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Westnewton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Newton Castle

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY13074376
Latitude 54.78119° Longitude -3.35311°

Westnewton Castle has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The 'castle' - a probable fortified manor house - is surrounded by a small number of enclosures, part of which may represent garden features. The site is located at the extreme south-western end of Westnewton village, at the head of the main street. The village is laid out along the bottom of a shallow valley, on either side of Westnewton Beck. The monument occupies the same low lying ground but a pronounced meander in the beck - which could have artificial origins - takes the beck to the east and south of the earthworks. The most prominent features of the site are two mounds, 1.5m high and up to 26m wide, which are linked by two much slighter banks, the whole probably representing the remains of towers linked by a cross-hall. Large facing stones are visible protruding from the turf of the more northerly of the mounds. Two possible excavation trenches were noted on the southernmost mound although there is no known record of any antiquarian excavation at the site. To the front of the house is a square enclosure, approximately 25m by 25m, defined by banks to the north-west and north-east, but only a short return of the inner scarp on the south-eastern side. The enclosure has an entrance in its northern corner and is probably the remains of a courtyard adjoining the front of the house. The north-eastern bank of the courtyard continues, in a reduced form, for a further 26m. A linear bank, 0.3m high, with external ditch, marks the south-eastern perimeter of the earthworks. To the west of the house are the remains of a large, irregular enclosure, marked by a broad flat-bottomed ditch accompanied by an inner bank. The ditch probably held water but may have been an ornamental rather than a defensive feature. (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments–Amy Lax/25-May-1999/RCHME: National SAMs Survey Pilot Project)

The site of Westnewton Castle, at the western end of the village and close to the stream, may mark the baronial home of the de Neuton family and the start of the settlement which bears their name. However, the surviving ruins - now just limited to grassy mounds and faint ditches – are now thought to be those of a mediaeval manor house, fortified or ornamented by a moat and gatehouse. The natural meander in the stream and the flatness of the land would readily lend the site to being moated. (Cowle 2008)

The mound, over a collapsed tower, has been described as a motte and the site does have a superficial resemblance to a motte and bailey. However there is nothing to really suggest any form of earthwork castle here. The de Neuton's obtained the manor in the mid C12.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:53

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