Pallet Hill motte and bailey castle, 80m north west of St Anne's Church
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Richmondshire (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 23961 98043
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were superseded by other types of castle.
Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving round barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
The importance of Pallett Hill motte is heightened by its proximity to the medieval Great North Road and to Castle Hills motte and bailey to the south west. It's likely identification as an adulterine castle also adds interest as does the possibility that it is a reused round barrow. If it is indeed a round barrow it is an exceptionally well-preserved example of very high importance.
The monument includes a mound identified as the motte for a small motte
and bailey castle within Catterick village. The bailey is now occupied by
the church and surrounding churchyard to the south west and is not
included in the monument.
There is no known documentary reference specifically to a castle within Catterick village. Any references to medieval castles at Catterick are usually thought to apply instead to the larger Castle Hills motte and bailey nearly 2km to the south east which is scheduled as SM 34720. The motte and bailey in the village is thought to be a short lived adulterine (unlicensed) castle built to control the Great North Road which passed through the village immediately to the east. It was probably built by the Earl of Richmond, Alan the Black, during the reign of Stephen (1135-1154), and dismantled by order of Henry II. Stephen's reign was dominated by civil war against Empress Matilda and saw many unlicenced castles built, often with the purpose of extracting money from travellers and the local population. The motte may have been modified from a natural hillock, but it has also been suggested that it was modified from a prehistoric burial mound known as a round barrow, and is marked as a tumulus on Ordnance Survey maps
The steep sided mound is sited on the edge of a natural rise in the land surface so that its top is approximately 8m-9m higher than the land to the east, but only about 5m higher than the land to the west. The top of the mound is approximately 12m by 7m and is orientated north-south. It is however, cut into by eroded footpaths running up to the summit from all sides. Showing as earthworks and the occasional exposed stone, there are hints that beneath the turf there are stone footings or the remains of walling The churchyard to the south west is believed to have been the castle's bailey. It has sharply defined north eastern and south eastern sides with scarps some 3m-4m down to the east and south.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
L'Anson, W M, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Castles of the North Riding, , Vol. 22, (1913)
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