Motte castle, 170m west of Warden parish church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011417

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Dec-1993


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle, 170m west of Warden parish church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 03:41:49.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Warden

National Grid Reference: NY 91190 66518


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

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte castle at Warden is a well preserved example of a monument type which is rare in Northumberland. Evidence relating to the nature and duration of its use will be preserved and hence the site will contribute to the study of the Norman Conquest of northern Britain.


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


The monument includes a Norman motte situated on the top of a natural hill commanding a prominent position above the confluence of the rivers North and South Tyne. The conical motte, which stands at a height of at least 3m, has been constructed upon a high promontory in order to utilize the steep natural defence on the north, east and south sides and it is only on the west side that artificial defences have been dug. These consist of a ditch, which isolates the motte from the rest of the promontory, varying in width from 2.5m to a maximum of 5m. The motte is flat-topped and oval in plan measuring 35m by 19m. A bank has been constructed along its western edge which now stands at a height of 0.5m. There is a causeway across the ditch in the south-western corner of the monument, the presumed site of an original entrance. The motte was constructed in this strategic position in order to dominate the passage of traffic across the rivers. The wall which runs along the western boundary of the monument is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 20922

Legacy System: RSM


NY 96 NW 18,

End of official listing