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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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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
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.
Books and journalsHunter-Blair, C H, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 22' in The Early castles of Northumberland, (1944), 163-4OtherNo. 5432,
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 Culture, Media and Sport.
This map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. This copy shows the entry on 26-Feb-2024 at 23:39:09.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2024. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2024. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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