The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Raylees Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Elsdon.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY92679192
Latitude 55.22127° Longitude -2.11680°

Raylees Castle Hill has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such.

There are earthwork remains.


The remains of a sub-rectangular enclosure stand on the top of Castle Hill. It has been described as both an Iron Age feature and as a Roman period native enclosure. It has a rampart with an outer ditch, with traces of a second rampart on the north and south sides. The earthwork has been partly quarried, which makes a clear interpretation of the site difficult. (Keys to the Past)

A strong entrenchment on the Castle Hill, about 90 feet long and 81 broad, within the vallum and ditch which surround it. The south and east sides are precipitous; and at the south-west corner a thick stratum of sandstone has been much quarried (Hodgson 1827).
Castle Hill (Knightside) Rectangular, single-ramparted earthwork, approx 1/4 acre, at 55 13' 15" N Lat; 2 06' 55" W.Long. Inside quarried (Hogg 1947).
Raylees (Castle Hill) Type C. (Rectangular enclosures usually associated with Roman occupation) (Dodds 1940).
Remains of a sub-rectangular earthwork are situated at approx 750 feet above sea level, upon a south-west slope of pastureland. The site lies at the west end of a ridge, and overlooks low ground to the south and west beyond steep slopes falling away from the perimeter of the earthwork. The top of the ridge lies a little north fo the site and it rises to high ground eastwards. The nearest present fresh water supply is a well to the north-east. The earthwork has consisted of a rampart with an outer ditch. There are traces of a second outer rampart on the west side near the north-west corner. The ditch is destroyed on the south side and the rampart destroyed on the north and south sides by quarrying which has been extended northwards into the hillside within the interior of the earthwork, to a depth of some 3.0m below the north side. There are no traces of internal occupation to be seen. The original entrance was probably in the east side. The period of construction and purpose of the earthwork cannot now be ascertained.(F1 ASP 17-MAY-57).
Castle Hill - listed under pre-Roman IA univallate forts, settlements and enclosures (Jobey).
The earthwork is so badly quarried and overlain with spoil that it cannot be place unequivocally in any category. It would seem, however, that the rectilinear form and general proportions, together with the comparatively weak setting justified its consideration in the context of native enclosures rather then pre-Roman works (F2 RE 15-FEB-71). (PastScape)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact