Watch Hill Castle

Watch Hill Castle

Watch Hill Castle (also known as Yarwood Castle, Castle Hill, and Bowdon Watch) is an early medieval motte-and-bailey on the border of Bowdon and Dunham Massey, England. It is the only Scheduled Ancient Monument in Trafford, and so is arguably the most important archaeological site in the borough. The castle is located north of the River Bollin and south of a deep ravine ().


Substantial dating evidence has not been recovered from the site, but the form of the castle as a timber motte-and-bailey would date it to between the Norman Conquest and the 13th century. The lack of documentary evidence relating to the castle may be attributed to the short term nature of the timber construction; motte-and-baileys were quick to establish and would not necessarily have been used for long periods. A coin found on the site dating to the reign of Henry II, 1154 to 1189, may indicate that the castle was built during this period. The castle most likely belonged to Hamo de Mascy who was involved with the barons’rebellion against Henry II in 1173. The castle had fallen out of use by the 13th century.


What remains of the motte is conical, measuring wide at the base and at the top, above the base. The motte is surrounded by a wide and deep ditch. The bailey covered a triangular area of approximately and lay to the east of the motte. It would have been defended by an earthen bank and a palisade; some of the rampart remains as high as in some places. The north side of the bailey was doubly protected by the terrain sloping away steeply, and the south side was protected by the river.

See also



Watch Hill Castle by Norman Redhead inMike Nevell The Archaeology of Trafford. Trafford Metropolitan Borough with University of Manchester Archaeological Unit.

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