Beetham Castle Hill

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameBeetham Castle Hill
Alternative NamesDallam Park; Dee Park; Haverbrack
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishBeetham

The ringwork on Castle Hill in Dallam Park 380m south east of Dallam Tower is a rare example of this class of monument in north west England and despite the absence of an obvious defensive ditch it survives reasonably well. It is considered to be the forerunner of the nearby Dallam Tower, a 14th century stronghold, and as such attests to the military importance of this area during the later medieval period.

The monument includes a medieval ringwork located in Dallam Park on a prominent hilltop known as Castle Hill 380m south east of Dallam Tower. It is strategically situated to overlook the lowest bridging point of the River Bela and the village of Milnthorpe. Although no documentary evidence exists relating to the construction of the ringwork it is thought to be a precursor to the 14th century Dallam Tower.

The ringwork includes a sub-circular earth and stone mound measuring up to 42m east-west by 35m north-south. It has a flat top which has been created by raising the mound above the surrounding landscape only slightly on the north side but between 2m and 4m elsewhere. The top of the mound measures 27m by 22m and it contains an earth and stone bank up to 0.35m high around its eastern, southern and western edges. The monument lies within land on the Parks and Gardens Register where it is known as Dallam Tower, GD1655. (Scheduling Report)

Mound, in the park 350 yards S.E. of Dallam Tower, is of irregular semi-circular form, about 33 yards across and rising about 5 ft. above the surrounding ground. It was probably the site of some mediƦval building. (RCHME 1936)

Castle Hill:- a mound of irregular, semi-circular form, 350 yds SE of Dallam Tower. ? Site of Medieval building (OS record).

The Dallam Park earthwork is in a good defensive position on the highest point of an esker. It is an irregular oval in plan, with bank best preserved on the south and very weak on the North

The site was levelled in the 18th Century, when quantities of bone and metal and wall foundations were found, and was probably planted with trees at that time. A section on the south side in 1965 showed a ditch outside the bank, stone revetting on the outer face of the bank, and a post-hole 9" square, in the interior about 10' from the bank. No artifacts were recovered, but there was a considerable quantity of charcoal at the ditch bottom.

The work is probably a small fort, of any period from 5th Century (or earlier) to 11th Century; it is unlikely to be the site of a medieval building (as suggested by the RCHM) because the medieval sites in the area are reasonably documented and established elsewhere (oral information).

The flat-topped, defensively situated mound is correctly described. Surveyed at 1/2500. Other features shown on A.O. 2215 are old field boundaries with scarps formed lynchet fashion on the downhill sides. Hollows are amorphous and of no interest; no building sites were noted (F1 FRH 29-AUG-67).

SD 49368081. Medieval ringwork in Dallam Park, thought to be a precursor to the 14th century Dallam Tower. Scheduled. (Scheduled Monument Notification 03-SEP-2004).

A medieval mound is visible as an earthwork on air photographs, within the grounds of Dallam Park at SD 4936 8081. Medieval/post medieval ridge and furrow appears to respect the extent of the mound. The feature appears to be extant on the latest 1991 Ordnance Survey vertical photography, albeit under some tree cover (AP 1982)

The earthwork remains of the probable medieval mound described above could be seen at SD 4936 8082 on aerial photographs and lidar images taken in 2009. The mound is sub-circular with a flattened top and measures approximately 33m x 45m (LIDAR SD4880 DTM 12-18 APR 2009). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Although recorded in the RCHME Inventory of 1936 it is not described in a obvious fashion as a castle. However it is also in Curwen's gazetteer of 1913 but still appears to have been either missed or dismissed by David Cathcart King. The location, in the centre of a deer park, is not typical of a Norman castle, although not unknown. There remains a possibility this was a park lodge, or park viewing mound, of post-Norman date, sited on a hill to give views of the hunting, rather than to be defensive.

- 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 ReferenceSD493808
Latitude54.2205505371094
Longitude-2.77817010879517
Eastings349370
Northings480820
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
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
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
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

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Books

  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 104 no. 5 online transcription
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 273
  • Nicholson, J. and Burn, R., 1777, History of Westmorland and Cumberland (London) Vol. 1 p. 227 online copy

Journals

  • 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. 30 online copy