Hope Motte


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Hope Motte
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 02:48:52.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

High Peak (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SK 17153 83433

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 monument is important because it is representative of a short-lived phase of a specific type of monument built during the late Anglo-Saxon or early Norman periods. This particular example is located at the site of an important pre-Norman estate and is therefore important to our understanding of the early medieval Peak District. Although partly eroded, much of the monument survives in good condition, including the survival of an outer ditch which is likely to contain buried archaeological evidence. It is also possible that the base of the ditch fill is waterlogged and, as such, could also contain valuable environmental evidence.


The monument includes the mound and ditch of Hope Motte, an earthwork situated on a natural spur overlooking the Peakshole Water in the village of Hope. To the north east of the mound stands the parish church. The mound is likely to date to the early Norman period or possibly to the late Anglo-Saxon period. Over time, the Peakshole Water has eroded the base of the mound causing general slippage of part of the earthwork. From the north, the mound is approximately 4.5m high but from the south the earthwork rises to about 11m above the river, due to the landslope. The mound has become truncated on its southern side due to river erosion, forming a crescent shaped earthwork. The mound has overall dimensions of approximately 45m by 28m. The riverine erosion has exposed part of the interior of the mound and shows that it is composed of earth and shale of local origin. The mound is typical of other motte earthworks in the region, being conical with a flat top. To the north and west of the mound is a shallow ditch about 7m wide and up to 1.5m deep. It is likely that the ditch was originally much deeper but has become infilled with material gradually eroded from the mound. Due to river erosion, it is not possible to say whether there was ever a ditch around the southern edge of the mound. To the immediate east of the earthwork stands a private dwelling, the garden and yard of which have obscured any evidence for a ditch on this side. There is no evidence for an outer bailey associated with the mound. However, more recent buildings, roads and yards may have obscured such evidence. To the east of the mound stands the church of St Peter's, a pre-Conquest foundation with a tenth century cross shaft in the churchyard, a reminder that Hope was an important centre during the Anglo-Saxon period. Indeed, it is possible that the earthwork could date to the later Anglo-Saxon period. Such earthworks are known to have been built at important locations during this period and sometimes they also functioned as administrative meeting places, known as `moots'. However, it is thought likely that Hope Motte was erected during the 11th century as one of a series of similar strongpoints built in Britain by the Normans. The Norman military focus was later transferred to Peveril Castle at Castleton, 2km to the west. A castle was mentioned at Hope during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) and may well refer to these earthworks. Excluded from the scheduling are all stone walls, gates, fences and posts, buildings, yards and roadways, although the ground beneath all of these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 7 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981), 145-6
No. 8111, Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire County SMR, (1984)


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

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