Melling with Wrayton Castle Mount

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameMelling with Wrayton Castle Mount
Alternative NamesMelling Motte
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLancashire
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishMelling with Wrayton

The motte and bailey castle at Melling is of particular importance as one of a group of early post-conquest (late 11th century) mottes established along the Lune valley. These sites were all of strategic importance, allowing control of movement along the river valley. More importantly, however, was their role in imposing and demonstrating the new post-conquest feudal order on the area. Its earthworks survive well and the lack of subsequent occupation on the site means buried structural remains and environmental evidence are likely to survive well.

The monument at Melling consists of a conical motte with a truncated top situated on a raised knoll 22m above the River Lune floodplain. An adjoining bailey, partly obliterated by Melling church and churchyard, exists in the field to the SW. The monument lies in the garden of the former Melling vicarage and extends for a short distance into a field to the SW. The motte has been landscaped to include a terrace, retaining wall and flight of stone steps. (Scheduling Report)

A lofty earthen mount placed upon an elevated plateau is in the vicarage garden at Melling just 30 yds E. of the church. The site is a fine one being on a little raised knoll at 150ft above sea level and some 75ft above the flat marshy meadows on either side of the wide flooding river. The earthwork, as now seen consists of a mount only but this is placed on an elevated circular plateau which strongly suggests a former base court or bailey. The mount is conical, slightly oval in shape and has a truncated top; it measures some 100ft by 125ft in diameter at its base and its flat summit is about 40ft. across; its height is about 20ft. from the level of the plateau. The base of the mount has been considerably cut and altered by gardening operations so that it now shows a terrace about 15ft. wide all round, retained in parts by a wall below it 5ft high; there is no ditch extant but in all probability a former one has been filled in

The plateau, towards the E. end of which the mount rises was formerly almost circular, measuring 210ft. across its longest remaining diameter. No ramparts or fosses are now visible around this plateau but the ground looks as if it had been considerably altered in mediaeval times. Although not proved by excavation, its position and surroundings distinctly point to its being an earthwork mount castle with probable bailey. (VCH)

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 ReferenceSD598711
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Photograph by Philip Davis. 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

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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. 110
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 36
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 246
  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Gardner, W., 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks:- Lancashire South of the Sands' in Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), VCH Lancashire Vol. 2 p. 529-31 (plan) online copy


  • 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
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 207 online copy

Guide Books

  • White, A.J., 1998, Norman Castles of Lunedale A History Trail (Lancaster City Museums) (Leaflet)

Primary Sources

  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 283


  • 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