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Burton in Lonsdale Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Black Bourton

In the civil parish of Burton in Lonsdale.
In the historic county of Yorkshire West Riding.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD65007213
Latitude 54.14371° Longitude -2.53757°

Burton in Lonsdale Castle Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Castle Hill is a very fine example of a motte and bailey castle situated on the west side of the village of Burton in Lonsdale. The 9.6m high motte retains a breastwork wall 3.3m high around the upper part of the mound. In places the stonework is still visible through the grass on the inner face. A nearly square bailey, 57m by 51m, is situated on the west side of the motte and a semi-lunar bailey, 21m wide and some 2m-3m above the base of the ditch, is situated to the south. The ditch around the motte is best preserved on the west side; on the north side it merges with the steep natural slope down to the road. A counterscarp or outer bank runs from north to east where it disappears into a raised level platform which fills much of the area between the motte and farmyard. Excavations carried out in 1904 by H White and J C Walker found that the motte, baileys, ditches and banks had all been paved. From the evidence produced by the excavation it is now generally accepted that the site originated as a ringwork in the 12th or early 13th century and after a considerable lapse of time was raised with the addition of an inner revetment wall to form a motte. The site went out of use at some time during the period 1322-1369. (Scheduling Report)

For some idiosyncratic reason Clark (1886) calls this Black Bourton (A placename usually given to the village in Oxfordshire) and locates it in Lancashire.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) passim
      Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 26
      Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 17
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 310 (slight)
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 514-5
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 197
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 124
      Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield)
      Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 27-9
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Periodical Articles
    • Stephens, Tony and Gregory, Susan, 2006, Burton in Lonsdale in the late medieval period' North Craven Heritage Trust Journal (manorial history) online copy
      Higham, Mary, 1991, 'The Mottes of North Lancashire, Lonsdale and South Cumbria' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 91 p. 79-90 (reprinted in Crosby, A.G. (ed), 2007, Of names and places: selected writings of Mary Higham (Nottingham: English Place-Name Society and the Society for Name Studies) p. 81-91)
      Moorhouse, S., 1971, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 43 p. 85-98
      King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
      White, H.M., 1905, 'Excavations in Castle Hill, Burton in Lonsdale' The Antiquary Vol. 41 p. 411-7 online copy
      (White), 1905, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological Society Vol. 5 p. 283-5, 309
      Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 206 (placed in Lancashire) online copy
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1912, Calendar of Fine Rolls Edward II (1319-1327) Vol. 3 p. 118 (Henry de Malton, Royal Constable in 1322) see online copy
      Pipe Roll 1129-30 (see Pipe Roll Society for published references)
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • 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
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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