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Northallerton Castle Hills

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Old Palace; Alverton; The Howe

In the civil parish of Northallerton.
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: SE36129414
Latitude 54.34154° Longitude -1.44591°

Northallerton Castle Hills has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are earthwork remains.


The motte and bailey at Castle Hills was probably founded by William I when he encamped at Northallerton in 1068. In 1141 Northallerton Castle was seized by William Cumin for King David of Scotland and entirely rebuilt, but was surrendered sometime after 1143. (I'Anson, referring to Hoveden, says that Bishop Pudsey later obtained, the castle but surrendered it in 1174. Hoveden however refers to this as the new castle, or 'castellum novum' which suggests another site - see SE 39 SE 7). Leland (writing circa 1535-43) mentions "the ditches and the dungeon hill where the castelle of Alverton sumtime stode". In 1838 construction of the railway destroyed the majority of the earthworks, which prior to that date "consisted of a circular mound in the centre, and high embankments below at some distance, with deep trenches and ditches, altogether occupying an area of at least 20 acres." The illustration of this (Ingledew, 1858) shows what is obviously a motte and bailey of considerable size and strength (l'Anson). Renn says there are traces of ringwork. (Alleged to have been a Roman Camp see SE 39 SE 14). Historically it is thought that the work was built in 1142 and destroyed in 1176 (King, 1983). (PastScape)

SE 3612 9414. Castle Hills, a natural eminence under permanent pasture at about 50m OD, has been sculpted to accommodate a ringwork, much of which was destroyed in a railway cutting constructed in 1838, so that only the NE arc remains. There was formerly a bailey to the E of Castle Hills, and another, probably to the W, though this too is severely mutilated by the railway and associated quarrying. The complex was surveyed in 1988 by RCHME Newcastle at 1:2500; a more complete description is held in the NMR archive. In the surviving NE sector of the ringwork, the bank is up to 1.5m high above the interior, which is level and featureless, and about 3.3m above the surrounding ground to the E where piggeries have encroached upon the base of the mound. There are no remains of an outer ditch. Much of the E bailey is destroyed; what remains is now spread and reduced by ploughing to little more than an outward-facing scarp up to 1.4m high. The remains of the probable W bailey, now isolated from the ringwork by the railway, takes the form of a bank, up to 3.5m high,surmounted by a fence. (PastScape ref. Keith Blood/15-NOV-1988/RCHME: OS Map Revision, Castle Hills)

There are two castle site in Northallerton and there may be confusion and confabulation between the two sites, particularly with regard to their history. See Bishop Rufus Palace, Northallerton.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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