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East Bridgford Pancake Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Cuttle Hill

In the civil parish of East Bridgford.
In the historic county of Nottinghamshire.
Modern Authority of Nottinghamshire.
1974 county of Nottinghamshire.
Medieval County of Nottinghamshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK68644339
Latitude 52.98360° Longitude -0.97865°

East Bridgford Pancake Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthworks with the appearance of a motte and bailey lie to the north of Bridgford Street, East Bridgford, near the ferry. (VCH) A flat topped mound surrounded by a ditch is visible at SK 68644339. Nothing resembling a bailey can be seen. (AP) A natural promontory on the Trent escarpment, accentuated by an old field road. Now ploughed over. No earthworks were noted adjacent to the former ferry. (Field Investigators Comments–F1 FDC 29-JAN-75) SK 687434. Motte and bailey castle 500 yds north-west of the church. (Scheduled Monument Notification–DOE (IAM) Anc Mons Eng 3 1978 77) (PastScape)

The earthworks are very slight and until October 2005 had been completely overgrown with trees, scrub and rank grasses. They are interpreted by the Nottinghamshire SMR as the earthwork remains of a small motte and bailey castle. The current project seeks to enquire whether this is the case or not. A motte sits on the edge of a river formed escarpment. It is broadly speaking a conical mound 13x18m in diameter at the summit which utilises the steep natural slopes to the north-west and is separated from the bailey to the south-east by a broad ditch. The motte ditch links to a well preserved curving holloway (and possible former defensive ditch) to the south-west, however on the north-east a slight causeway (which may in fact prove to be a later infilling) terminates this feature. To the north-east the site is defined by a slightly curving ditch 57m long which terminates in backfill from ploughing. Beyond the ditch further to the north-east is a spit of land before the topography dips into the exaggerated holloway (and probably natural feature) of Trent Lane. A small pond or groundwater spring stands 29m immediately south-east of the north-eastern ditch. The holloway and north-eastern ditch enclose a gently sloping bailey area 39x34m in dimension. Traces of a suspected rampart are particularly evident on the south-western perimeter. (J. Wright, 2008, Pancake Hill Archaeological Project online)

This heavily ploughed site overlooks crossing of River Trent. Recent excavations by Pancake Hill Archaeological Project in the unscheduled area have evidence of medieval metalworking and a substantial C12-C14 bank and ditch, which suggest this was an area of some importance in the period at which a castle may have existed. This may be be a castle built to defend and control a major river crossing but equally, as with many such sites, one built to give access to a major river and the relatively smooth and rapid transport that facilitated the peripatetic lifestyle of the medieval elite.
Pancake is a name applied to a few castle sites, mostly ringworks. The origin is often topographic and refers to 'pancakes' that where made from heavy batters and were like Yorkshire puddings (particularly t' proper large puddin') in having a raised rim; however, in some cases it may be the name is later and is because the site has become associated with Easter activities including pancake tossing races. Was the original form of this flat topped motte one with an embanked edge to the top of the motte?
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:51

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