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Middleton St George Tower Hill

In the civil parish of Middleton St George.
In the historic county of Durham.
Modern Authority of Darlington.
1974 county of County Durham.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ34601232
Latitude 54.50502° Longitude -1.46718°

Middleton St George Tower Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Tower Hill motte is very well preserved and is a good example of a motte castle. Such monuments are not common in County Durham. The monument includes a Norman motte situated in a prominent position overlooking the River Tees. The motte, circular in plan and flat topped, is constructed upon a partly natural mound. It is 5.5m high and 22m in diameter across the top and 50m across the base. The surrounding ditch, which has been infilled, lies beneath the path which has been constructed around the perimeter of the motte. The motte was constructed in this strategic position in order to dominate and control the passage of traffic across the river. (Scheduling Report)

Tower Hill was once the site of a Norman motte, of 11th or 12th century date. It measures 22m in diameter across the top. It may once have been surrounded by a ditch, but there are now no traces of one. The motte may have been built to guard the crossing point of the River Tees at Pountney's Bridge. (Keys to the Past)

Pountney's Bridge (Pons Tees) was the crossing point of the River Tees 300m south of Tower Hill. This was the site of the Roman crossing point and the bridge, which was of stone and had an associated chapel, may have originated with the Romans. The bridge was in use throughout the middle ages but was gradually superseded by Croft Bridge 8km west. The date of its destruction is not known but probably gone by Leland's time (1530's) as he does not mention it. This was a major crossing point at the time the motte at Middleton was constructed and it seems certain the castle did have a role to play in guarding this crossing point. Toward the end of the time the bridge was in use, after the castle had gone out of use, the road was notorious for highwaymen.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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