Aldingham Motte

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameAldingham Motte
Alternative NamesMoat Hill
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishAldingham

Earthwork remains of a motte and bailey castle. The motte is sub-circular in plan with the south eastern side having been lost to erosion. To the north of the motte is a ditch extending from the south east to the north west with a possible causeway in the centre. Extending to the north east is another ditch. A bank to the west may be a post medieval field boundary utilising aspects of the earlier earthworks. Excavations in 1968 showed that this castle overlay a C12 ringwork, was modified in late C12/early C13 and was abandoned in mid-C13. Aldingham motte is 30ft high with a surrounding ditch 10ft deep on the south side and 8ft deep on the morth, varying from 15 to 20ft wide at the bottom. Some 40yds north of the mound there is a broad straight ditch 250ft long and 18ft wide at the bottom, extending at almost right angles to the sea cliff. (PastScape)

Despite some destruction by the sea, Moat Hill motte and bailey castle and ringwork survives reasonably well and remains largely unencumbered by modern development. Its earthworks in particular remain well preserved. It is a rare example, confirmed by excavation, of a motte and bailey castle which developed from an earlier ringwork. Excavation in 1968 was not total and the monument will retain significant archaeological evidence.

The monument includes the earthwork remains of Moat Hill, the 12th/13th century Aldingham motte and bailey castle, together with the early 12th century ringwork upon which the motte was later built. It is situated on a cliff top on the most prominent headland, other than Humphrey Head, on the northern coast of Morecambe Bay. It includes an earthen mound, the motte, which measures approximately 30m in diameter across its flat summit and stands about 5m high. Surrounding the motte is a substantial ditch 7.5m wide and up to 3m deep. On the seaward side of the monument, coastal erosion has destroyed part of the ditch and mound

To the north and north east of the motte and ditch there is a bailey which is protected by a ditch, now partly infilled, but measuring c.3.7m wide by 3.5m deep on the north east side. Limited excavation of the motte in 1968 as a response to erosion revealed three periods of occupation. The first consisted of an early 12th century ringwork measuring c.40m in diameter which was defended by an earth rampart c.3m high. Later in the 12th century the site was converted into a motte and bailey by infilling and heightening the ringwork to form a motte 4m high and by adding the bailey. In the late 12th/early 13th century the motte was further heightened and defended with a vertical timber revetment. The site appears to have been abandoned in the 13th century probably when the moated site at Moat Farm, which was home to the le Fleming family until they moved to Gleaston Castle, was built. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

A three phase site. Initially built as a ringwork, this was filled in to make a slope sided motte and finally an unfinished phase when the mound was a sheer sided timber revetted motte.

- 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 ReferenceSD277698
Latitude54.1195182800293
Longitude-3.10640001296997
Eastings327780
Northings469830
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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Books

  • < >Elsworth, D. and Mace, T., (eds.), 2015, Aldingham Motte, Cumbria and its environs in the Medieval period (Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society; Cumbria Archaeological Research Reports Series 5) < >
  • Grimsditch, Brian, Nevell, Michael and Nevell, Richard, 2012, Buckton Castle and the Castles of the North West England (University of Salford Archaeological Monograph 2) p. 104
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 375
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 12
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 274 (slight)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 61, 355
  • Jackson, M.J.,1990, Castles of Cumbria (Carlisle: Carel Press) p. 27
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 244
  • Clare, T., 1981, Archaeological Sites of the Lake District (Moorland Publishing)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 176-7
  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 352
  • (Davison), 1969, Archaeological Excavation 1968 (HMSO) p. 24
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: T. Wilson) p. 34-6, 142 (plan questionable)
  • Cowper, H. Swainton, 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks:- Lancashire North of the Sands' in Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), VCH Lancashire Vol. 2 p. 556-8 (plan) online copy
  • West, T., 1805, Antiquites of Furness (Ulverston) p. 388-91 online copy

Journals

  • Higham, Mary, 1991, 'The Mottes of North Lancashire, Lonsdale and South Cumbria' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 91 p. 79-90 (reprinted in Crosby, A.G. (ed), 2007, Of names and places: selected writings of Mary Higham (Nottingham: English Place-Name Society and the Society for Name Studies) p. 81-91) online copy
  • King, D.J.Cathcart, 1972, 'The Field Archaeology of mottes; Eine kurze übersicht' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 101-112
  • Davison, B.K., 1969, 'Aldingham - Motte' Current Archaeology Vol. 2 p. 23-4
  • Wilson, D.M. and Hurst, D.G., 1969, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 13 p. 258-9 online copy
  • Hobbs, 1962, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 62 p. 341-5 online copy
  • Dickinson, J.C., 1939, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 39 p. 304 online copy
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1926, 'An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sands' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 26 p. 52 online copy
  • Kelly, P.V., 1924, 'Aldingham Motte and Grange' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 24 p. 271-7 online copy
  • Kelly, P.V., 1924, 'Muchland and its Owners and Newbarns' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 24 p. 260-5 online copy
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1909, 'Aldingham Mote' The Antiquary Vol. 45 p. 252-8 online copy
  • 1906, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 6 p. 320-1 (plan) online copy
  • Cowper, H. Swainson, 1893, 'The ancient settlements, cemeteries, and earthworks of Furness' Archaeologia Vol. 53 p. 422-4
  • Ferguson, 1888, 'Two Moated Mounds, Liddell and Aldingham' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 9.2 p. 404-11 online copy
  • 1879-80, Proceedings of the Barrow Naturalists Club Vol. 3 p. 119-20
  • 1877-8, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 3 p. xxx online copy

Other

  • 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
  • Clare, T., 1982, A Report on Medieval Fortified Sites in Cumbria (Cumbria CC)