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Historic England Research Records

Beacon Hill

Hob Uid: 60320
Location :
North Yorkshire
Ryedale
Pickering
Grid Ref : SE7928084430
Summary : Motte, probably a siege castle, surviving as an earthwork though severely damaged by modern installations. The natural topography of a hill was modified, cutting back the sides to create a steep-sided mound topped by a low bank, and surrounded by a ditch and outer bank. The top of the bank is roughly oval in plan, 30m North-South by 25m East-West. The South and South-Eastern section has been disturbed by the construction of Royal Observer Corps posts sited on the mound. The ROC occupied the mound from at least 1937-1991. The base of the mound is 70m in diameter, and is surrounded by a largely infilled ditch, around which are the fragmentary remains of a bank. Scheduled.
More information : [SE 79288443] Beacon Hill [T.I.] Castle Mound [G.T.] (1)

Beacon Hill, a supposed Motte & Bailey Castle. Motte 14' high with traces of breastwork. Area on top 110' x 80'. Traces of a ditch, but
no sign of a building. Possibly a siege-work. (2)

A motte, as described, with no trace of a bailey. Published survey
(25") revised. (3)

Beacon Hill is a prominent summit on the west side of Pickering Beck at 59 m OD, commanding a wide outlook and an uninterrupted view of Pickering Castle, 550 m to the east.

The earthworks consist of a scarped mound, up to 3.8 m high, around the crest of which is the remains of a bank, 0.7 m high internally; on the west side this bank is missing but it is clear elsewhere. The area enclosed measures approximately 29 m from the north-east to south-west and about 24 m transversely. Around the foot of the mound are the remains of a ditch; on the north and north-east sides this is visible only as a strip of lush vegetation but on the south west and south sides it survives as a slight earthwork. To the south it is obscured by recently constructed agricultural buildings but air photographs of 1945 (4a) show it very clearly. To the east the ditch turns as a dog-legged hollow running down the hillside; while superficially similar to a hollow way, this feature is probably a drainage ditch and field boundary of later date than the other earth- works. Fragmentary remains of an outer bank survive on the east-north -east and west-south-west sides, up to 0.4 m high. There seems to have been an entrance into the earthwork on the south-east (4b-c); the evidence for this has been much disturbed but there is certainly a break in the bank on the summit of the mound here. To the north and east of the mound there are the remains of cultivation in the form of fragmentary ridge-and-furrow and slight lynchets.

The earthworks have suffered serious disturbance from a series of land drains which cross the whole site, from the construction of observation posts during the Second World War and later from cultivation and from the construction of agricultural buildings. The earthworks described above are the remains of a small ringwork
castle, almost certainly thrown up to observe Pickering Castle itself during a siege (4d-g) though no documentary evidence for such an event is known and it cannot be closely dated. Jeffry's Map of Yorkshire (1770) labels the hill simply as a "Beacon".

Surveyed at 1:500 and detailed archive account prepared. (4-4g)

SE 796 846. Earthwork on Beacon Hill. Scheduled no. NY/540. (5)

SE 79288 84439. See List entry for details (1019091) (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1952
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Source Number : 2
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Hayes, RH 1952 OS Hon Correspondent 6"
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Source Number : 4f
Source : Antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 106-112
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 33, 1959
Source Number : 4g
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) : 523
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage, SAM List, North Yorkshire, March 1994, p 47
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Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Amended 07-Jul-2000
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Source : Beacon Hill/ink survey
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Source : Beacon Hill
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Source : Beacon Hill/pencil survey
Source details :
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Source Number : 2a
Source : The Victoria history of the county of York, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 123
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 BHPritchard/14-NOV-1967/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigation
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Humphrey Welfare and Mark Bowden/04-05-FEB-1988/RCHME: Beacon Hill, Pickering Survey
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Source Number : 4a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : 106G/LA/123, 3035-6; 106G/LA/120, 2139
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Source Number : 4b
Source : The Builder
Source details : Clark, G T, "Earthworks of the English Period"
Page(s) : 585-6
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 32, 1874
Source Number : 4c
Source : Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 2
Source details :
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Source Number : 4d
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Armitage, E S, 1912. The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles John Murray London (85)
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Source Number : 4e
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 303-99
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22, 1913

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C12 or 13
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Motte, Siege Castle, Ringwork
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : 1937-1991
Monument End Date : 1991
Monument Start Date : 1937
Monument Type : Royal Observer Corps Site
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : 1951-1965
Monument End Date : 1965
Monument Start Date : 1951
Monument Type : Orlit Post
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 540
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 32662
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1019091
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 78 SE 14
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 78 SE 14
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1967-11-14
End Date : 1967-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BEACON HILL, PICKERING SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-02-04
End Date : 1988-02-05