Maryport Castle Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameMaryport Castle Hill
Alternative NamesCanonby; Mote Hill
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishMaryport

Despite the construction of the gun emplacement on its summit, Castle Hill motte and its surrounding defensive ditch survives reasonably well and remains a good example of this class of monument. The remains of the gun emplacement are a rare survival of the artillery defences which were employed at strategic points along the Cumbrian coast, and will add greatly to any further study of the World War II defences in this area.

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Castle Hill motte, a 12th century medieval castle, together with the foundations of a World War II gun emplacement located on the summit of the motte. The motte is strategically situated at the end of a ridge overlooking a horseshoe bend in the River Ellen close to the river's mouth, and overlooks the point where an earlier Roman road crossed the river. The motte is surrounded by a ditch on all sides except the west where defence is afforded by the steeply sloping hillside. On the summit of the motte there are the concrete foundations of a World War II gun emplacement which guarded the approaches to Maryport harbour. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The castle is sometimes called a ringwork. There is no separate bailey described but the loop of the river Ellen cut off by the mound would be a good sized bailey although nothing archaeological is obvious on the air photo.

- 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 ReferenceNY033362
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  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Bailey, J.B., 1926, 'Notes on Roman roads at Maryport and on the Netherhall Collection' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 26 p. 415-9 online copy
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1923, 'Maryport and the Tenth Iter, with further notes on Roman Antiquities' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 23 p. 146-7 online copy


  • English Heritage, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Cumbria (Cumbria County Council) Download 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