Thursday, 15 May 2014

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Norman Castle ?

Went a walk down to Hawes Bridge again to record my impressions of what maybe a Norman Motte and Bailey type castle , the fields are full of lambing sheep at moment so decided to leave Charlie at home .

A rather sanitised and grand illustration of a early Norman Motte and Bailey castle.

In my previous post on Hawes Bridge I mentioned a ford up stream to it , this is were the the track down to the ford leaves the road - not very impressive I know , tends to be used as a parking place and a dumping ground for litter.

Further down - very overgrown but the track has the wall , far left on one side and the remains of an old bank and hedgerow running down centre of photo .

The bottom end of the track were it reaches the river , the far bank has been altered by the building  of a mill weir.

This channel was built about the turn of the last century to draw water off the river to power a turbine to create electricity for Prizet House at the time owned by a rich industrialist. The wall of the millrace is damaged now and the mill itself is overgrown .

The road from the ford probably followed the hedgerow up the hillside - there is still a footpath using this route . The millrace will have altered the shape of the land at the other side of the river and no trace remains of the ford at that side. This ford must have been in use before the bridge was built and still in use for wagons etc when the earliest bridge was constructed as it was a very narrow structure .

My theory is not an original one , various local historians and antiquarians have mentioned it in the past and the site is ideally placed to cover the ford and control/monitor traffic. The site is covered in trees and this does not help with any structural identification . The presumed Motte or mound on which the actual castle stood - this would have been timber built , we are probably talking post Conquest - 1080s ?.

A closer view.

A view of the Motte from the forecourt or Bailey .

A view from the summit looking down into the Bailey , the track to the ford is behind the trees - you can just see the field beyond that borders it through the gaps in the trees . I can remember as a small boy this field having no trees in it . Larch trees were then planted but never looked after or cut down for timber and the whole area is very neglected now. 

The ground nearest the river has been filled in to make a car park for fishermen and so is totally altered . It was used as waste tip for the dustbin wagons - this is of course was an era when all that went into landfill was the ashes from coal fires and the odd tin can and bottle - there being no other packaging as we know it today

View of the infill about 12 foot deep near the riverside .

A view of the stream that runs around the South side of the site .

A view from the car park looking down stream towards the bridge , the river drops quickly from the ford into a narrower gorge . 

A very rough sketch of the area . It has never been dug but it has been recognised as a potential site as have several others in the Kendal area. It is not mentioned in early accounts or writings .

Looking down onto the site , the area is very overgrown so not easily recognised , the road bordering the site runs behind the field line and the bridge is hidden behind the electric posts . I am inclined to believe it is the site of a Norman fort as it holds a very strategic position .

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