Middleham Williams Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameMiddleham Williams Hill
Alternative NamesSunskew Park
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishMiddleham

William's Hill. A motte and bailey castle, the motte and inner bailey being well preserved, while the outer bailey survives only as a long strip with weak defences following the ridge to the E. The motte is sub-rectangular in shape with a broadened NW angle, its scarps rising to 60 ft above wide, deep ditches (Alcroft).

William's Hill, A small but strong motte and bailey castle admirably sited to dominate both Wensleydale and Coverdale, and the ancient road from Richmond to Skipton. It was built early in the reign of William Rufus and was superseded by the late Norman castle (SE 18 NW 2) soon after 1180. The summit of the motte is about 160 by 115 ft and 40 ft in height, defended by a strong ditch 20 ft wide with counterscarp banks 9 ft deep. The NW end of the motte expands to form a platform with a base of 112 ft and a width of 55 ft, evidently the site of a wooden tower. To the SE of this platform the motte is hollowed to a small sunken court, 85 by 55 ft, which may have held the great hall of the castle. A small bean-shaped bailey, 1/2 acre in area, lies to the SE. Its rampart is still 13 ft in height above a partly water-filled ditch, with an entrance gap to the ESE. This is guarded by an outwork of triple banks now in poor condition (l'Anson).

At William's Hill, a big powerful ringwork, the bank is so enormously thick at one point - 45 ft/14m across the top - as to suggest that the ring was formed by earthing up a small motte and bailey level with the top of its motte all round (King and Alcock). There is no outer bailey to the ringwork, and Allcroft's portrayal of one is based on modern field banks, and in error. I'Anson's interpretation, however, of the triple cross ridge banks to the SE as a defensive outwork to the main approach is undoubtedly correct (Field Investigators Comments–F1 BHP 07-NOV-74). (PastScape)

Situation: The site lies on an east-west ridge-top position of natural strength, south of the village of Malton

Its sucessor lies c. 300m to the north.

Preservation: The earthwork is well preserved under pasture and scrub.

Description: The site has sometimes been classified as a motte and bailey, and indeed the platform on the north-west side of the ringwork could have served as a virtual motte, although the strength of the site is in its enclosing ramparts, and it is hence classified as a ringwork. The earthwork comprises an oval ringwork with base dimensions of c. 70m east-west x 55m north-south, defended by a surrounding bank surviving to a maximum height of c. 1.7m, with a gap to the south-east representing the original entrance. To the north-west of the ringwork the rampart widens to form a triangular platform, c. 20m x 10m, forming the probable base for a tower. The ringwork work is entirely surrounded by a periodically wet ditch up to 5m wide with external counterscarp banks up to c. 2m high. The ditch is crossed on the south-east side by an earthwork causeway linking it to a single, D-shaped bailey measuring c. 25m x 65m. The bailey is surrounded by a ditch which is linked to that surrounding the ringwork, and is defended on all sides other that facing the motte by a rampart surviving to a height of c. lm. A gap in the bank in south-east comer represents the original entrance. A possible outwork is represented by a linear earthwork running along the summit of the ridge, east of the bailey. (Creighton 1998)

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 ReferenceSE125872
Latitude54.2807388305664
Longitude-1.80949997901917
Eastings412500
Northings487250
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

Middleham Williams Hill-5 28102017 165005.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

Middleham Williams Hill-6 28102017 165008.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

Middleham Williams Hill-7 28102017 165008.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

Williams Hill Middleham 20072012 014839.Jpg

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Laitude 54° 16' 51.46" Longitude -1° 48' 35.26"

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Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 29, 54, 125
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 60
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 41-2 (plan)
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 62 (slight)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 292
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 156
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 521
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 259
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 243
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 31, 33
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 64
  • Allcroft, A.H., 1908, Earthworks of England (London: Macmillan and co.) p. 444 (and incorrect plan) online copy
  • Speight, H., 1897, Romantic Richmondshire p. 291-2 online copy
  • Whellan T, 1859, History and topography of the city of York and the North Riding of Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 129 online copy
  • Grainge, W., 1855, Castles and Abbeys of Yorkshire p. 339-40 online copy

Journals

  • Butler, Lawrence, 1994, 'The Origins of the Honour of Richmond and its Castles' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 69-80 (Reprinted in Liddiard, Robert, (ed), 2003, Anglo-Norman Castles p. 91-103 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press))
  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • I'Anson, W.M., 1913, 'The castles of the North Riding' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 22 p. 363-5 (plan)
  • Armitage, 1901, The Reliquary Vol. 7 p. 164-5
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 215 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1874, The Builder Magazine Vol. 32 p. 624-5

Guide Books

  • Weaver, J., 1998 Rev edn, Middleham Castle (London: English Heritage) p. 21-2

Primary Sources

  • Dugdale, William (Caley, J., Ellis, H. and Bandinel, B. (eds)), 1817-30 (originally pub. 1655-73), Monasticon Anglicanum (London) Vol. 6.2 p. 920 online copy

Other

  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 40 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 48 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 56 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 57 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 78 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 73 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 78 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 87 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
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 609-10 online copy