Catterick Palet Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameCatterick Palet Hill
Alternative NamesPallet Hill; Mons Palatinus
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishCatterick

There is no known documentary reference specifically to a castle within Catterick village. Any references to medieval castles at Catterick are usually thought to apply instead to the larger Castle Hills motte and bailey nearly 2km to the south east which is scheduled as SM 34720. The motte and bailey in the village is thought to be a short lived adulterine (unlicensed) castle built to control the Great North Road which passed through the village immediately to the east. It was probably built by the Earl of Richmond, Alan the Black, during the reign of Stephen (1135-1154), and dismantled by order of Henry II. Stephen's reign was dominated by civil war against Empress Matilda and saw many unlicenced castles built, often with the purpose of extracting money from travellers and the local population. The motte may have been modified from a natural hillock, but it has also been suggested that it was modified from a prehistoric burial mound known as a round barrow, and is marked as a tumulus on Ordnance Survey maps. The steep sided mound is sited on the edge of a natural rise in the land surface so that its top is approximately 8m-9m higher than the land to the east, but only about 5m higher than the land to the west. The top of the mound is approximately 12m by 7m and is orientated north-south. It is however, cut into by eroded footpaths running up to the summit from all sides. Showing as earthworks and the occasional exposed stone, there are hints that beneath the turf there are stone footings or the remains of walling The churchyard to the south west is believed to have been the castle's bailey. It has sharply defined north eastern and south eastern sides with scarps some 3m-4m down to the east and south. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The scheduling report gives a rather fanciful history. This is a fairly usual motte and bailey beside a church and within a settlement. It was clearly the manorial centre. It may have been altered into a stronger castle either post-Conquest or in the mid C12. No licence was required for such building and the term adulterine means a castle had become 'tainted' by being used in a rebellion. Such manorial centres, regardless of form, were a centre for tax and toll collection, although there is some benefit in having a safe retreat from riot for over zealous tax collectors.

- 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 ReferenceSE239980
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