Swine Giants Hill

Has been described as a Rejected Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameSwine Giants Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityEast Riding of Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishSwine

Giant Hill is 3.5m high, 60m long, east-west, and 32m wide. Although tradition suggests it is a prehistoric burial mound, excavations in 1919 and 1960 proved that it was constructed between 1350 and 1450. Its exact function remains uncertain though it may be a lookout for a deer park which is known to have lain to the south of the nunnery. (Scheduling Report as part of the Swine Nunnery)

A large flat-topped ditchless mound 3.6m high, with an earthen ramp forming an integral part of its eastern side. Excavations in 1960-61 by Varley uncovered a series of stakeholes on the perimeter of the mound, arranged in two concentric rings, 40ft and 46ft diameter. Their function was uncertain but probably structural, since they were removed before the completion of the upper part of the mound, the material for which was obtained in part fom the pond on its S.E. side. A central depression contained the debris of a building with a maximum width of 7ft. Pottery ranged from C13 to C15. The function of the mound is uncertain. Varley suggested it formed a look-out post but its position on low ground makes this unlikely. The O.S. classified it as a windmill or dovecot mount. (East Riding of Yorkshire SMR)

In the late 13th century deer were taken from Robert of Hilton's park at Swine. The park, which had evidently been disparked by the mid 15th century, may have lain south and west of the church around Giant hill, an artificial mound thought to date from the 14th or 15th century and possibly made as a look-out for hunting and fowling; in 1618 the mound stood in a large close called the Pighill and Appleyard which adjoined Park close. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

Called a motte in one entry in the East Riding of Yorkshire SMR but no one else seems to call this ditchless medieval mound a motte.

- 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 ReferenceTA131358
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  • Kent, G.H.R., 2002, 'Middle division: Swine' VCH Yorkshire: East Riding Vol. 7 online transcription
  • Pevsner, N. and Neave, D., 1995 (2edn), Buildings of England: Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (London ) p. 720
  • Neave, Susan, 1991, Medieval Parks of East Yorkshire (Univeristy of Hull) p. 52
  • Loughlin, Neil and Miller, Keith, 1979, A survey of archaeological sites in Humberside carried out for the Humberside Joint Archaeological Committee p. 60
  • Allison, K.J., 1976, The East Riding of Yorkshire (Making of the English Landscape) p. 93
  • Poulson, G., 1841, The History and Antiquities of the Seigniory of Holderness Vol. 2 p. 326, 330-1 online copy
  • Thompson, T., 1824, History of the church and priory of Swine p. 8


  • Varley, W.J., 1973, 'Giants Hill Swine: The Excavations of 1960-1' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 45 p. 142-8 (plans and illus)
  • 1963, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 41 p. 12
  • Sheppard, T., 1920, 'Congress of Archaeological Societies Nov. 28th, 1919, Report of the Earthworks Committee' Pamphlets Vol. 22 p. 16
  • Sheppard, T., 1920 March 22, 'Swine and its name' Eastern Morning News
  • T.S(hepard)., 1920, 'The Castles, Swine' Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society Vol. 23 p. 57-8
  • Sheppard, T., 1907, Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society Vol. 14 p. 46, 60
  • Sheppard, T., 1900, Pamphlets Vol. 2 p. 16


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 554 online copy