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Castle Hill, Bardsey
County: West Yorks
District: Leeds
Parish: Bardsey cum Rigton CP
Monument Number: ( 3 )
Castle Hill is situated on a hill overlooking the village of Bardsey cum Rigton to the south and Bardsey Beck to the east. The monument includes the remains of the motte and part of the surrounding bailey (English Heritage, 1992). Parch-marks of foundations were once visible on top of the eastern ward and a trial excavation by Y.A. Mawson, Bardsey Grange, before 1902, revealed walling, human remains and charred wood. Coins and stone [cannon] balls have been found. Traces of a wet ditch were found on the east side of the mound (Speight, 1902). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The English Heritage Scheduled Monument Description states that: 'The motte is of unusual form, consisting of two roughly rectangular platforms on an east to west alignment joined by a central causeway. Ditches flank the causeway which is c.8m wide. The motte itself measures c.100m long by c.30m wide and varies between 1m and 2m high. Partial excavations carried out in the late nineteenth century and in 1930 revealed the foundations of a square stone keep and pottery dating to the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. The motte is situated at the centre of a flat oval bailey whose scarped edge, in the medieval period, would have been crowned by a wall or, more likely, a timber palisade. Beyond the scarp lay a 20m wide berm surrounded by an outer ditch, part of which survives to the east of the site. Beyond this would have lain an outer bailey but this has now been largely built over. Platforms on the east side of the site indicate the presence of ancillary buildings within the bailey. These are overlain by ridge and furrow, the remains of medieval ploughing, showing that the site was abandoned early in its history. The pottery recovered from the site, which dates only from c.1175 to c.1200, also indicates that the period of occupation was short. Almost certainly, the castle was built by Adam de Bruce, an important North Yorkshire baron, who was granted the manor of Bardsey shortly after 1175 as part-compensation for the loss of this estates around Danby. The de Bruce family petitioned continually for the return of their northern lands and were finally successful in 1201. The manor of Bardsey then returned to the Crown and was subsequently granted to the monks of Kirkstall Abbey. The Castle would have been abandoned at about this time, having been in use for only a quarter of a century' (English Heritage 1992). English Heritage opinion (1994) is that the site certainly extends beyond the current bounds of the scheduled area. Scheduled 2/1/1937 as Co. No. WY257. Scheduling amended 26/11/1970 and 1/4/ 1974. Scheduling affirmed 13/7/1992. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The medieval earthwork motte and surrounding banks are clearly visible on aerial photographs held within the HER's collection. During the NMP Lower Wharfedale Air Photograph Interpretation project in 2003-4, English Heritage commented that the motte consists of a large sub-rectangular mound (121m by 45m) which is orientated west/east. Towards the middle there is a causeway where two ditches almost divide the mound completely in half. On the larger (easterly) platform there are several pits and some banks (earthwork) which may in fact be evidence of excavations on the site. The latter feature may also indicate the position once occupied by the keep (which is no longer visible on the air photographs). To the west of the motte there is a short section of bank (earthwork) (Van Den Toorn, 2003: NMR Unique Identifier 53111). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The site was visited on the 9th April 2008 by R.Mann and N.Manning of WYAAS. Access could not be gained to the site as it is in private ownership, however, a number of photographs were taken from the public footpath which runs along the southern boundary of the site. The site appeared to be in a reasonable condition; it is covered with rough grass and shrubs are growing around a number of trees on the motte. There was also evidence of rabbit activity on the bailey. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- During January 2012 Archaeological Services WYAS (ASWYAS) undertook both magnetometer and earth resistance surveys at Bardsey Castle (PRN 3) in order to provide information on the likely presence and extent of any archaeological remains associated with the motte and bailey castle, which is a scheduled ancient monument. Several high resistance anomalies, thought to relate to structural material, were identified on top of the motte, with a concentration of anomalies which are likely to be archaeological in origin (although no clear archaeological pattern is visible). To the north-east of the motte, parallel faint linear trends were identified which are indicative of medieval/post-medieval ridge and furrow cultivation. On the whole, however there is little correlation between the results of the survey and an earthwork survey of the monument undertaken shortly afterwards (See below). For further details please see the final report (ASWYAS, 2013) a copy of which is on file in West Yorkshire HER. