York Baile Hill

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameYork Baile Hill
Alternative NamesThe Old Baile; Baille Hill
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityYork
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishYork

A Motte and bailey built 1068-9 by William the Conqueror and rebuilt in 1069. Disused by 1322 at which time it was incorporated into the town defences. Originally it consisted of a circular mound, surrounded by a ditch, with a quadrangular yard of 3 acres on the south west side. Excavations have revealed the remains of 12th century buildings on the top of the Motte. The Motte survives to an average height of 7.7 metres and was raised in height in the Civil War. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Motte on other side of River Ouse to Clifford Tower.

- 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 ReferenceSE602512
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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.

Calculate Print


  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 60, 84
  • Dean Gareth, 2008, Medieval York (The History Press)
  • Wilson, B. and Mee, F., 2005, The city walls and castles of York: the pictorial evidence (York: York Archaeological Trust - The archaeology of York supplementary series; 1/3)
  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 250
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 114, 116
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 44 (mention)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 282-5
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 20, 60, 154, 358
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 237-9
  • Drage, C., 1987, 'Urban castles' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 117-32 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 529
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 321
  • Harvey, J., 1975, York (London: Batsford)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker)
  • RCHME, 1972, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York Vol. 2: The Defences (London, HMSO) p. 87-9
  • Garlick, Tom, 1972, Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 27
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 889
  • Tillott, P.M. (ed), 1961, VCH Yorkshire: City of York p. 528-9 online transcription
  • Raine, 1955, Mediaeval York (London) p. 23-5
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 117-18
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 242, 248-50 online copy
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 44
  • Cooper, T.P., 1904, York, the Story of its Walls, Bars and Castles (London) esp p. 215-38
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 277-8 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 534-48 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 169 online copy


  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy
  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 542
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 56 online copy


  • Harfield, C.G., 1991, 'A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book' English Historical Review Vol. 106 p. 371-392 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Addyman, P.V. and Priestley, J., 1977, 'Five castle excavations: reports on the Institute's research project into the origins of the castle in England. Baile Hill, York: a report on the Institute's excavations' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 134 p. 115-56
  • King, D.J.Cathcart, 1972, 'The Field Archaeology of mottes; Eine kurze übersicht' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 101-112
  • Addyman, P.V., 1970 'Excavations at Baile Hill, York' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 7-12
  • (Addyman), 1970, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 14 p. 177 download copy
  • Addyman, P.V., 1969, 'York - Baille Hill motte' Current Archaeology Vol. 2 p. 25-6 view online transcription
  • Addyman, P.V., 1970, 'Excavations at Baile Hill, York, 1969' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 126 p. 178-9
  • Addyman, P.V., 1969, 'Excavations at Baile Hill, York, 1968' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 125 p. 307-8, 367-9
  • Renn, D.F., 1964, 'The first Norman Castles in England 1051-1071' Château Gaillard Vol. 1 p. 125-132
  • 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)
  • Renn, D.F., 1959, 'Mottes: a classification' Antiquity Vol. 33 p. 106-12 (listed as siegework)
  • Armitage, E., 1904, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 447-9 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. 216 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1875-6, The defences of York' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 4 p. 2-42 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1874, 'The defences of York' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 31 p. 221-61 esp. 259-60 online copy

Guide Books

  • Butler, L.A.S., 1997, Clifford’s Tower and the Castles of York (London: English Heritage)
  • Anon, 1987, Clifford’s Tower and the castles of York. (London: English Heritage)

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book online copy
  • Ingram, James, (ed) 1912, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Everyman Press, London) Worcester Chronicle AD1067 view online transcription (Ingram's translation and notes date from 1823. More recent translations of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles should be consulted for serious study)
  • le Prevost, A. (ed), 1840, Orderici Vitalis, Historiae Ecclesiaticae Vol. 2 p. 184, 185 online copy
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1870, Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene (Rolls Series 51) Vol. 3 p. 34 online copy


  • Fradley, Michael, 2011, The Old in the New: Urban Castle Imposition in Anglo-Norman England, AD1050-1150 (University of Exeter PhD Thesis) available via EThOS
  • 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