Rothbury Haa Hill

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

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameRothbury Haa Hill
Alternative NamesThe Moot; Hall Hill
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishRothbury

A Norman castle is thought to have existed at Rothbury on the north bank of the River Coquet a little to the west of the church on a site now occupied by the churchyard. This site would therefore have been levelled and the mound destroyed when the new churchyard was laid out in 1869. It is most likely that the lord of the manor, Robert Ogle, built the castle in the early 12th century when he enclosed his great park on the slopes of the Simonside Hills. The exact history and fortunes of the castle are unknown but it has been equated with later references to a hall or manor house at Rothbury, indeed it is possible that “castle” may be an inflated term for what was always a house or hall. The lord?s house is mentioned in a valuation of the manor in 1310. In 1616, the manor house of Rothbury was known as Hallyard and in 1661 it was known as Rothbury Hall; it was still inhabited in c.1850. All that is known of its structure comes from an account of a view of the ruins in 1843 (now lost) which showed that part of the castle consisted of a square tower with east and west gables. The building was demolished in 1869 and its removal appears to have been particularly thorough as the foundations were dug out and the site levelled. Descriptions of this hall include massive walls and stone arched vaults, not unlike William de Valence?s prison at Rowebyre, which is mentioned in a documentary reference from 1256 (Dixon 1903, 371-2; Dodds 1940, 344). The presumed site of the castle is in the churchyard extension on the south-west side of Church Street, sitting on the highest part of a rise in the ground. Around the south side the River Coquet flows in a shallow bend and the rise overlooks a long stretch of the river valley to the west and would do so to the east, except that modern buildings on that side now block the view, giving it some defensive properties

(Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey)

When a Norman baron obtained possession of a manor, he usually erected therein a fortress; therefore, in the extensive and important manor of Rothbury there would no doubt be a stronghold of this description, and although no traces are now to be seen of such a building, tradition points to the burial ground known as the "Haa-Hill," a knoll overlooking the Coquet about fifty yards south-west of the Parish Church, as the site of that "brave castle," described by Camden to be part of the lordship of Rothbury, which on the attainder of the Earl of Northumberland in 1461, was granted for life to Sir Robert Ogle, warden of the East Marches. Our sketch shows Rothbury Hall, the church, and bridge, with the old lock-up on the left, as they appeared in 1843. In 1661, "Rothbury Hall " was in the occupation of" William Thirlwall, gentleman." As late as the middle of last century the upper portions of the "old hall" were still inhabited, but in 1869, when the ground on which the ruins stood was being prepared to form an extension of the churchyard, its walls were razed to the ground–its foundations dug out and levelled up, and not a fragment is now to be seen of the massive masonry of its walls, its stone arched vaults, or strong dungeon chambers. (Dixon 1903)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNU057015
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 164-5
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 94
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 107
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 352
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 310
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 151-2
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1940, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 15 p. 343
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Dixon, D.D., 1903, Upper Coquetdale Northumberland: Its History, Traditions, Folk-lore and Scenery (Newcastle-upon Tyne: Robert Redpath) p. 371-2 online copy
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1897, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 328
  • Hodgson, J. and Laird, F., 1813, Beauties of England and Wales; Northumberland Vol. 12 p. 208


  • Hunter Blair, C.H., 1944, 'The Early Castles of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 22 p. 116-70 esp 165-6
  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 181
  • 1897, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 8 p. 101 (sketch plan) online copy


  • Northumberland County Council, 2009, 'Rothbury' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [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