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Historic England Research Records

Williams Hill

Hob Uid: 50888
Location :
North Yorkshire
Grid Ref : SE1250087250
Summary : The remains of a large ringwork and bailey castle built early in the reign of William Rufus (circa 1090 AD) and superceded by the late Norman castle (SE 18 NW 2) soon after 1180 AD. The enclosure is about 160 feet by 115 feet and it is 40 feet in height. It is defended by a ditch 20 feet wide with counterscarp banks 9 feet deep. A platform on the north west end of the enclosure may be the site of a wooden tower. The site of a small bailey to the south east is disputed. Scheduled.
More information : (SE 12508725) William's Hill (NR) (1)

William's Hill. A motte and bailey castle, the motte and inner bailey being well preserved, while the outer bailey survives only as a long strip with weak defences following the ridge to the E. The motte is sub-rectangular in shape with a broadened NW angle, its scarps rising to 60 ft above wide, deep ditches. (2)

William's Hill, A small but strong motte and bailey castle admirably sited to dominate both Wensleydale and Coverdale, and the ancient road from Richmond to Skipton. It was built early in the reign of William Rufus and was superseded by the late Norman castle (SE 18 NW 2) soon after 1180. The summit of the motte is about 160 by 115 ft and 40 ft in height, defended by a strong ditch 20 ft wide with counterscarp banks 9 ft deep. The NW end of the motte expands to form a platform with a base of 112 ft and a width of 55 ft, evidently the site of a wooden tower. To the SE of this platform the motte is hollowed to a small sunken court, 85 by 55 ft, which may have held the great hall of the castle. A small bean-shaped bailey, 1/2 acre in area, lies to the SE. Its rampart is still 13 ft in height above a partly water-filled ditch, with an entrance gap to the ESE. This is guarded by an outwork of triple banks now in poor condition. (3)

At William's Hill, a big powerful ringwork, the bank is so enormously thick at one point - 45 ft/14m across the top - as to suggest that the ring was formed by earthing up a small motte and bailey level with the top of its motte all round. (4)

Resurveyed at 1:2500. There is no outer bailey to the ringwork, and Allcroft's portrayal of one is based on modern field banks, and in error. I'Anson's interpretation, however, of the triple cross ridge banks to the SE as a defensive outwork to the main approach is undoubtedly correct. (5)

SE 125 872. William's Hill. Scheduled No NY/97. (6)

Listed by Cathcart King. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1956
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Source Number : 2
Source details : Earthworks of England 1908 444 Plan (A H Allcroft)
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : (W M I'Anson)
Page(s) : 363-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22 - 1913
Source Number : 4
Source : Chateau Gaillard, 3. Conference at Battle, Sussex, 19-24 September 1966
Source details :
Page(s) : 101
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1969
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 BHP 07-NOV-74
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details :
Page(s) : 27
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 521
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built c1090
Monument End Date : 1097
Monument Start Date : 1087
Monument Type : Ringwork And Bailey, Motte
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 97
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 18 NW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 18 NW 7
Start Date : 1974-11-07
End Date : 1974-11-07
Associated Activities : Primary, NEAR WILLIAM'S HILL
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31