Tute Hill motte


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013388

Date first listed: 25-Oct-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Tute Hill motte
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Cockermouth

National Grid Reference: NY 12454 30781


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Despite truncation of the monument's summit, Tute Hill motte survives reasonably well. It is of particular historical and archaeological importance because it is the only known example of this class of monument in the Derwent valley. Mottes were of strategic importance allowing control of movement along river valleys. More importantly, however, was the role these sites played in imposing and demonstrating the new post-Conquest feudal order on the area.


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


The monument includes Tute Hill motte. It is strategically located on a plateau close to the confluence of the Rivers Cocker and Derwent and includes a slightly oval earthen mound measuring approximately 18.7m east-west by 16.6m north-south and up to 3m high. The summit of the motte has been truncated and now bears a hollow measuring c.3.5m in diameter and 0.4m deep. The motte would originally have been constructed during the early/mid-12th century but was quickly superseded by the present Cockermouth Castle.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 23798

Legacy System: RSM


AM Record Form, Charlesworth, D, Tute Hill, (1972)
FMW Report, Crow, J, Tute Hill, (1991)
Leach,P.E., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Motte and Bailey castles, (1988)
SMR No. 849, Cumbria SMR, Tute Hill, Cockermouth, (1987)

End of official listing