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Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Site Name Riddell

Classification Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Riddell Policies; The General's Tower; Riddel, Motte And Bailey

Canmore ID 55482

Site Number NT52SW 2

NGR NT 5201 2488

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Lilliesleaf
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT52SW 2 5201 2488.

For General's Tower, see NT52SW 3.06.

Motte, Riddell. In a wood a quarter of a mile NE of Riddell (NT52SW 3.00, No. 535) there is a mediaeval motte enclosed by a rectangular bailey.

The motte, which is crowned by a tower erected by Major-General J Sprot in 1885 (NT52SW 3.06), has been formed by trimming the tail of a natural ridge: it is oval on plan and the maximum dimensions of the flat top are 95ft by 43ft. Both the long sides rise steeply to a height of 13ft above the level of the bailey, but the SW apex is only gently inclined while the approach to the NE end, where the entrance was situated, is practically level.

On the SW side, and probably on the NW and NE sides also, the bailey was defended by two ramparts with a wide, steep-sided ditch between them; but the inner rampart alone probably sufficed on the SE side, which is bounded by a natural scarp. The ditch is best preserved on the NW, where it measures 30ft in width, 6ft 6 in in depth below the lip of the counter-scarp, and 10ft 3 in below the crest of the inner rampart. The ramparts are both formed of upcast from the ditch and are not more than 2ft 6 in high at the present time. In the centre of the SW side these defences have been breached by a footpath giving access to the General's tower.

Historical Note. In 1150 David I granted Walter de Riddale, of the Yorkshire family, a charter to Whitimes, the half of Eschetho, and Lilislive, which are identified by Lawrie (A C Lawrie 1905) as Whitton, Riddell, and Lilliesleaf respectively.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1948

NT 5201 2488. As described by RCAHMS. It is now much obscured by trees and dense undergrowth.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 4 October 1965

This motte-and-bailey is situated in mature woodland and there is no change to the existing record.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS) 27 September 1993.


Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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