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Name:Tadcaster motte and bailey castle
NY SMR Number:MNY20688
Type of record:Monument
Last edited:Feb 17 2017 1:31PM

Protected Status

  • Conservation Area: Tadcaster Conservation Area
  • Scheduled Monument () 26941: Tadcaster Motte and Bailey Castle
Grid Reference:SE 485 435
Parish:Tadcaster [8073]; Selby

Monument Type(s):

Associated Finds

  • JAR (1st CENTURY to 2nd CENTURY - 1 AD to 200 AD)
  • SHERD (1st CENTURY to 2nd CENTURY - 1 AD to 200 AD)

Other References/Statuses

Full description

Medieval motte and bailey earthworks now reduced in size, including the southern parts of the bailey having been built over. The earthworks include the remains of Civil War modifcations for artillery connected with the occupation of the castle by Lord Fairfax in 1642. (1)

Archaeological recording by Archaeological Services WYAS during 1997 recorded a series of 15 distinct stratified layers within a 2.6m high section of the motte that had been exposed on the eastern side of the monument. These were composed of a series of sandy silts and buried soil horizons with limestone inclusions. A pair of turf layers may have been used to stabilise the base of the mound at Tadcaster. The buried soil horizons may also suggest that there was a break in the overall construction programme. A series of three residual Roman pottery sherds were recovered from the exposed section, whilst another sherd was recovered from the small modern pit that had been excavated in the earthworks. These are generally of 2nd century date. (2)

An excavation near to the river bank in 2016 revealed the foundations and floors of post medieval cottages demolished in the 1960's. During the excavation further information regarding the modification of the motte was recorded. The eastern part of the motte was probably cut away providing a site for the construction of the cottages, and then been subject to gradual erosion. The Roman pottery assemblage foiund across the whole site, suggested that the Roman settlement of Tadcaster was located around a crossing point in this area. The positions of the finds of medieval pottery supported the assumed boundary of the motte, and the original surface of the motte was identified in one trench. The depth of the soil around the established extent of the motte suggests that it had been surrounded by a ditch which has been filled in with material from the motte. (3)

<1> Ordnance Survey, Various, Ordnance Survey Record Card, SE44SE006 (Card Index). SNY1.

<2> Archaeological Services WYAS, 12/1997, Tadcaster Castle Motte, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. Archaeological Recording (Report). SNY19253.

<3> Archaeological Services WYAS, 07/2016, Tadcaster Riverbank Archaeological Dig Project. Archaeological Excavations (Report). SNY22102.

Sources and further reading

<1>SNY1 - Card Index: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Record Card. Various authors. SE44SE006.
<2>SNY19253 - Report: Archaeological Services WYAS. 12/1997. Tadcaster Castle Motte, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. Archaeological Recording. Roberts, I. Printout.
<3>SNY22102 - Report: Archaeological Services WYAS. 07/2016. Tadcaster Riverbank Archaeological Dig Project. Archaeological Excavations. Firth, J; Williams, D. 2016/08/04.

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