Castle Hill motte and site of a World War II gun emplacement


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019209

Date first listed: 26-Oct-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill motte and site of a World War II gun emplacement
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 13:37:40.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Maryport

National Grid Reference: NY 03384 36263


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The gun emplacement on the summit of Castle Hill motte formed part of the defences of Maryport harbour and its approaches during World War II. Despite the construction of the gun emplacement on its summit, Castle Hill motte and its surrounding defensive ditch survives reasonably well and remains a good example of this class of monument. The remains of the gun emplacement are a rare survival of the artillery defences which were employed at strategic points along the Cumbrian coast, and will add greatly to any further study of the World War II defences in this area.


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


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Castle Hill motte, a 12th century medieval castle, together with the foundations of a World War II gun emplacement located on the summit of the motte. The motte is strategically situated at the end of a ridge overlooking a horseshoe bend in the River Ellen close to the river's mouth, and overlooks the point where an earlier Roman road crossed the river. The motte is surrounded by a ditch on all sides except the west where defence is afforded by the steeply sloping hillside. On the summit of the motte there are the concrete foundations of a World War II gun emplacement which guarded the approaches to Maryport harbour.

Property boundaries on the monument's northern side and a modern wall on the monument's western side are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 32853

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bailey, J B, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Notes on Roman Roads at Maryport and on the Netherhall Collection, , Vol. XXVI, (1926), 415-9
Perriam, D R, Robinson, J, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. Extra Series.' in The Medieval Fortified Buildings Of Cumbria, , Vol. XX1X, (1998), 19
SMR No. 827, Cumbria SMR, Mote Hill, Castle Hill motte, (1987)

End of official listing