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Castleward Fort

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Knock y Troddan; Hill of the Fight; Sod Castle; Cashtal yn Mhoid

In the parish of Braddan.
On the Isle of Man.

OS Map Grid Reference: SC37107827
Latitude 54.17411° Longitude -4.49729°

Castleward Fort has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a archaeological monument protected by law.


Castleward, old name Knoc y Troddan i.e. Hill of Contest (Kermode 1930).
It is situated on a steep isolated hillock of rock. The field in which it stands was known as Magher y Caggey or Field of the Battle. On Sept 5 1929 it was visited by the Cambrian Arch Assoc when Dr Willoughby Gardner said that the work was of feudal, not tribal construction. If found on the mainland, it would be known as a Motte and assigned to the 12th C. (Neely, 1939 – Magher y Caggey is in Onchan parish. SC 37 NE 20)
Erected on a natural rock base. On the summit a more or less circular flat area with an earthen protective wall, below are roomy and well formed terraces. The whole is enclosed by an earthen fence - Remains of a Norwegian station. (Train 1845) A letter written to the Ordnance Surveyor in 1867 states that this is the remains of a Cromwellian fort. There is no corroboration in history to support either of these opinions, This could not have been a place of defence in historic times the fact that it is overlooked by the near by ridge to the W would make it untenable (Cubbon 1952)
This is not a Motte but is of Iron Age or Dark Ages date. The top part of it is vitrified (oral information/staff comments)
A steep sided grass and tree covered mound with a rock face in the west. It is a natural feature situated in fairly low lying ground andit rises to a peak. The strong natural defences have been additionally strengthened by a series of banks and on the summit is anapprox circular area - A - 14.5M diameter surrounded by an earth and stone bank with indications of stone wall lining in the interior. The upper width of this bank is 1.5m and it now has a maximum interior height of 1.4m. There is an entrance 2.0m wide in the east. In the north is a semi circular outer bank, 0.6m upper width, max heighth 1.3m, forming a small inner bailey type enclosure. This is pierced with an entrance in the east set in line with the entrance to A. South of the entrance the bailey bank has deteriorated to a terrace. An outer bailey bank of no greater strength than a modern field bank and much mutilated exists from B-C, but from C-D it develops to 4.5m wide with a steep inner drop of 1.4m thin providing an outer ditch 6.5m wide. From D to E there are indications of the removal of this bank leaving only an outer glacis type slope. From E to F is the original entrance which curves down to G. It continues in line, via a rampart, across the outer ditch and through the inner bailey into the upper enclosure A. This causeway is 3.0m wide. South of the entrance the outer bailey splits into two forming two small enclosures with weak banks. At H is another enclosure, alsosmall, with weak outer bank. From A the ground falls down continuously through inner and outer baileys and slightly beyond to the modern field boundary shown on OS 25". The angular junction of baileys with each other and with the Motte summit at 'A' is, in itself, almost sufficient to classify the earthwork as a Norman type Motte and Bailey. No trace of vitrification was found. A plaque indicates that this is a protected monument. Until 1947 this site was accepted as the only typical example of a Norman type Motte and bailey on the Island. St J O'Neil who was an expert on Mottes quite definitely stated that this was not one and his view has been accepted by all but Bersu. St J O'Neil view was that it was probably DA (F1 DE 27.09.55).
Crescentic enclosure to the SE of Castleward closely resembles detail at Fort (Borrane) SC 27 NW 2 (oral information/staff comments). (PastScape)

Iron Age fort with some vitrfication, having an inner citadel, like that of the Herefordshire Beacon. (King 1983)

Comments (by Philip Davis)

Called a 'possible' castle by King (1983) although he tended to use this term for sites for which he had significant doubts.
Not near a church or any other obvious sign of medieval settlement, but not far from Douglas. Clearly the pre-historic defenses could have been reused in the medieval period but there is no evidence that any such reuse was military or by a high status individual.
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This record last updated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017