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Acklam Motte

In the civil parish of Acklam.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire East Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE78366135
Latitude 54.04218° Longitude -0.80484°

Acklam Motte has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A type of motte and bailey castle adapted to suit its location on a promontory projecting from the lower scarp of the Wolds. The castle lies near a hamlet known as Scotland, on the south side of Acklam Beck, about 350m south-west of the parish church. The steep-sided promontory offers a naturally defensive position requiring only slight additional fortification but, while this means that the motte and bailey earthworks are not massive, the essential elements of this type of castle, a main stronghold and one or more outer courts, can be identified. To the west and south of the promontory the steep scarp was not greatly modified, although a wooden palisade will have been constructed at the top of the scarp and the trenches or pits dug to accommodate the timbers will survive as buried features. Along the northern side the scarp is less steep and here a ditch with an outer bank was constructed; despite recent terracing of the hillside to the south of the modern poultry houses, the ditch is still visible as a 5m wide linear depression over most of its length and the western part of the bank survives as a 1m high, 5m wide earthwork in the corner of the field to the north-west of the castle. The spine of the promontory rises gradually to the west and its highest point has been artificially shaped to form a slight knoll approximately 15m in diameter; this will have served as the motte, originally the site of a stout wooden tower. On the western side of the motte the ground falls away gradually, providing a gentle sloping plateau surrounded by the steeply scarped edge of the promontory. This plateau, which measures at least 20m north-south by 30m east-west, was used as a western bailey of the castle. The eastern side of the motte was strengthened by an 8m wide ditch across the spine of the hill, dividing the motte from the relatively level ground to the east. This area, measuring 40m east-west by 20m north-south, served as a second bailey and was bounded on its eastern side by an artificially terraced scarp which was 1m high with a slight ditch at its foot. The flat area between the outer edge of the eastern bailey and the modern road leading up Pasture Hill was the site of a third, outer bailey. The eastern rampart of this bailey will have lain adjacent to the road and, as it will have been altered over the years by its incorporation into the field boundary, the rampart is no longer visible as an earthwork. The motte and bailey at Acklam is very similar, in form and topographical location, to the nearby castle at Mount Ferrant in Birdsall, although the latter is built on a much larger scale. It may be that Acklam was an outlying stronghold of the Fossard family. The original timber castle may have been rebuilt in stone. (Scheduling Report)

Described as hopelessly worn down, or perhaps unfinished.
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:49

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