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Castlelaw, The Mount

Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Site Name Castlelaw, The Mount

Classification Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Law

Canmore ID 59624

Site Number NT84SW 2

NGR NT 8142 4183

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Coldstream
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT84SW 2.00 8142 4183

(NT 8142 4182) The Mount (NAT) Motte (NR)

OS 6" map, (1970).

NT84SW 2.01 81445 41803 Stone

The Ordnane Survey Object Name Book describes the motte as 'A small hillock or mound having a tabulated summit and surrounded by a slight fosse; the whole being studded with wood'.

Name Book 1862

The Mount, Castlelaw - a motte.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 1908.

A typical motte, tree-covered, consisting of a conical, flat-topped mound, average height 7.0m, and measuring 17.5m N-S by 19.5m transversely on the summit. It is surrounded by a ditch varying in width between 4m and 7m at the bottom and in depth between 2m and 3m below the crest of the counterscarp, which has a slight mound, 0.6m high, on top. The ditch has been filled in in two places, on the WSW and SE respectively, forming causeways 7m wide. No trace of any masonry was seen, either on top of the mound or in a small trench which has been cut into the top edge on the S.

Visited by OS(JFC) 18 January 1955.

This motte, which has been cleared of trees, is generally as described in the previous field report.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS(RD) 22 July 1966.

This motte stands to a maximum height of 16m above the bottom of a broad encircling ditch and its flat top is 20m in diameter. It occupies the NE corner of a bailey measuring about 105m from E to W by 75m transversely within double ditches on the S and E sides, visible only as cropmarks on air photographs and steep natural slopes on the N and W sides; there is an entrance near the SE corner.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1978.

RCAHMSAP 1977, 1978.

The motte is as described above, but a large sheep scrape near the summit on the SW side has eroded a small section to reveal part of the mound construction.

Visited by RCAHMMS (DE), 3 April 2008

Scheduled as 'The Mount... a substantial motte-and-bailey castle that stands on the row of a steep bank above the Leet Water.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 6 January 2009.


Field Visit (22 October 1908)

103. Mote, ‘The Mound’, Castle Law.

This mote-hill (fig. 54) is situated about 2 miles to the north-west of Coldstream, rather more than a ¼ mile west-south-west of the farm buildings on Castle Law, and about 250 yards south-east of the old mansion house. It lies within a wood, on the top of a steep bank sloping to the Leet, and is in form a truncated cone, apparently of earth, varying from 19 feet6 inches to 25 feet in height and with a level and somewhat oval summit measuring some 62 feet by 70 feet in diameter, surrounded by a ditch some 30 feet wide at the bottom and 9 to 10 feet deep below the crest of the counter-scarp, which has a slight mound on the top of it. This mound bends out towards the west along the edge of a ravine, and points to the extension of defences in that direction. For a short distance on the north-north-west and south sides the ditches have been filled in.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 22nd October 1908.

OS Map: Ber., xxviii. NE

Publication Account (1985)

The earthen mound at Castle Law is a 7m - 8m high cone with a flattened, somewhat oval summit up to 21m across, which would have been surmounted by a strong palisade protecting a wooden tower. The motte stands on top of a steep bank rising from the Leet Water. It is surrounded by a ditch some 9m wide and up to 3m deep, with further defences probably extending westwards along the edge of the ravine, which would doubtless have included a bailey or larger enclosure housing a wider range of domestic buildings.

Information from 'Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Lothian and Borders', (1985).

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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