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Dolphinholme Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Ellel.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Lancashire.
1974 county of Lancashire.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD52045361
Latitude 53.97632° Longitude -2.73270°

Dolphinholme Castle Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The medieval motte at Dolphinholme is of particular historical and archaeological importance as the only known example of this class of monument in the Wyre Valley. In such a setting the site was of strategic importance allowing control of movement along the river valley.
The monument at Dolphinholme comprises a medieval motte formed by an artificial mound strategically situated on a small plateau on the valley side some 20m above the floodplain of the River Wyre. The monument consists of a grassy mound c.1.5m high x 20m max. diameter at the base, that has been partly eroded by quarrying on the W side. On the flat summit are gritstone foundations comprising two walls of a structure standing one course high above the surface. On the N side of the motte are traces of a short causeway giving access from the higher ground of the sloping hillside. Faint traces of a surrounding ditch c.1m wide are visible E of the causeway. (Scheduling Report)

Medieval motte surviving as an earthwork. Partly obliterated by quarrying. There is some evidence for a mound, artificially steepened, but partly obliterated by quarrying, situated on a steep bluff above the Wyre. (PastScape)

It stands only some 1.5m high and up to 20m wide on a small plateau outside the village and strategically above the northwest banks of the River Wyre. No bailey has been identified here, but quarrying has obscured the western side of the monument. Remnants of the foundations of a structure survive on the top of the mound suggesting (assuming that it is contemporaneous and not the base of e.g. a quarryman's hut) that the motte cannot have been much higher in the past and thus was much smaller than the Lune Valley sites. This assumes, however, that the motte was not constructed around a stone tower as at Farnham and subsequently quarried away or that the mound was not cut away for the later construction of a tower that again has been quarried away. (Lancashire County Council)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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