Swine Castle Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TA 12545 34334

Reasons for Designation

Motte castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bai1ey castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as motte castles. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Hill at Swine survives reasonably well. Limited excavations have confirmed that evidence of defensive and domestic structures survives on the mound.


The monument is the Castle Hill at Swine, the remains of a medieval motte. It includes a steep-sided oval mound enclosed by an earthen bank, a dry moat and a counterscarp bank of up-cast earth. The mound is 150m in length north east to south west and up to 100m in breadth. At its highest point in the centre of the mound it is 5m high. It is immediately enclosed around its base by an earthen bank 0.5m high and 5m wide. The moat is up to 10m wide and 1m deep. The surrounding counterscarp bank measures 1m high and 5m wide. The south western end of the monument has been truncated by the construction of the (now disused) railway line. In 1918 a trench was dug across the site by soldiers from a nearby training camp. They were supervised by Tom Sheppard, Curator of Hull Museum. This 110m- long trench was orientated north west to south east and traversed the hill from its north eastern end. It survives as a silted feature 2m deep and 3m wide. The excavation recovered quantities of medieval pottery and the corner of a brick building which Sheppard considered to be of Elizabethan date. A hall is referred to at the site in a record of 1668 and may be the 'Mansion House' which gave the site its 18th-century name. The monument is thought to be the castle of Branceholme built by Sir John Saher before 1200. In 1353 John de Sutton was fined for crenellating a castle at the site.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire, (1912), 23
Poulson, G, History and Antiquities of Holderness, (1841), 326-331
Shephard, T, 'ERAST' in The Castle, Swine, , Vol. 23, (1920)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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