Castleton Castle Hill, Danby

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameCastleton Castle Hill, Danby
Alternative NamesCastleton; Daneby
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishDanby

Castleton was a motte castle devoid of a bailey. The motte is a horseshoe shape, and measures about 200ft from the north east to southwest by 160ft from north west to south east. The rampart, which carried the stockade, is still perfect on the western summit. On the south west it is enlarged to form a small hillock to bear a small flanking tower commanding the entrance, which was evidently on the site of the present one. This hillock and a similar arrangement which undoubtedly existed on the other side of the entrance is proof that no bailey existed (l'Anson).

The motte has an averaged height of 6.0m on the north side. Modern farm buildings occupy the summit, and there is no surviving evidence of either a keep, or a curtain wall. It projects from the hillside and is encompassed by an evidently dry ditch which embraces at the north east angle, natural scarp forming part of a general declivity on the north and west sides of the motte. The vulnerable south-east side of the site is protected by a strong bank on the counterscarp of the ditch. There is no evidence of a bailey (Field Investigators Comments–F1 RWE 25-JUL-6).

Cathcart King states that Castleton is mentioned in 1242, and notes that VCH records it as as a 'ruined peel' in 1336 (King, 1983).

Excavations in 1988 by S Sherlock on the castle ringwork revealed a series of post-holes and post-pads and a cobbled yard, all of uncertain date (Med. Arch., 1989). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

A small mound of uncertain date is visible from Station Road, but the motte in the PastScape record is a large platform, now occupied by a modern house, which is probably better described as a ringwork. This is probably a scarped natural feature.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ688081
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Latitude 54° 27' 49.73" Longitude 0° 56' 22.98"

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  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) passim
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 18, 20
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 28
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 515
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 162
  • Smith, A.H., 1969, Place Names of North Riding of Yorkshire (English Place-Name Society 5) p. 131
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 126
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1923, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 2 p. 333-4 online transcription
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 45
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 211-2 online copy
  • Atkinson, J., 1891, Forty Years in a Moorland Parish p. 280-3
  • Atkinson, J.C., 1891, Forty Years in a Moorland Parish (London: Macmillan and co.) p. 270- online copy
  • Atkinson, 1874, History of Cleveland, ancient and modern Vol. 1 p. 263-4
  • Whellan T, 1859, History and topography of the city of York and the North Riding of Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 782-3 online copy


  • Sherlock, S.J., 1992, 'Excavations at Castle Hill, Castleton, North Yorkshire' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 64 p. 41-7
  • 1989, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 33 p. 221 download copy
  • CBA Group 4 Register, 1989, 'Castleton, N. Yorkshire NZ688081' CBA Forum (newsletter for CBA Yorkshire) p. 19-20 (brief excavation report)
  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • I'Anson, W.M., 1913, 'The castles of the North Riding' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 22 p. 337-40 (plan)
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 214 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1881, 'The castles of England and Wales at the latter part of the twelfth century' The Archaeological Journal Vol 38 p. 340 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1895, Thoresby Society Miscellanea 2 (Thoresby Society 4) p. 182 online copy


  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 585-6 online copy