Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maurholme, nr Borwick

Maurholme\Morhull or Mirhull Castle
Pine Lake
Nr Borwick

There hasn't been a castle here now for several hundred years, and the site bears no evidence of this building at all. Maurholme is sandwiched between the M6 motorway and the A6, about a mile West of Borwick, and two miles to the East of Warton. The site now lays beneath the small lakes that go to make up the Pine Lake holiday resort.

It's likely that this site represents the position of the castle, manor or park of Maurholme. Excavations done in 1975, found that much of the site had been quarried away, and all that was found was some medieval pottery dated somewhere between the 12th and 14th centuries, and jewellery. Confidence seems pretty high that at the very least, a castle existed on or very near to this site.

Also associated with this site, and probably linked with the castle, are the alleged remains of a basin or a dock, possibly for ship\boat building.

Before the Norman conquest of England, Maurholme was one of twelve manors held by the Saxon lord Torfin as part of the Manor of Austwick (now in North Yorkshire) Sometime later, the manor was granted to the Lancasters...Lords of Kendal. By April 1200, King John had granted Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid permission to hold a court, gallows and a market in Warton and the surrounding areas. On the 22nd of January, 1216, Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid was forced to surrender "his castles of Morhull, Kirkeby and Berewic" and to pay a ransom\fine of twelve thousand marks to King John. This probably relates to the castles at Kendal, Maurholme, and possibly nearby Borwick. This punishment was as a result of Gilbert siding with the King's enemies, and also as a ransom for the return of his son William de Lancastre, and his knights, Ralph de Aencurt and Lambert de Busay, who were being held in Rochester Castle. It's likely that the castle at Maurholme was then destroyed whilst still in the King's possession, as it is not mentioned as a 'castle' from this time on. There are records suggesting that a motte existed at or near the village of Borwick, some quarter of a mile to the North East of the present day Pine Lake...perhaps there's the possibility that this site, and Maurholme could have been one and the same? The sites of Borwick Hall, the possible motte site, and the proposed site of Maurholme are all very close together.

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