Pickhill Money Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NamePickhill Money Hill
Alternative NamesPicks Hill; Picts' Hill
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishPickhill

Earthwork and associated buried remains of a motte and bailey castle. The motte, known as Money Hill, was incorporated into a railway embankment in 1851 and lies 130m west of All Saints Church, on the west bank of Pickhill Beck. The castle is believed to have been built by Roald, the third hereditary Constable of Richmond, during the wars between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda in 1135-53. Roald is better known as the founder of Easby Abbey near Richmond in circa 1155. Sometime before 1209, Pickhill, with its castle, was given to Jollan de Neville at his marriage to the fourth Constable's daughter Amfelisa. The castle is believed to have continued as the main residence of the Nevilles of Pickhill until 1319 when the village and castle were sacked by the Scots in one of their raids into northern England following the Scottish victory at Bannockburn in 1314. In 1851 the motte was incorporated into a railway embankment by the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Company and in the early 1980s a bungalow was built on part of this embankment. The motte is roughly square in plan, standing approximately 3m high and 30m across at its summit. Its north western and south eastern corners extend beyond the line of the railway embankment which runs NNE to SSW. The motte was originally surrounded by a moat ditch. This still survives as an earthwork on the south eastern side where it is approximately 1m deep and 15m wide. Around the rest of the circuit it survives as an infilled feature. A plan by the historian W I'Anson in 1913 shows the castle's bailey on the western side of the motte, defined by a curving bank. The earthworks to the west of the railway embankment are reputed to have been levelled by bulldozers during World War II and the area subsequently ploughed. This area is included within the monument to protect any deep buried remains such as refuse pits, as well as the infilled moat which can still be traced as a slight depression

(Scheduling Report)

The vilage - Pickhill takes it's name from this hill. Pickhill is in the Domesday book. (Brigantes Nation)

Gatehouse Comments

If the village took its name from the hill then this would suggest the mound was of pre-Conquest date and must be a adapted barrow. However the Domesday Manor is recorded as picala which reads to Gatehouse as Pic's aula (or Hall) which does suggest the village was the site of a high status pre-Conquest residence. Pick or Puck is a not uncommon 'fairy' place name of Celtic origin. If this is a 'puck hill' then that again would suggest it has pre-Conquest origins. However pre-Conquest origin does not exclude later adaptation as a motte which this site certainly was. 'Excavated' in 1851 in search of treasure.

- 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 ReferenceSE345837
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Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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  • Butler, Lawrence, 1994, 'The Origins of the Honour of Richmond and its Castles' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 69-80 (Reprinted in Liddiard, Robert, (ed), 2003, Anglo-Norman Castles p. 91-103 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press))
  • 1975, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 47 p. 11
  • I'Anson, W.M., 1913, 'The castles of the North Riding' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 22 p. 372-4 (plan)


  • 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