151
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

Source: Historic England

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