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Historic England Research Records

Castle Hill

Hob Uid: 1032951
Location :
Kirklees
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SE1528014110
Summary : Deserted Medieval borough, probably in existence by 1294 and abandoned by 1634. Located on documentary evidence to the outer ward of the 12th-century castle. Earthworks within the outer ward are probably post medieval ridge-and-furrow.
More information : On the basis of documentary evidence, it has been claimed that a medieval borough existed within the outer ward of the castle (SE 11 SE 24) at Almondbury (1a). More recently, Stephen Moorhouse has suggested that it was in existence by 1294, and remained in use through the 14th and 15th centuries, but had been abandoned probably by the 16th century and certainly by 1634. The principal evidence for this is as follows. In 1294 Henry de Lacy II was granted a weekly market and yearly fair at Almondbury in the vill. The 1322 grave's accounts record the existence of a number of burgage plots in the castle, whilst later accounts show that certain plots were still occupied in 1420-21. A further reference in 1341 records the existence of eighteen and five-sixths burgage plots at Almondbury, but does not specify that they lay within the castle. The borough's precise location and the terminus ante quem for its abandonment are both given by a map of Almondbury in 1634, which has the words `The scite of towne' written across the area of the outer ward.

Moorhouse has further claimed that the main street, plus boundaries of individual burgage plots running off at right angles, survive in the castle's outer ward as slight earthworks. However, he also states that the area of the ward seems too small to have contained all the burgage plots recorded in 1341, and sugests that some of those referred to may therefore have been located in Almondbury village (area SE 1615) (1b, 1c).

Excavations and geophysical survey were carried out within the ward interior by WJ Varley between 1969 and 1972. Very few data have so far been published, but Varley states that the outer ward went of use as part of the castle about 1260, after which it was put down to agricultural use (1d). According to Moorhouse, one of Varley's trenches was sited across two tenement boundaries, and also located the post-holes of a timber building, a cess pit, and large quantities of 14th-century pottery, although Varley did not appreciate the significance of what he had found (1c).

The documented site of the town is already part of Scheduled Ancient Monument number West Yorkshire 58/RSM 13297. The essence of Moorhouse's claims have been incorporated within the latest description of the monument (1e).

The outer ward of the castle is centred at SE 1528 1411, and was surveyed by RCHME in 1995 as part of its overall survey of Castle Hill. The survey suggested that the earthworks within the ward's interior claimed as representing the layout of the borough are in fact a furlong of probably 18th- or 19th-century ridge-and-furrow ploughing cut by an area of modern wear caused by the passage of visitors to the site passing through the entrance to the outer ward of the castle en route to Castle Hill Hotel and the Victoria Tower via the gate into the middle ward. This interpretation of the earthwork evidence is supported by late 19th/early 20th-century Ordnance Survey map evidence (1f, 1g) which shows the outer ward as a series of enclosed fields, probably farmed from the now demolished Castle Hill Top Farm at SE 1533 1405. However, this interpretation of the earthworks does not disprove the identification of the ward as the site of the borough suggested by the documentary evidence; it simply means that there is no surface evidence to substantiate the siting. The area of the ward is under grass, and in use as a public open space.

Full details of the survey, including a plan at 1:500 scale, and a detailed earthwork account (1h), are contained in the full site survey archive in the NMR. (1)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Marcus Jecock/04-JUL-1995/RCHME: Castle Hill (Almondbury) Survey
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Source Number : 1a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Armitage, ES and Montgomerie, DH 1912. `Ancient Earthworks', in VCH Yorkshire, vol 2, 24
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury/ink survey
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury, showing lower flanks of slopes/ink survey
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury, northern end of hillfort/pencil survey
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury, southern end of hillfort/pencil survey
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury (Part I)
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury, overlay showing excavation trenches, erosion and vegetation cover
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Source Number : 1b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Faull, ML and Moorhouse, SA (eds) 1981. West Yorkshire: an archaeological survey to AD 1500, 737-38
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Source Number : 1c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Moorhouse, SA 1981. The medieval borough on Castle Hill, Almondbury (unpublished typescript in W Yorks SMR)
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Source Number : 1d
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Varley, WJ 1973. Castle Hill, Almondbury. A brief guide to the excavations, 1939-72, 28-34
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Source Number : 1e
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage SAM Amendment (RSM 13297), 10 March 1992
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Source Number : 1f
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ordnance Survey 25" First Edition, Yorkshire CCLX.3, 1893
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Source Number : 1g
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ordnance Survey 25" Second Edition, Yorkshire CCLX.3, 1906
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Source Number : 1h
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHME 1996. Castle Hill, Almondbury, West Yorkshire. Archaeological Survey Report (Part I)
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Source : Castle Hill, Almondbury, showing lower flanks of slopes/pencil
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Deserted Settlement
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Ridge And Furrow
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 13297
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WY 58
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 11 SE 25
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: CASTLE HILL (ALMONDBURY) SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-07-04
End Date : 1995-09-28