Yafforth Howe Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameYafforth Howe Hill
Alternative NamesJaford; Iaford
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishYafforth

The remains of a motte castle known as Howe Hill, located in low lying land in the flood plain of the River Wiske. The motte is an artificial mound built on the top of a natural rounded knoll. It is a flat topped mound 65m in diameter at the base and 25m across on the top. It stands 4.5m high above the top of the knoll. The base of the motte is surrounded by a ditch with an outer counterscarp bank. The ditch is partly infilled in places, leaving a level terrace, although elsewhere, particularly around the south east side, both the ditch and the counterscarp bank survive as earthworks. There are traces of an entranceway through the bank and ditch at the north side. Originally there would have been a timber structure on the top of the motte and a further timber pallisade fence protecting the outer bank. Access to the motte would be via a timber superstructure leading from a strongly built gatehouse. The motte was probably built during the reign of King Stephen between 1135 and 1154. During this period there was political unrest throughout England and forts capable of garrisoning a small force of troops were established to maintain order. This motte commanded the crossing of the River Wiske by the old High Road from Northallerton to Catterick and Richmond. It was probably suppressed by Henry II during the late 12th century. (Scheduling Report)

A natural hillock formed into a motte some 75' diameter at the top. The motte rose some 16' above the ditch which encircled it, and part of the counterscarp bank of which still remains on the north and south sides. Probably erected during the reign of Stephen, 1135-1154. There was no bailey. (PastScape ref. l'Anson, 1913)

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 ReferenceSE346950
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Photograph by Peter E Presford. All rights reservedView full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 20' 57.85" Longitude -1° 28' 5.67"

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  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 250
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 114
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 54
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 24
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 301 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 528
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 351
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 172, 174 online transcription
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 23


  • Butler, Lawrence, 1994, 'The Origins of the Honour of Richmond and its Castles' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 69-80 (Reprinted in Liddiard, Robert, (ed), 2003, Anglo-Norman Castles p. 91-103 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press))
  • I'Anson, W.M., 1913, 'The castles of the North Riding' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 22 p. 398-9 (plan)

Primary Sources

  • Brown, Wm, 1890-1, 'Pedes Finium Ebor.' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 11 p. 184 no. XIX (mention in feet of fines of 1197-8) online copy
  • 1898, (reprinted 1929), Feet of Fines of the ninth year of the reign of King Richard I, A.D. 1197 to A.D. 1198 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 23) p. 126-7 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. 633 online copy