Beaumont Motte

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameBeaumont Motte
Alternative NamesBeaumont on Eden
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishBeaumont

Despite construction of a 12th century church and churchyard on the summit of the mound, Beaumont motte survives reasonably well. It is the lowest of the medieval castles which lined the Eden Valley and was of strategic importance in controlling movement along the river valley. More important, however, was the role it played in imposing and demonstrating the new post-Conquest feudal order on the area. Limited excavation in the churchyard extension to the west of the motte in 1928 found evidence of the buried remains of Hadrian's Wall, and further evidence of the wall foundations, including the foundations of turret 70a, will exist beneath the motte.

The monument includes Beaumont motte castle, beneath which are the buried remains of a length of Hadrian's Wall and a turret, 70a. The site is strategically situated on a local high point overlooking the River Eden and lies in Beaumont village beneath St Mary's Church and part of the churchyard.

The motte is oval-shaped and measures approximately 45m north-south by 40m east-west and is up to 2m high. Beneath the motte there are the foundations of a turf section of Hadrian's Wall; an excavation in the churchyard's western extension a few metres to the west of the motte in 1928 proved the existence of these remains. It is also known that Hadrian's Wall changed alignment on the elevated ground beneath the motte. The Wall approached this high point on an approximate north west-south east alignment. On reaching the summit it swung 36 degrees to the west to follow an east-west alignment. At this angle turret 70a was constructed and its remains will also exist below the motte.

The motte castle is thought to have been constructed by the le Brun family during the 12th century. In 1306 Sir Richard le Brun was lord of Beaumont but removed his residence to Drumburgh Castle, for which he received a licence to crenellate in 1307

However, it is probable that the motte had been abandoned shortly before this date for it is known that Sir Elias de Thirwall had been appointed rector of St Mary's Church in 1296. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The building of the church probably marks the end of the castle as a residence and administrative centre. Curwen dated this as 'soon after' 1307 when the licence to crenellate Drumburgh Castle, however the church is dated as late C12 and Drumburgh was a manorial centre before the licence to crenellate so the actual date of abandonment may well have been late C12 meaning the castle probably had a life of less than a century.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY348592
Latitude54.9240798950195
Longitude-3.0188000202179
Eastings334800
Northings559290
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • 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. 105
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 59
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 17
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 48 (slight)
  • Jackson, M.J.,1990, Castles of Cumbria (Carlisle: Carel Press) p. 31
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 82
  • Hudleston, C.Roy and Boumphrey, R.S., 1978, Cumberland Families and Heraldry p. 44
  • Bruce, J.C., 1957, The Roman Wall p. 212-3
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 38
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1901, 'Remains of the pre-Norman Period' in H.Arthur Doubleday (ed), VCH Cumberland Vol. 1 p. 292 online copy
  • MacLauchlan, H., 1858, Memoir written during a Survey of the Roman Wall (London) p. 80 online copy
  • MacLauchlan, H., 1857, Survey and Maps of the Roman Wall (Alnwick) p. 65 fig 6
  • Jefferson, S., 1838, The History and Antiquities of Carlisle (Carlisle) p. 23 online copy

Journals

  • McIntire, W.T., 1943, 'The old port of Sandsfield' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 43 p. 73 online copy
  • Craham, T.H.B., 1931, 'Bampton and Beaumont' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 31 p. 39-50 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