Hope Motte, Derbyshire

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

There are earthwork remains

NameHope Motte, Derbyshire
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDerbyshire
Modern AuthorityDerbyshire
1974 AuthorityDerbyshire
Civil ParishHope

Mound and ditch of Hope Motte, an earthwork situated on a natural spur overlooking the Peakshole Water in the village of Hope. To the north east of the mound stands the parish church. The mound is likely to date to the early Norman period or possibly to the late Anglo-Saxon period. Over time, the Peakshole Water has eroded the base of the mound causing general slippage of part of the earthwork. From the north, the mound is approximately 4.5m high but from the south the earthwork rises to about 11m above the river, due to the landslope. The mound has become truncated on its southern side due to river erosion, forming a crescent shaped earthwork. The mound has overall dimensions of approximately 45m by 28m. The riverine erosion has exposed part of the interior of the mound and shows that it is composed of earth and shale of local origin. The mound is typical of other motte earthworks in the region, being conical with a flat top. To the north and west of the mound is a shallow ditch about 7m wide and up to 1.5m deep. It is likely that the ditch was originally much deeper but has become infilled with material gradually eroded from the mound. Due to river erosion, it is not possible to say whether there was ever a ditch around the southern edge of the mound. To the immediate east of the earthwork stands a private dwelling, the garden and yard of which have obscured any evidence for a ditch on this side. There is no evidence for an outer bailey associated with the mound. However, more recent buildings, roads and yards may have obscured such evidence. To the east of the mound stands the church of St Peter's, a pre-Conquest foundation with a tenth century cross shaft in the churchyard, a reminder that Hope was an important centre during the Anglo-Saxon period. Indeed, it is possible that the earthwork could date to the later Anglo-Saxon period

Such earthworks are known to have been built at important locations during this period and sometimes they also functioned as administrative meeting places, known as 'moots'. However, it is thought likely that Hope Motte was erected during the 11th century as one of a series of similar strongpoints built in Britain by the Normans. The Norman military focus was later transferred to Peveril Castle at Castleton, 2km to the west. A castle was mentioned at Hope during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) and may well refer to these earthworks. (Derbyshire HER ref. scheduling record)

Gatehouse Comments

This is likely to have been the Saxon administrative centre of the area and may have had some post-Conquest modification into a Norman style motte before William Peveril built his mighty castle over the the nearby Peaks Arse cavern (Peveril Castle) before 1086, although there may also have been some high status Saxon occupation at Peaks Arse and both places may have functioned at the same time. As Hope remained the major settlement of the area for at least a century after the Conquest (Castleton was a new borough of 1196) it is probably a manorial centre continued at Hope.

- 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 ReferenceSK171834
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Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved

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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 22
  • Smith, Michael E., 1992, Castles and Manor Houses in and around Derbyshire (Derby)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 110
  • Hart, C.R., 1981, The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD1500 (Derbyshire Archaeological Trust) p. 145-6
  • Cox, J.C., 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Derbyshire Vol. 1 p. 375 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella S., 1905, A key to English antiquites with special reference to the Sheffield and Rotherham district (London: J.M. Dent and Co) p. 57 online copy


  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127


  • English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification. 29812. Cat. No.:392