Hawes Bridge

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameHawes Bridge
Alternative NamesBodelford; Bothelford
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishNatland

SD 513892 Hawes Bridge, Natland. An obviously man-adapted motte-type mound is located above the river at Hawes Bridge. This may also possibly be the site of Bothelford DMV. (Higham).

While Higham identifies the Bodelford site at Hawes Bridge with a 'man-adapted earth-type mound' on the bridging point of the Kent River downstream from the Roman fort at Watercrook, Marsh argues that the site is unsuitable for a motte, and the mound probably represents canal workings. 'Bodelford name is early and likely to refer to the village of the Roman Fort by the ford. A Roman road crosses there.' (Perriam and Robinson). (PastScape)

Situated about two miles West of Kendal on Hawes Lane just outside Natland, Hawes Bridge Motte is mostly hidden from view from the road. The earthwork remains sit just above the river Kent, appearing to defend the river crossing. The motte stands in an area generally thought to contain the remains of a deserted medieval settlement called Bothelford, which was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The remains stand to around six metres high and would have afforded a good view of the river crossing and the surrounding country side. There do not appear to be any remains of banks and\or ditches. There is a question hanging over the validity of this motte, in that it's very near to the route of the Lancaster to Kendal canal, so there is every possibility that it's actually a spoil heap. Still the location looks good for a defensive site at the river crossing, and so near to the possibly deserted village. (Matthew Emmott 2007)

Gatehouse Comments

The Roman fort is at NY513906. Higham suggested several 'new' mottes in her 1991 paper many of which where suspect, including this one. However, there is nothing intrinsically unsuitable for the location as a small 'toll' point post - which was the bases of Higham's argument. The mound appears to be the other side of the river from the canal which lowers the chances it represents some canal workings but there were quarries and even a gunpowder works in the local area so may represent spoil from those or, in this area with many glacial features, just be natural.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD513892
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Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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  • 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. 108
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 329


  • 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