Low Coppice Fort

Has been described as a Questionable Uncertain

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameLow Coppice Fort
Alternative NamesTilberthwaite; Tillesbure; Tillesburc
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishConiston

Natural fort or refuge of possible C12 date. The feature is a natural stronghold and was probably used as a place of refuge and could conceivably be of any date. Excavations here in 1922 revealed dwelling sites at Low Coppice, Tilberthwaite, suggestive of a temporary occupation site. (PastScape)

Occupation floors recorded at Tilberthwaite on a site which is inferred to have been a hillfort, possibly of C12 origin-the name "Tillesburc" occurs in a document of 1157-63. The site is naturally defensible and needs no ramparts to make it a stronghold. Several of the rock hollows were excavated and found to contain a 2 in thick stratum of disturbed whitish grey sandy clay in which there are small flakes of stone and fragments of charcoal. This level underlies 8 in of black vegetable soil and overlies 4 in of dark grey sandy clay. No pottery or relics were found. According to OS the remains resemble earlier hut floors of the Mardale Castle Crag and possibly the Cater rock-huts of Peel Island. (Lake District HER)

Gatehouse Comments

This seems an odd record from the PastScape (presumably based on Collingwood) and no other authority has mentioned such a site. This is not an area much affected by Scottish raids. The C12 reference is in a royal confirmation of a boundary division and merely shows there was a notable feature here at that time; Indeed it seems more likely this boundary feature was old at that time. A medieval date for the occupation evidence found at the site seems unlikely with pre-historic seemingly more probable. However a raid of any date may have resulted in the local population taking to the hills generally and this site may well have been such a refuge.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY308010
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  • Collingwood, W.G., 1923, 'Tillesburc' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 23 p. 138-41 online copy
  • 1923, Report of Congress of Archaeological Societies p. 38

Primary Sources

  • Farrer, W., 1902, 'The Lancashire Chartulary' in Lancashire Pipe Rolls and early Lancashire Charters p. 310-14 online copy