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Carlton in Coverdale Round Hill

In the civil parish of Carlton Town.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire North Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE06768461
Latitude 54.25712° Longitude -1.89772°

Carlton in Coverdale Round Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


A motte consisting of an earthen mound about 32.0m diameter and 3.7m high constructed from the spoil of a surrounding ditch (1.6m deep and 4.1m average width) with the steep slopes of a stream forming the north side. The top is relatively flat 9.0m in diameter with a slight downward slope towards the north north west. About 2.0m north west of the centre, two apparently dressed stone blocks protrude through the turf. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments–F1 AGM 22-AUG-77)

No date or purpose has been assigned to the small steep motte and bailey at Carlton in Coverdale but it was probably an outpost of Middleham either thrown up during the anarchy of Stephen's reign or intended as an advanced warning post while Middleham was was under construction and the threat of Scottish raids were still high. The two main danger periods were 1138 and 1174 when the Scots raided into Yorkshire and burnt some castles. (Butler 1994)

If Round Hill behind the 'Foresters' Arms' in Carlton is a Norman motte (as shown on the Ordnance Survey 1: 25 000 map) it would be an outlier intended to support the fortification on William's Hill, providing a further means of controlling the track to the head of Coverdale and over the watershed to Wharfedale. However Round Hill seems small for a motte, and its top is not flat but rounded. It seems more likely to be a prehistoric burial mound, but there has not been any archaeological excavation to determine its origins. (Joynes 2006)

Joynes seems incorrect in suggesting the mound is round topped, although it does have 800+ years of erosion. The 1086 Domesday lord was the same pre-Conquest lord Bernwulf (aka Bjornulfr - a Danish name) although he seems to have been replaced shortly after 1086 when the manor was taken into direct control by the lord of Middleham. This may well suggest the motte, whilst serving as a local manorial centre, was part of a larger defensive scheme.
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:49

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