Hood Hill motte and bailey


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.

North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
Kilburn High and Low
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 50377 81418

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey 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-bailey 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 and bailey 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 or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The castle on Hood Hill represents a type of motte and bailey whose configuration has been specifically adapted to suit its commanding situation. Although the hillside has suffered slight landslips, these do not appear to have dislodged any masonry and the foundations of buildings will survive. The castle's history is well documented and it has documented associations with the two rebellious noblemen, de Stuteville and de Mobray, as well as King Henry I.


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle occupying a commanding position on the crest of a very prominent ridge, about 800m west of the main range of the Hambleton Hills. As the ridge itself is very steep and not easily accessible, the formation of the stronghold required only slight modification of the summit. A 10m wide ditch is cut into the slope on the west side, about 10m below the crest and approximately level with the 250m contour, with the resultant spoil deposited downslope to form a 2m high outer bank. The top of the hill has been flattened off to give a relatively level platform measuring up to 40m north-south by 20m east-west and there is a slightly lower platform to the north but this is less clearly defined. Although some subsidence has occurred, mainly on the east-facing slopes, there is no evidence that this has damaged any structures in the castle. This fortress has been identified as the site of Hood Castle which was constructed by Robert de Stuteville (1086-1106) and passed to Henry I after de Stuteville's downfall. A license to crenellate with a ditch and stone wall was granted in 1264 and the castle is last mentioned in 1322.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
L'Anson, W M, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Castles of the East Riding, , Vol. 22, (1913)
Lee, G, Telephone conversation with National Park Officer, (1990)
Pacito, A L, NY SMR oblique photograph,
S. W., Ordnance Survey Record (Letter from H G Ramm), (1973)


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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