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Highmoat; The Mote

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
ffergus grame, High Moat; Liddale; Liddel Moat; ye mote; Upper Moat

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY396767
Latitude 55.05452° Longitude -2.94548°

Highmoat; The Mote has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a probable Pele Tower, and also as a probable Bastle.

There are no visible remains.


A tower of 'ffergus grame' is depicted on the 1552 map of Cumbria, as a tower called 'ye mote' on the map of 1590, and as a house called 'The Mote' on the plot of 1607. This could have been a tower and moat rather than a motte. (PastScape)

Possible Tower or Motte.
Marked on the 1552 Map as a tower and houses of 'ffergus grame', on the 1590 Map as a tower on 'ye mote' and as a tower at 'The mote' on the 1607 Platt. Tower also shown on the 1607 Platt at Red Hill NY 409 735, which may have been on the site of Moat Farm. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

There is no evidence of a motte but the 'Mote' name appears to have suggested to some this could be a possible location for an outwork or siege work of Liddel Strength. However, the whole area has 'mote' place-names and these all actually just refer to places previously in the demense of Liddel Strength (often called The Mote of Liddel). Water filled moats are unusual in this area.
The sites shown on the 1552 map do tend to have been pele-towers (unlike the later maps where stonehouses are usual) although this is shown as a three storey house with roof, rather than with the crenellations shown on other towers. The Graham's where a large family with many branches of varying social status and wealth but some members did have the wealth to build towers. Fergus Graham was a brother to the family head Richard of Netherbye and a major member of the family.
In Thomas Mulgraves letter to Burghley of 1583 called a 'howse'.
The Roy military map of 1752-55 shows 'Upper Moat' as a complex of building with two focii. Given the apparent status of Fergus Graham it may be the late C16 High Moat was a small hamlet of unfortified domestic and farm buildings around a small, Scottish style, tower house or large bastle-house. Fergus Graham may have had one or two dozen adult men within shouting distance of his house, many of whom would have been experienced reviers.
The map reference given in PastScape (NY39907381) seems unjustifiable precise. A location under or close to the modern farmhouse or farm buildings at Highmoat appears more likely.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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