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Oakmere Harthhill Bank

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Hart Hill, Ocmere

In the civil parish of Oakmere.
In the historic county of Cheshire.
Modern Authority of Cheshire.
1974 county of Cheshire.
Medieval County of Cheshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ56697185
Latitude 53.24207° Longitude -2.65001°

Oakmere Harthhill Bank has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Motte and bailey surviving as an earthwork. A bank 3m high internally and 4 to 5m externally encloses an area approximately 50m by 40m. Scheduled. Some authorities are sceptical as to whether the monument is a motte. (PastScape)

A bank averaging 3.0m high internally, and 4 to 5.0m externally, roughly horseshoe - shaped in plan with the open end to the south encloses an area approximately 50.0m by 40.0m. It is separated from a central knoll by a ditch roughly U-shaped in section. On the NW and NE sides there are slopes down to a stream. To the S the rising ground has been dug into up to the line of a fence beyond which undulating sandhills continue. There is a large active sand quarry on the other side of Gallowsclough Lane to the SE. Whilst the bank is undoubtedly artificial it has the irregular surface consistent with dumping and the profile of the ditch has a similar appearance. The central mound (probably the original ground surface) is too small for a motte in relation to the very strong 'rampart' and the higher ground to the south shows no evidence of artificial work apart from excavation. It is also too small an area to have been used within a presumptive Iron Age work. In any case an internal ditch would be an unusual feature and it seems almost certain that the 'earthwork' is the result of old sand quarrying. Now planted with trees upwards of 50 years old. (PastScape–Field Investigators Comments–F2 DJC 24-FEB-76)

The monument comprises a motte and bailey castle. It includes a central mound measuring 32m N-S x 12m E-W x 3-4m high, surrounded by an encircling ditch 1.8m deep x 7.6m wide. A horseshoe-shaped outer bank 3-4m high with an entrance at the S encircles the motte and ditch. A causeway gives access from the outer bank across the ditch to the mound on the SW side. To the SE is a raised level bailey 54. 8m long x 27.4m wide. The area to the S and E has been used for sand extraction and there is evidence for this industry having encroached upon the motte. ' The area was referred to in 1277 as a stew (vivary) called Ocmere. A field boundary on the W of Gallowsclough Lane is excluded from the scheduling, however, the ground beneath it is included. (Vale Royal scheduling record)

Location isolated from medieval settlement but close to minor river crossing. Can probably be rejected on the bases of the field investigators comments of 1976 but this is actually scheduled as a motte and bailey and until the scheduling report is updated it will be recorded as a 'possible' site within the Gatehouse database.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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