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Beetham Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Dallam Park; Dee Park; Haverbrack

In the civil parish of Beetham.
In the historic county of Westmorland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Westmorland.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD49378082
Latitude 54.22055° Longitude -2.77817°

Beetham Castle Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The ringwork on Castle Hill in Dallam Park 380m south east of Dallam Tower is a rare example of this class of monument in north west England and despite the absence of an obvious defensive ditch it survives reasonably well. It is considered to be the forerunner of the nearby Dallam Tower, a 14th century stronghold, and as such attests to the military importance of this area during the later medieval period.
The monument includes a medieval ringwork located in Dallam Park on a prominent hilltop known as Castle Hill 380m south east of Dallam Tower. It is strategically situated to overlook the lowest bridging point of the River Bela and the village of Milnthorpe. Although no documentary evidence exists relating to the construction of the ringwork it is thought to be a precursor to the 14th century Dallam Tower.
The ringwork includes a sub-circular earth and stone mound measuring up to 42m east-west by 35m north-south. It has a flat top which has been created by raising the mound above the surrounding landscape only slightly on the north side but between 2m and 4m elsewhere. The top of the mound measures 27m by 22m and it contains an earth and stone bank up to 0.35m high around its eastern, southern and western edges. The monument lies within land on the Parks and Gardens Register where it is known as Dallam Tower, GD1655. (Scheduling Report)

Mound, in the park 350 yards S.E. of Dallam Tower, is of irregular semi-circular form, about 33 yards across and rising about 5 ft. above the surrounding ground. It was probably the site of some mediæval building. (RCHME 1936)

Castle Hill:- a mound of irregular, semi-circular form, 350 yds SE of Dallam Tower. ? Site of Medieval building (OS record).
The Dallam Park earthwork is in a good defensive position on the highest point of an esker. It is an irregular oval in plan, with bank best preserved on the south and very weak on the North. The site was levelled in the 18th Century, when quantities of bone and metal and wall foundations were found, and was probably planted with trees at that time. A section on the south side in 1965 showed a ditch outside the bank, stone revetting on the outer face of the bank, and a post-hole 9" square, in the interior about 10' from the bank. No artifacts were recovered, but there was a considerable quantity of charcoal at the ditch bottom.
The work is probably a small fort, of any period from 5th Century (or earlier) to 11th Century; it is unlikely to be the site of a medieval building (as suggested by the RCHM) because the medieval sites in the area are reasonably documented and established elsewhere (oral information).
The flat-topped, defensively situated mound is correctly described. Surveyed at 1/2500. Other features shown on A.O. 2215 are old field boundaries with scarps formed lynchet fashion on the downhill sides. Hollows are amorphous and of no interest; no building sites were noted (F1 FRH 29-AUG-67).
SD 49368081. Medieval ringwork in Dallam Park, thought to be a precursor to the 14th century Dallam Tower. Scheduled. (Scheduled Monument Notification 03-SEP-2004).
A medieval mound is visible as an earthwork on air photographs, within the grounds of Dallam Park at SD 4936 8081. Medieval/post medieval ridge and furrow appears to respect the extent of the mound. The feature appears to be extant on the latest 1991 Ordnance Survey vertical photography, albeit under some tree cover (AP 1982)
The earthwork remains of the probable medieval mound described above could be seen at SD 4936 8082 on aerial photographs and lidar images taken in 2009. The mound is sub-circular with a flattened top and measures approximately 33m x 45m (LIDAR SD4880 DTM 12-18 APR 2009). (PastScape)

Although recorded in the RCHME Inventory of 1936 it is not described in a obvious fashion as a castle. However it is also in Curwen's gazetteer of 1913 but still appears to have been either missed or dismissed by David Cathcart King. The location, in the centre of a deer park, is not typical of a Norman castle, although not unknown. There remains a possibility this was a park lodge, or park viewing mound, of post-Norman date, sited on a hill to give views of the hunting, rather than to be defensive.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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