Mowbray Castle, Kirkby Malzeard

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameMowbray Castle, Kirkby Malzeard
Alternative NamesMalesart; Malessart; Malzead; Malesharth; Malessard
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishKirkby Malzeard

Except for minor disturbance of the motte in the 19th century during antiquarian investigations, the motte and bailey at Kirkby Malzeard castle are well preserved; the below ground remains of medieval structures will survive on the motte and within the bailey while the buried landsurface beneath the motte will retain environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the castle was constructed. The castle retains important information about the form and structure and provides a valuable contribution to the study of medieval fortifications and their subsequent function in the landscape. The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the north edge of a spur, at the foot of which flows the Kex Beck. The area of the motte is heavily wooded and the bailey is under pasture. The northern end of the spur has been scarped to form a large but low motte, with a platform some 25m in diameter. The motte falls away sharply to the west, whilst to the south and east it slopes gently to the bailey. The bailey has a well defined rampart on the north west, and traces of rampart and ditch on the west and south sides. The exact line of its eastern defences is uncertain. The north of the monument is defined by the edge of Kex Beck which has at some time been revetted. The bailey measures 110m across. There is no stone fabric visible although excavations have revealed the existence of stone defences and evidence suggesting the presence of domestic buildings on the motte. The surrounding woodland was landscaped in post medieval times and the motte had a series of terraces and steps built onto it in the 19th century, of which little trace can now be seen. A road runs along the base of the motte to the south east, separating the motte from the bailey. The monument is first mentioned in 1131 and was one of the three Mowbray castles slighted after the insurrection of 1173-74

It was destroyed in 1176 on the order of Henry II, and does not appear to have been re-occupied since. It came into the hands of the Aislbie family in the 18th century and the surrounding woodland was landscaped to create rides and vistas. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceSE237745
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Primary Sources

  • Brewer, J.S. (ed), 1873, Giraldi Cambrensis opera: Speculum Ecclesiae; De Vita Galfridi Archiepiscopi Eboracensis sive Certamina Galfridi Eboracensis Archiepiscopi (Rolls Series 21.4) p. 366-7 online copy
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