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Historic England Research Records

Castle Hills

Hob Uid: 52302
Location :
North Yorkshire
Grid Ref : SE2545097070
Summary : Medieval motte and bailey castle, surviving as an earthwork. The average height of the motte is 3.5 metres, and its circumscribing ditch attains a maximum depth of 1.6 metres. The bailey lies to the south, with an outer ward further south. The castle was probably built 1120-25 but this may have been a remodelling of a pre-Conquest defensive site. Roman remains were found during an excavation of the site. Until 1994 an RAF airfield covered the site (the airfield is now part of an army barracks area -see SE 29 NW 37). The RAF use of the site involved the building of a gun emplacement on the south part of the castle (see SE 29 NE 15) but it is still well preserved.
More information : (SE 25459707) Castle Hills (NR)
(Supposed site of Norman Castle) (1)

Well preserved bailey one of acre in area; motte much damaged. (2)

A motte and bailey which now falls on an RAF airfield. Although used as a crashed aircraft park, and as a battle-training ground, it is still largely intact. Average height of motte is 3.5m, and its circumscribing ditch attains a maximum depth of 1.6m. The east side of the bailey is formed by steep natural slopes of the Swale floodplain, supplemented by the remains of a bank 1.3m high along part of its length. South and west sides, being the most vunerable, are defended by a strong bank and ditch, the bank probably originally about 2.5m to 3m high. The south side, however, has been greatly spread to give access to the bailey, and both the SW and SE angles have been raised and distorted by the intrusion of concrete gun emplacements.
Published survey (25") revised. (3)

Roman remains were found in an excavation at Castle Hills where "the south rampart appears to have been thrown down to fill in the ditch, where the entrance probably was". The remains are in the British Museum. (4)

SE 255 971. Castle Hills. Scheduled No NY/299. (5)

Listed by Cathcart King. (6)

SE 25469706. It is thought that the castle was probably built 1120-25 but it may have been remodelled from a pre-Conquest defensive site. In 1940-1 the site was modified to provide RAF Catterick with defence against attack from low flying aircraft and ground assault by troops. The site can be roughly divided into three parts; an outer ward to the south, the bailey at the centre and the motte to the north east. The outer ward comprises a south facing enclosure defined by the former river cliff to the east and by embanked hedge lines to the south and west. A group of platforms along the southern side represent the remains of buildings associated with RAF Catterick. The bailey is roughly triangular in plan, with traces of a raised rampart around its edge, the corners rising higher as definite mounds. It would have contained the castle's great hall, kitchens and various other important buildings. The three corner mounds were modified between 1940-1 (SE 29 NE 15). The motte, which measures around 50-60 metres in diameter at its base and about 10-15 metres at its summit, is surrounded by a broad moat. It would originally have been surmounted by a timber tower or fortified enclosure. Scheduled. (7)

The motte and bailey are visible on air photograph. Also visible are a possible outwork or enclosure on the south side of the bailey, which appears to contain ridge and furrow. (8)

There is an early oblique photograph of this site which shows its condition before the Second World Ear modification were made. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" map, 1919
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Yorkshire, the North Riding
Source details :
Page(s) : 214
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1966
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator, RWE, 09-JAN-1973
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (H MacLauchlan)
Page(s) : 348
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6 - 1849
Source Number : 5
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details : North Yorkshire
Page(s) : 24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
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) : 519
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 30-Jul-03
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF/CPE/UK1884 4009 06-DEC-1946
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SE 2597/1 CCC9004 7506 10/02/1931
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Pre-Conquest
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Motte, Bailey, Enclosure, Ridge And Furrow, Hollow, Ditch
Evidence : Conjectural Evidence, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1120-25
Monument End Date : 1125
Monument Start Date : 1120
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Moat, Keep, Great Hall, Kitchen, Timber Framed Building, Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Ridge And Furrow, Ditch, Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 299
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 34720
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 29 NE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1391415
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE HILLS
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date :
End Date :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 29 NE 3
Start Date : 1973-01-09
End Date : 1973-01-09
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE HILLS/CATTERICK AIRFIELD
Start Date : 2015-01-01
End Date : 2015-12-31