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Wolfclyde

Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Site Name Wolfclyde

Classification Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Coulter Motte Hill; Coulter Mote

Canmore ID 48639

Site Number NT03NW 11

NGR NT 0187 3629

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/48639

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Culter
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NT03NW 11 0187 3629.

(NT 0187 3629) Mote (NR)

OS 6" map, (1957).

This motte, situated 30yds. from the right bank of the River Clyde, measures c 75' in diameter at the base, 11'6" in height and 45' by 38' across the top. The ditch which probably surrounded the motte has been filled up by cultivation on all sides except the SW, where it has been removed by the construction of a road.

Information from RCAHMS typescript, visited 1957.

As described.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 19 July 1972.

Activities

Measured Survey (11 August 1957)

This motte, situated 30yds. from the right bank of the River Clyde, measures c 75' in diameter at the base, 11'6" in height and 45' by 38' across the top. The ditch which probably surrounded the motte has been filled up by cultivation on all sides except the SW, where it has been removed by the construction of a road.

Information from RCAHMS typescript, visited 1957.

Publication Account (1985)

This motte, like that at Abington (no. 44), overlooks the River Clyde but here all trace of its surrounding ditch and any associated earth works have been removed by agriculture and modem development The roughly circular mound measures about 12m in diameter at the summit and it rises to a height of 2.5m above the surrounding ground.

The earliest reference to a Norman noble in the parish is to an Alexander of Cutir who is on record as a witness to Charles of Maldoven, earl of Lennox, some time between 1225 and 1270, but it is likely that the castle was built at least one generation earlier in the preceding century.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

Field Visit (27 June 2015)

Situated in paddocks to the NW of Wolfclyde farmsteading, this motte and bailey castle has previously been interpreted as a free-standing motte (RCAHMS 1957). However, a resurvey of the site in June 2015 has revealed the location of a bailey on its SE side.

The motte measures 14m from E to W by 12m transversely and stands almost 3m in height. There is no evidence for a ditch although this may be due to later land use, including the railway line that cuts its NW. The top of the motte has a hollow in it which may mark the location of a tower that has been removed.

The bailey measures 80 from E to W by 60m transversely overall and is comparable in extent with that at Abington (Canmore id 47438). Although it is only faintly visible as a scarp up to 0.5m in height and 2m in breadth in the paddocks to the S and E of the motte, it is more pronounced where the road that runs past the SW arc of the motte crosses its edge. However, there was nothing visible relating to the site in the wooded river terrace that drops steeply down to the River Clyde.

The motte and bailey is situated in the extreme N end of the parish of Culter, but at some distance from the village of that name. Although an Alexander of Coulter (“Alexander de Cultre”) witnessed a charter by Maldoven, Earl of Lennox, at Killearn in Stirlingshire between 1234 and 1241 (Dennistoun 1833), there is no early reference to a castle at Coulter or Wolfclyde. The village of ‘Outhclyd’ is depicted on Pont’s map of 1596, which appears to be an earlier form of Wolfclyde, the name of the adjacent farmsteading (Pont, 34). The motte is depicted on General Roy’s Military Map of Scotland and the farm of Wolfclyde to its S (Roy 1747-55).

Visited by RCAHMS (PD, WW, AMcC) 27 June 2015

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