The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Barwick in Elmet, Hall Tower Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Barwick In Elmet And Scholes.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Leeds.
1974 county of West Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE39893769
Latitude 53.83221° Longitude -1.39596°

Barwick in Elmet, Hall Tower Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Barwick in Elmet lies between the rivers Wharfe and Aire, north of the Aire's confluence with the River Calder. The monument comprises two areas which include the remains of a large Iron Age univallate hillfort and a twelfth century motte and bailey castle. The Iron Age hillfort enclosed the tops of two adjacent hills, Wendel Hill and Hall Tower Hill. The motte and bailey castle, though lying inside the hillfort, occupied Hall Tower Hill only. The substantial remains of the bank and ditch that enclosed the hillfort survive in a well-preserved state round Wendel Hill, where it measures up to 4.5m from base to summit, and also to the south-west of the motte on Hall Tower Hill, though here it was modified in the twelfth century to form part of the medieval defences. In addition, the south circuit of this bank and ditch, where it circled round the south side of Hall Tower Hill and proceeded north-east to join the circuit round Wendel Hill, was found when houses were built next to the motte in the 1960s. The remains of a massive inturned entrance are visible in the northern circuit, on the north-west side of Wendel Hill, and much of the interior of the hillfort is preserved in the open areas behind the houses and premises along The Boyle. Here the remains of a variety of associated features will survive below ground and will include such features as the post-holes and trenches of buildings, storage pits and hearths, and a variety of small finds indicative of the occupations of people living within the hillfort. Coins dating to the second century BC and first century AD have already been recovered. The motte and bailey castle was built at the southern end of the hillfort and comprised the motte, which stands c.15m high and is surrounded by a deep ditch c.15m wide, and the bailey which extended to the north and east. The east side of the bailey, which originally extended beyond the limits of the earlier hillfort, has largely been built over by urban development within Barwick in Elmet, but sufficient remains to contain ample buried evidence of the domestic and garrison buildings that formerly occupied it. When the motte was built it would have been crowned by a timber tower and palisade, but there is as yet no evidence that this was ever replaced in stone. The castle was built by the de Lacy family, who held the Honour of Pontefract throughout most of the Middle Ages, and was the administrative centre of the northern part of the Honour; a role it took over from the ringwork castle at Kippax. The de Lacys also held the motte and bailey castle at Almondbury which, coincidentally, was also built inside a hillfort. (Scheduling Report)

Dr David Mercer pointed out to Gatehouse that this motte has a distinct change of slope halfway up. This is suggestive of this mound starting out as a ringwork and was then later in-filled and raised into a tall conical motte.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact