Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Maryport Motte (Castle Hill) Maryport

Maryport Motte (Castle Hill)



My thanks go out to Jan Fialkowski, Facebook friend and photographer-extraordinaire, for providing me with this photo of the motte, Castle Hill, situated in a loop of the River Ellen in the sea-ward West of the town.

Maryport is a town of Roman remains: the fort of Alauna lies to the North of the town with Roman roads entering from the East and West, pele towers: Nether Hall, a large mansion with a pele tower built largely of dressed Roman stone, no doubt quarried from the nearby fort, Ewanrigg Hall, the site of a 13th century hall with an early pele tower (no longer extant) and Netherhall Park, possibly the site of a medieval moated manor.

The motte was used as a gun emplacement during WWII, but despite this, the earthworks and surrounding ditches have survived relatively intact.....much like the motte at Sedbergh that was used as an Observer Corps lookout post. The motte was most likely constructed in the late 11th or early 12th century, and was strategically placed to overlook the point on the River Ellen where the old Roman road would have crossed the river. 

Little research seems to have been done regarding whom was responsible for the motte's construction. There are sites on the web that theorise that it could have been built by William FitzDuncan or even Henry II, though, as there are no masonry remains, I would suggest that the motte was an earlier construction, purely of timber and earth and therefore unlikely to be linked with William or Henry.

The site can be accessed easily, using a number of footpaths that cris-cross this area of the town.

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