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Historic England Research Records

Whorlton Castle

Hob Uid: 26817
Location :
North Yorkshire
Hambleton
Whorlton
Grid Ref : NZ4810002450
Summary : Remains of motte and bailey and later stone castle. These earthworks are of the early mount and bailey type, modified by the addition of a later stone keep. A ditch 60 feet wide, and 11 feet deep encompasses the motte, and a roughly rectangular bailey is attached to the north east and south east sides. Further earthworks may possibly indicate a settlement and fishponds. The gatehouse is a 14th century rectangular structure of dressed stone, with a projecting vice at the north west angle. About twenty four yards to the west are the remains of the castle, comprising some vaulted cellars, the largest of which measures 29 feet by 13 feet 9 inches. The castle was described as ruinous in 1343 but the date of dismantling is not known. A two-storeyed dwelling house was built against the north west end of the gate house at the end of the 16th century or beginning of the 17th century.
More information : [NZ 4808 0246] Whorlton Castle (NR) Remains of (NAT)
[NZ 4830 0262] Ancient Earthwork (NAT) (1)

These earthworks are of the early mount and bailey type, modified for the addition of a later stone keep. A ditch 60ft wide, and 11ft deep encompasses the motte, and a roughly rectangular bailey is attached tothe NE and SE sides. Further earthworks may possibly indicate a burgus and fishponds. The gatehouse is a C14th rectangular structure of dressed stone, with a projecting vice at the NW angle. About twenty-four yards to the W are the remains of the castle comprising some vaulted cellars, the largest of which measures 29ft by 13ft 9ins. The castle was described as ruinous in 1343 but the date of dismantling is not known. A two-storied dwelling house was built against the NW end of the gate house at the end of the C16th or beginning of the C17th. (2-3)

Published survey (OS 25" 1928) of the earthworks revised. Their general outline is correctly described by Authoritys 2 and 3. The defence of the motte, which is well preserved is supplemented by a strong bank on the counterscarp of the ditch, on all but the SE side, where it probably has been obliterated by the modern road. A breach in this bank, and a causeway across the ditch have been made on the SW side to provide modern secondary access. The bailey is enclosed by a dry ditch. In the N it joins a steep natural declivity, which affords the defence for this side of the bailey, and, in part, for the motte also. In the S it skirts the upper lip of a deeply incised water course, and is mutilated at the SE angle by a modern pond, now dry. Abutting the NE side of the bailey is a linear earthwork composed of a ditch between strong banks now somewhat lowered by cultivation. This probably comprises the northern boundary work of the burgus. It extends to NZ 4839 0271 where it joins a natural ravine orientated approximately N and S which, itself for about 100m may form part of the eastern limit. There or about 100m may form part of the eastern limit. There are no further identifiable remains of this outwork, and the southern extent of the burgus cannot be determined. Two fragments of apparently artificial bank, however, associated with a complex system of existing and dry water courses centred at NZ 4830 0632 may represent the SW angle. Further banks within the assumed area of the burgus are the probable remains of internal enclosures. A problematical feature is a broad rectangular ditch extending from NZ 4821 0255 to NZ 4825 0237. It cuts across two parallel banks on either side of the modern road, which are evidently an integral part of the castle earthworks, and presumably, therefore, post dates them. In formation it is characteristic of a fish pond, but its size appears prohibitive for such a purpose. Such a pond, however, could be fed by damming the stream at its southern end, and could be drained down the natural declivity at the northern end. There appears to be no logical reason for the inclusion of the feature in the castle defence system. The meagre remains of the castle itself are heavily overgrown, and the cellars are partially infilled by debris. See GPs AO/62/98/2 and 4 for two elevations of the gatehouse which is in the process of being renovated. Approach to the castle appears to have been by the route followed by the existing road from the E. A pronounced hollow way directed towards the SE angle of the bailey follows an impracticable course, and this feature is more likely to be a dried water course. (4)

Whorlton Castle is an early C12th motte and bailey, with attached 'burgus' or fortified village. (See NZ 40 SE 5). It was called the castle of Potto in 1216. The motte has been much lowered, probably in the reign of Richard II (1377-99) when a tower house and gatehouse were erected. (Remains described by Authorities 2 and 3 ). Remains of gatehouse Grade I. (5-7)

Whorlton Castle and earthworks, deserted medieval village and remains of church. Scheduled No NY/1199. (8)

Listed by Cathcart King. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 6" map sheet 1910-50
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the counties of England
Source details :
Page(s) : 42
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Vol(s) : Yorks 2, 1912
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Source : Whorlton Castle, Holy Cross Church, Whorlton village and environs
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Source : Whorlton Castle, masonry sheet/pencil survey
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Source : Whorlton Castle Gatehouse
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Source : Whorlton Castle, castle and area to east/pencil survey
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Source : Whorlton Castle, area south-east of castle/pencil survey
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Source : Whorlton Castle, heights plot
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Source : Whorlton Castle
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of the counties of England
Source details :
Page(s) : 310-11
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Vol(s) : Yorks NR 2, 1912
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : First OS Archaeology Field Investigator RWE
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Source Number : 5
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : Plan (W M I'Anson)
Page(s) : 396-7
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Vol(s) : 22, 1913
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Yorks Ruined Castles 1938 114-5 plan (J L Illingworth)
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Stokesley Rural District, Yorkshire North Riding, August 1965
Page(s) : 44
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Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage Scheduling Amendment 2/12/92
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Source Number : 9
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
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Page(s) : 528
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Vol(s) : 2
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Source : Whorlton Castle/ink survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Early C12th
Monument End Date : 1133
Monument Start Date : 1101
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 14th Century additions
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Castle, Undercroft, Gatehouse, Keep
Evidence : Ruined Building, Subterranean Feature
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : By 1628
Monument End Date : 1628
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Landscape Park
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Late 16th/Early 17th Centuryadditions
Monument End Date : 1633
Monument Start Date : 1567
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 115
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 1199
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 20519
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 333224
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 333225
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : AIP Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : E.36.0301
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 12052/14
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 12052/16
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 86643
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 40 SE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 26814
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 40 SE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1962-06-24
End Date : 1962-06-24
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, WHORLTON CASTLE & ENVIRONS
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31