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Beaumont Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Beaumont on Eden

In the civil parish of Beaumont.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY34805929
Latitude 54.92408° Longitude -3.01880°

Beaumont Motte has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Despite construction of a 12th century church and churchyard on the summit of the mound, Beaumont motte survives reasonably well. It is the lowest of the medieval castles which lined the Eden Valley and was of strategic importance in controlling movement along the river valley. More important, however, was the role it played in imposing and demonstrating the new post-Conquest feudal order on the area. Limited excavation in the churchyard extension to the west of the motte in 1928 found evidence of the buried remains of Hadrian's Wall, and further evidence of the wall foundations, including the foundations of turret 70a, will exist beneath the motte.
The monument includes Beaumont motte castle, beneath which are the buried remains of a length of Hadrian's Wall and a turret, 70a. The site is strategically situated on a local high point overlooking the River Eden and lies in Beaumont village beneath St Mary's Church and part of the churchyard.
The motte is oval-shaped and measures approximately 45m north-south by 40m east-west and is up to 2m high. Beneath the motte there are the foundations of a turf section of Hadrian's Wall; an excavation in the churchyard's western extension a few metres to the west of the motte in 1928 proved the existence of these remains. It is also known that Hadrian's Wall changed alignment on the elevated ground beneath the motte. The Wall approached this high point on an approximate north west-south east alignment. On reaching the summit it swung 36 degrees to the west to follow an east-west alignment. At this angle turret 70a was constructed and its remains will also exist below the motte.
The motte castle is thought to have been constructed by the le Brun family during the 12th century. In 1306 Sir Richard le Brun was lord of Beaumont but removed his residence to Drumburgh Castle, for which he received a licence to crenellate in 1307. However, it is probable that the motte had been abandoned shortly before this date for it is known that Sir Elias de Thirwall had been appointed rector of St Mary's Church in 1296. (Scheduling Report)

The building of the church probably marks the end of the castle as a residence and administrative centre. Curwen dated this as 'soon after' 1307 when the licence to crenellate Drumburgh Castle, however the church is dated as late C12 and Drumburgh was a manorial centre before the licence to crenellate so the actual date of abandonment may well have been late C12 meaning the castle probably had a life of less than a century.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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