Ancient Monuments

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Hamilton Low Parks, motte

A Scheduled Monument in Hamilton North and East, South Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.7861 / 55°47'9"N

Longitude: -4.0318 / 4°1'54"W

OS Eastings: 272686

OS Northings: 656623

OS Grid: NS726566

Mapcode National: GBR 018J.XP

Mapcode Global: WH4QQ.1TCN

Entry Name: Hamilton Low Parks, motte

Scheduled Date: 26 February 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10726

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Hamilton

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Hamilton North and East

Traditional County: Lanarkshire


The monument comprises the remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle, surviving as substantial earthworks and as buried archaeology, together with an area enclosing the outer defences.

The site is located 160m SW of a crossing on the Clyde, although the setting is now divorced from the river by the M74 motorway. The artificially constructed motte, situated in a slight rise at 25m OD in the haugh-land of the Clyde, is a flat-topped mound with considerably spread slopes. Its maximum height above the adjacent ground level is 3m, while the diameter of the top is around 18m. The summit would have been accessed from a small bailey, which is stepped down from the summit on the E side. A ditch would have enclosed the earthwork, although there is no surface trace of this now. The site is currently cloaked in dense vegetation.

The site is believed to have formed part of an early medieval demesne of the kings of Strathclyde. Until 1922, the 11th-century Nethertoun Cross stood some 60m N of the motte, and the area between the two has long been considered to be the old toun of Cadzow (which was the original name for Hamilton). The motte is likely to be the documented royal residence in which both David I (1124-53) and Alexander III (1249-86) held court. By the 15th century the settlement focus had shifted 700m to the S, to the location where Hamilton Palace and Collegiate church later developed. The motte may have been redundant by this time.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. The area is irregular on plan, with maximum dimensions of 140m E-W by 155m N-S, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The modern fences are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the well preserved remains of a documented, early royal castle, in association with an important pre-burghal settlement. The site has the potential to provide information on the development and form of such earthwork castles, on a site with likely pre-feudal origins. The monument is also likely to contain evidence which would inform a wider understanding of modest royal castle and court sites of this period. The immediate surrounding area has the potential to provide important archaeological information regarding the infrastructure of such residences, notably the remains of domestic and ancillary ranges.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NS75NW4.


Pringle D 1992, CADZOW CASTLE AND THE CASTLE OF HAMILTON, Chateau Gaillard XV, 277-94.

Stell G 1985, 'Provisional list of mottes in Scotland'. In Simpson G G and Webster B, 'Charter evidence and the distribution of mottes in Scotland', in Stringer K J ed. 1985, ESSAYS ON THE NOBILITY OF MEDIEVAL SCOTLAND, Edinburgh.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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