Chapel Hill Motte, Arkholme
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1012695
Date first listed: 24-Jun-1982
Date of most recent amendment: 04-Jan-1991
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Lancaster (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SD 58929 71835
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were superseded by other types of castle.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 motte at Arkholme is of particular importance as being one of the group of early post-conquest (late 11th century) mottes established along the Lune valley. These sites were all of strategic importance allowing control of movement along the river valley. More importantly, however, was their role in imposing and demonstrating the new post-conquest feudal order on the area. Of the wider Lune valley group this is one of the best preserved examples. A lengthy period of occupation of the site has been indicated by excavation which revealed evidence of two periods of construction, and use of the motte.
The monument at Arkholme comprises a truncated cone, the remnants of a
medieval motte castle, situated on a commanding position dominating a
slight bend in the River Lune overlooking an old river crossing.
The motte lies in Arkholme churchyard immediately NE of the church, the
vestry of which overlies the monument slightly on its SW. The bailey,
which was originally attached to the motte, is now very indistinct as it
has been considerably disturbed by burials and activities both within
and beyond the churchyard. Because of the damaged state of this bailey
it is not included in this Scheduling. The churchyard wall runs around
the motte on the NW, N and E sides and acts as a retaining wall. This
wall is excluded from the scheduling as is the corner of the vestry
where it overlies the monument.
The ground beneath the churchyard wall and the corner of the vestry,
however, 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: 13411
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Farrer, W, Brownbill, J, The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire, (1914)
White, A J, Excavations at Arkholme 1973-4, (1975)
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)
Leech, P, AM 107 (Re Arkholme motte & bailey), (1983)
SMR Lancs. PRN 629,
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