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Gale Bay moat, Barton

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Trostetmont; Trostermosit; Triestmont; Tristermont; Hodgson's Hill

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY46402332
Latitude 54.60202° Longitude -2.83120°

Gale Bay moat, Barton has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

A moated site called Trostermosit or Triestmont on C17 maps, mentioned in marriage settlement C14 by Sir W Strickland on his son Thomas. The site is also extant on Machells plan of 1691. Consists of a triangular area of 5 acres with its base on the lake facing NW and its 2 sides isolated from the mainland by an obtuse angled ditch, 10 yds wide and 894 yds long, with the ends entering the lake. The excavated earth seems to have been thrown up into a mound in the S angle. The field is drained, but not across the site, and is subject to ploughing at 5-6 year intervals. (Lake District HER)

Despite erosion on the monument's western side that has obscured the surrounding moat, and infilling of the remainder of the moat, the monument's earthworks survive reasonably well. Documentary evidence indicates the site was occupied during the 14th century and past ploughing on the summit of the hill has revealed sandstone confirming that structural foundations survive.
The monument is a moated site and an associated annexe south of Gale Bay. It includes Hodgson Hill, a natural feature, measuring approximately 90m by 50m and up to 8m high, that has been altered by some levelling of the summit to create a building platform and the digging of a now infilled moat up to 10m wide around its base on all sides except the west where Ullswater affords protection. Immediately to the south of the moat is a flat platform or annexe, also formed by a modification of the natural hillslope, measuring c.50m by 25m. According to local tradition the monument is known as Tristermont, home of Sir Tristram, one of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table. The site is mentioned in a 14th century document by Sir W Strickland and his son, Thomas. Past ploughing has revealed sandstone on the summit of the hill, indicative of structural foundations. All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included. (Scheduling Report)

Two small trenches (c. 0.3m X 1m) were excavated on the top of the mound at Hodgson''s Hill in May 2001 by Mr T.C. Bell in an attempt to prove his theory that this site is a Roman fort. This work was carried out without Scheduled Monument Consent. One piece of glazed medieval pottery was recovered from one of the trenches and a medieval jug handle and a piece of dressed sandstone were found by JCH on the shore, below the mound, during site visit. The site does not appear to be moated - there is no sign now of an infilled moat - but the presence of dressed sandstone and sherds of medieval pottery indicate that the site was occupied in the medieval period. There is no evidence of Roman occupation. (Lake District HER)

Hodgson Hill is referred to as a crannog on OS 6" (County Series) presumably based on Taylor writing in 1868, quoting Machell who surveyed the site 230 years earlier (2). Machell describes the site as the ancient fortification called Trostermount or Tristermount, the abode of Sir Tristram one of King Arthur's knights. Taylor (1874) however considered it to be a crannog. The same site was later described by Curwen (1912) who suggested it was in medieval times entrenched as a moated grange. The Royal Commissioners (1936) also suggest the place is a homestead moat. Hay (1938) states that there is not a scrap of walling or even suspicious mounding to be seen anywhere.
The only one definite feature is the well-cut ditch which was probably continued on the S side near the spot where the steamboats are laid up for the winter. Further he considers the hill to be most probably a perfectly natural phenomenon caused by glacial action; though he adds "doubtless Curwen and the Royal Commissioners are right in thinking it a work of the homestead-moat type, but long before the medieval period it must have been a very valuable position in those uncertain days".
The remains of a probable moat, visible only on the east side as a well-defined scarp. Hodgson Hill is a natural hillock (F1 BHP 13-DEC-68). (PastScape)
Comments

In the centre of a deer park.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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