Rise Mote Hill

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameRise Mote Hill
Alternative NamesMoat Hill; Blackhall Hill
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityEast Riding of Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishRise

Earthwork remains of the manorial complex of Rise with associated fishponds and the site of Black Hall and Mote Hill. Black Hall was the seat of the Faulconbergs, who held the manor of Rise from the time of the Norman Conquest for nearly 400 years. The manor and associated medieval settlement of Rise or 'Risvn' is mentioned in the Domesday Survey, and was originally larger than it is today. Crop marks seen from aerial photographs indicate the original settlement to have been extensive, stretching as far as North Farm, north east of present day Rise, down to the southern limits of the earthwork remains around Blackhall Hill and Mote Hill described here. The earthwork remains of the shrunken medieval village of Rise are separated from the manorial earthworks by the post-medieval buildings and park of Rise Hall. The monument includes what are interpreted as building platforms, fishponds, water management channels, fields and related earthworks located in the north western corner of Rise Park, north of Rise Wood, an area defined by the road which leads from Sigglesthorpe in the north to North Skirlaugh in the south, which makes a right angled 'dog leg' around the earthworks. A pronounced bank with exterior ditch surrounds the complex on the western and northern side. On the western side the bank is c.200m long with a break towards its southern end. Along the north side of the site, the bank is 50m long. The exterior ditch is 'U' shaped in profile and about 1.5m in depth, 10m wide at its top and 2m wide at its base. The bank is between 5m and 8m wide and between 1m and 1.5m high and is interpreted as forming an original boundary feature of Black Hall, with the deep ditch to its north and west acting as a conduit for the drainage of water away from the manorial earthworks

The configuration of the earthwork features of the site indicates that the manorial complex here took advantage of the natural topography of the land, with the buildings being located on higher ground at the north and east side of the monument, with water management ditches and drainage features running through the centre and draining to the west. The site of Black Hall is a rectangular flat-topped scarped hillock, around 30m square, situated in the north eastern corner of the park. No remains of a building survive above ground, although building debris of brick and tile has been found here and further remains will survive beneath the present ground surface. The fishponds and other water management channels lie some 50m to the south of the site of the manor, at the southern edge of the higher ground, and surround another platform area of about 30m square. Three oval ponds orientated approximately north-south lie to the east of the platform, the first measuring some 30m long by 5m wide, the second 20m by 8m and the third 15m long by 7m wide. Another pond lies parallel to these but to the west of the platform and is 20m long by 7m wide, and also orientated in the same direction, approximately north-south. An elongated depression to the north of the platform here, 25m long by 5m wide and orientated north-south, is also interpreted as being part of the fishpond and water management complex in this area. A long ditch, 130m long by 10m wide runs due north-south to link with the ponds at the eastern side of the earthwork complex and is also interpreted as a water management feature. Mote Hill is also included in the earthwork complex. It lies at the western side of the monument close to the modern road. It includes a flat topped and steeply scarped natural hillock measuring about 40m north-south by 26m east- west and is up to 3m in height. It is thought to be a 'moot', or meeting place, rather than an actual motte as it was once believed to be, although other reports mention it as being the site of a former hunting lodge. Other earthwork features include a raised platform area, interpreted as an embanked, raised field, some 115m square and about 1m high to the south west of the complex, defined in the north by an east-west scarp and to the east by a north-south bank up to 6m wide. There are other earthwork remains of banks and ditches included in the monument, which are interpreted as trackways, lynchets and water management features designed to drain water away from the central low-lying parts of the site. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Rise was a manor granted to Franco de Fauconberg after the Conquest but was not an important pre-Conquest site so a moot hill seems unlikely. The earthworks are complex and include mounds but nothing resembling even a mutilated motte. The roughly rectangular mound has been cut from the hill side to form a pseudo moated site. This seems to be with the parkland around Rise Hall (the B1243 road appears to have to go around the park boundary) so may be a park feature (? keepers lodge) in the park around Black Hall which seems to have been the medieval manorial house site.

- 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 ReferenceTA146417
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

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  • Neave, Susan, 1991, Medieval Parks of East Yorkshire (Univeristy of Hull) p. 48
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 531 (possible)
  • Allison, K.J., 1976, East Riding of Yorkshire Landscape p. 91
  • Nicholson, J., 1903, Capital of the Yorkshire Wolds p. 37
  • Sheahan, J.J., and Whellan, T., 1855, History and topography of the city of York, the Ainsty Wapentake and the East Riding of Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 427 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