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Motte and bailey castle, known as Mowbray Castle, east of Kirkby Malzeard

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Motte and bailey castle, known as Mowbray Castle, east of Kirkby Malzeard

List entry Number: 1012994


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Harrogate

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Kirkby Malzeard

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Apr-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Dec-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 26935

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Except for minor disturbance of the motte in the 19th century during antiquarian investigations, the motte and bailey at Kirkby Malzeard castle are well preserved; the below ground remains of medieval structures will survive on the motte and within the bailey while the buried landsurface beneath the motte will retain environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the castle was constructed. The castle retains important information about the form and structure and provides a valuable contribution to the study of medieval fortifications and their subsequent function in the landscape.


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


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the north edge of a spur, at the foot of which flows the Kex Beck. The area of the motte is heavily wooded and the bailey is under pasture. The northern end of the spur has been scarped to form a large but low motte, with a platform some 25m in diameter. The motte falls away sharply to the west, whilst to the south and east it slopes gently to the bailey. The bailey has a well defined rampart on the north west, and traces of rampart and ditch on the west and south sides. The exact line of its eastern defences is uncertain. The north of the monument is defined by the edge of Kex Beck which has at some time been revetted. The bailey measures 110m across. There is no stone fabric visible although excavations have revealed the existence of stone defences and evidence suggesting the presence of domestic buildings on the motte. The surrounding woodland was landscaped in post medieval times and the motte had a series of terraces and steps built onto it in the 19th century, of which little trace can now be seen. A road runs along the base of the motte to the south east, separating the motte from the bailey. The monument is first mentioned in 1131 and was one of the three Mowbray castles slighted after the insurrection of 1173-74. It was destroyed in 1176 on the order of Henry II, and does not appear to have been re-occupied since. It came into the hands of the Aislbie family in the 18th century and the surrounding woodland was landscaped to create rides and vistas. The surface of the road is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1913), p19

National Grid Reference: SE 23753 74556


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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2018 at 05:50:49.

End of official listing