Castle Hall Hill motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009929

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Mar-1992


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hall Hill motte and bailey castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Mirfield

National Grid Reference: SE 21113 20450


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Hall Hill is a well-preserved example of an early motte and bailey castle whose historical associations are well-documented. The relatively undisturbed nature of the castle mound indicates that the remains of its keep will survive well.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Castle Hall Hill motte and bailey castle is situated adjacent to the nineteenth century parish church of St.Mary in Mirfield. The bailey is occupied by the church and its graveyard, both of which are in current ecclesiastical use, and this area is not at present included in the scheduling. The motte, which would have carried a timber keep, is a conical mound c.10m high and with a diameter of c.20m surrounded by a ditch c.8m wide and 5m deep. On the east side the ditch is divided by a causeway which joined the motte to the bailey where ancillary and garrison buildings would have stood along with pens for stock and horses. The castle was built between 1086 and 1159 either by Svein son of Alric or by Adam his son. Its purpose was to oversee some of the estates of the Honour of Pontefract of which these two men were successively the most powerful knights. After Adam's death without male heirs in 1159, the estate was divided and the castle reduced in status. It was not abandoned, however, and was known as the castle of Mirfield throughout the Middle Ages. Features which are excluded from the scheduling are the modern walls and railings surrounding the monument and signs erected inside. The ground beneath these exclusions is, however, included.

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: 13295

Legacy System: RSM


Documentary ref: WY SMR (Pag 455-458), West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council, Archaeological survey,

End of official listing