Motte and bailey castle on Money Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011418

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Motte and bailey castle on Money Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Chollerton

National Grid Reference: NY 90793 75716

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 and bailey castle on Money Hill is a well preserved example of a class of monument which is not common in Northumberland. It will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the spread of Norman occupation in Britain.


The monument includes a well preserved Norman motte and bailey castle situated in a naturally defended position on the end of a promontory formed by the confluence of the Coal and Gunnerton Burns. The conical motte stands at a height of approximately 5m and measures 30m across at the base and 10m across its circular top. There is a large hollow 3m across at the top of the motte, the result of partial excavation at the end of the 19th century. The mound is surrounded by a ditch 2.5m wide. The accompanying bailey lies to the south and east of the motte and is delineated by the steep slopes of the promontory except for a length of bank at the southernmost tip of the promontory and two broad banks 7m wide, each with a ditch 1.5m across, on the north-east side which is not naturally defended. The latter earthworks are also associated with an original entrance and causeway across the ditch giving access to the motte.

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: 20923

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hunter-Blair, C H, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 22' in The Early castles of Northumberland, (1944), 163-4
No. 5432,

End of official listing