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The site was visited by I.Sanderson and R.Remmer on the 18th January 2012 to view the site and to discuss the geophysical survey which was in progress that day, carried out by ASWYAS (see above). The banks of the motte were noted to be more 3-4 metres high (rather than 1-2m as noted in the scheduling description) and are very steep for earthwork banks. Stones are visible in the scarp bank at irregular intervals and it is possible that the scarp is so steep because it represents collapsed masonry. The top of the motte is relatively flat but there are distinct lumps and bumps at the far western end and there is the remains of a small rectangular structure defined by low earthen walls on the eastern part of the motte (Is this the stone tower mentioned in the EH description?). The shape of the building is definitely not square, but rather (from memory) c.3-4m east to west and 6-8m north to south. The far eastern end of the scheduled area to the east of the public footpath is currently covered in scrub and under apparently different ownership. There is a small wooden stable building scarped into the northern edge of the bailey. The shallow platforms mentioned by EH to the east of the site are not apparent (perhaps they are under the scrub to the east). The ridge and furrow is not clearly visible, although it may be discerned with the eye of faith. To the west of the motte, in the scheduled area, there is a slight but distinct bank curving around the western and southwestern end of the motte (shown on the 1:2500 OS map). The northern edge of the scheduled area is defined by a distinct scarp (shown on the 1:2500 OS map) which drops to the north down to a distinct hollow-way (but this is currently very overgrown). This hollow-way is shown as a lane on the 1:2500 OS map (from the 1950s), but as of 2012 does not appear to have been used for some years). The EH description mentions a 20m wide berm and ditch, but this would appear to be only at the eastern end of the site and was not visible due to scrub when visited in 2012. The site would benefit from an archaeological earthwork survey. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In 2012 Archaeological Services WYAS undertook an archaeological earthwork survey of the castle site. During this work, a number of previously unrecorded building platforms were identified and recorded with a particular concentration on the eastern side of the motte. A series of low banks which partially overlay one of the building platforms, appear to represent upcast from the 1930 excavation. On the southern side of the site, a ramp may have provided access to a possible entrance, although this could be the result of later activity. It appears that the motte may have originally been constructed as two separate mounds, perhaps connected via a wooden bridge or drawbridge. This is suggested by the lower ground level of the causeway, which is likely to be the result of the slumping of material piled up across the ditch dividing the two halves of the motte, at a later date than their original construction. It is also interesting to note that there appear to be two phases of ridge and furrow surviving on the site. On its northern and south-western side, the alignment of the furrows respect the motte, and must post-date its occupation. At the eastern end of the site, however a number of furrows are visible running up to the base of the motte's steep eastern scarp. This clearly would not provide any space for a plough team to turn, if this marked the end of these furrows, and it seems likely that the furrow continued westwards beneath the motte. (ASWYAS, 2012)

Sources
Publication
Speight, H., 1902. Lower Wharfedale. pp.451-2
Photograph
HER Digital Photographs/Bardsey cum Rigton/Bardsey Castle PRN 3 taken 09-04-2008 by WYAAS
Photograph
HER Digital Photographs/Bardsey cum Rigton/Bardsey Castle PRN 3 visited 18.01.2012 by IS and RR
Publication
Victoria County Histories, 1912. Yorkshire, vol.2 pp.25-6
Drawing, sketch
Johnston, H., 1669. Man. Top. Yorks., C13, folio 204r. Bodleian Library
AP
DNR 1059/22-27; CUC CIA/057
Map
Bardsey cum R. B(1815), field nos.186.B,187.B; Bardsey cum R. A(1735), no.4.A
Map
Bardsey Tithe Award map, field nos. 195, 196
Desc.text
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 07/06/2002, Site visit report
Desc.text
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 07/06/2002, Site damage report
Correspondence
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 26/06/2002, Correspondance with site owner with regard to damage
Desc.text
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 25/09/2002, Site visit report
Photograph
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 25/09/2002, Site visit photographs
Desc.text
Van Den Toorn, D. (English Heritage NMP) 2003. 'NMR Complete Monument Report: Unique Identifier 53111'
Desc.text
English Heritage. 30/07/1992. Scheduling Notification for SAM 13292
AP
NMR 20353 (16/Aug/2005)
Publication
Whittaker, T.D., 1826. Loidis and Elmete.
Report
ASWYAS, 2013. 'Bardsey Castle: Geophysical Survey'
Report
ASWYAS, 2012. 'Bardsley Castle - Archaeological Earthwork Survey'
Drawing, plan
ASWYAS, 2012. 'Bardsley Castle - Archaeological Earthwork Survey'