Aughton Castle Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameAughton Castle Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityEast Riding of Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishEllerton

Medieval complex on the eastern bank of the River Derwent. It includes a motte and bailey castle, additional earthen banks and ditches, fishponds, and a moated site situated immediately to the east of the castle bailey. A medieval church, set in a churchyard, lies to the south of the motte; it is believed to have been a component of the medieval complex. The round earthen mound, the motte of the medieval earthwork castle, which is 35m in diameter, rises above an earthen platform 50m long, north-south, and 35m wide, east-west, which is defined by a moat. This moat is up to 10m wide and 2m deep. The motte mound does not occupy the whole platform, the northern end of which has a fishpond dug into it. The silted pond is 23m long, east- west, 8m wide, north-south, and 0.5m deep. Immediately external and running parallel to the moat's western arm are two earthen banks and a heavily silted ditch. The parallel banks are between 0.3m and 0.5m high; both are 3m wide. The ditch, which is external to the banks, is 3m wide and 0.15m deep. The north end of both the banks and ditch have been truncated by the planting of a hedge, to the south they have been obscured by the grave yard. The bailey is situated immediately to the south east of the motte and its moated platform. It is 90m square north-south and east-west and is defined by a dry moat up to 2m deep and between 10m and 15m wide. Much of the moat's eastern arm has been in-filled apart from a 30m long section at its southern end. The inside edge of this and the southern arm have been cut back and faced in brick to create a ha-ha. The interior of the bailey has been levelled and landscaped to create the gardens of Aughton Hall which stands within it. This landscaping, carried out in the 19th century, has removed any visible trace of internal features including any earthen ramparts which commonly enclose baileys in monuments of this type. To the north of the moat there is a disturbed and boggy area of ground

This uneven ground indicates the presence of at least one medieval fishpond which was used as a potato dump and in-filled some years ago. Further moat-like ditches situated to both north and south of the motte and bailey provide extra protection for the site. The southern ditch is 10m wide and 2m deep. This ditch originally ran through the area now occupied by the churchyard to link up with the ditch immediately external to the moat around the motte's western arm. Where it has been incorporated in the churchyard it has been in-filled. The northern ditch may also have connected with this western ditch but the relationship here is unclear since the northern ditch has been in-filled and remains visible only on aerial photographs. The moated site lies 250m east of All Saints' Church. It includes a sub-rectangular island about 40m square which is defined by a moat. The northern and western arms of the moat are largely dry and in-filled. They are 12m wide and up to 0.5m deep. The southern and eastern arms have been recut to create a large fishpond; these arms are 15m wide and up to 2m deep. Examination of aerial photographs suggests that the recutting has been quite substantial. A modern fishpond 38m long, north-south, 9m wide, east-west, and 1.5m deep lies to the east of the moated site. This feature lies outside the area of the scheduling and was only excavated in recent years. Little is known about the origins of the monument although it is likely that the motte was built in the years following the Norman Conquest of 1066 to watch the River Ouse and guard the approaches to York. In the later medieval period the complex was the property of the Aske family. Robert Aske was one of the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the rebellion against Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. Although the Church of All Saints, which has 11th century origins, is considered to be a part of the wider medieval complex it remains in ecclesiastical usage and neither it nor the churchyard are included within the scheduling. Excluded from the scheduling, though clearly originally a part of it, is Aughton Hall and the part of the Hall's gardens to north and south of it. The house is excluded because it has been cellared, while those areas of the garden excluded have been thoroughly disturbed by gardening, building and terracing. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

This layout is illustrated in Jean Le Patourel p. 18 and explained as a moated house built beside and partly within the bailey of the castle.

- 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 ReferenceSE701386
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 102, 128, 234-5
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 16
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 16
  • Williams, Alison, 1996, 'Castles and moated sites' in Neave, Susan and Ellis, Stephen, An Historical Atlas of East Yorkshire (University of Hull Press) p. 32-3
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 513
  • Loughlin, Neil and Miller, Keith, 1979, A survey of archaeological sites in Humberside carried out for the Humberside Joint Archaeological Committee p. 41
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 17-18, 109
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 124
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 25


  • King, D.J.Cathcart, 1972, 'The Field Archaeology of mottes; Eine kurze übersicht' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 101-112

Primary Sources

  • Parker, John (ed), 1932, Feet of Fines for the county of York, from 1246 to 1272 (Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 82) p. 7


  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 8 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 8 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 8 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 26 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 25 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 23 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 33 online copy
  • 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