Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

Alternative NamesCarlbury
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishHigh Coniscliffe

Butler suggests a low mound here is a potential castle site.

Gatehouse Comments

Gatehouse is not certain as to what Butler is referring but suspects, based on the sketch map in the article, he might mean a mound described as "Probable Bronze Age round barrow surviving as a plough-reduced earthwork. Slightly elongated mound, probably a large bowl barrow, measuring 38.5m in north to south diameter and 3m high and 42m in east to west diameter and 1.7m high, with no visible ditch" This seems a very unlikely castle site as it would be easier to build a castle within the Roman fort of Piercebridge where a settlement did exist and which was better sited to control the medieval crossing. (NB The Roman bridge, of which some remains survive, was not the medieval crossing site). Butler suggested a number of possible small sites, associated with Roman roads, on the boundary of the Honour of Richmond which attributed to the conquest and consolidation period of the newly formed lordship. In fact most of these sites do not appear to have medieval use and his argument about the way Norman authority was established in Richmondshire is probably incorrect. The suggestion that some early castle were built to control river crossings is made elsewhere (notably by Mary Higham for North Lancashire) but the actual evidence is often weak, certainly for England. This may suggest such sites were early, flimsy and soon abandoned or that the theory is flawed. However, few such sites have been thoroughly investigated.

- 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 ReferenceNZ218160
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Calculate Print


  • Gould, Chalkley, 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Durham Vol. 1 (London) p. 363 online copy


  • Butler, Lawrence, 1994, 'The Origins of the Honour of Richmond and its Castles' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 69-80 (Reprinted in Liddiard, Robert, (ed), 2003, Anglo-Norman Castles p. 91-103 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press))