Heritage Hotspots - Tower Hill Motte

Throughout the River Tees Rediscovered LP area, we have a plethora of heritag sites. Whilst many are very well known, such as the fort at Piercebridge, Tees Cottage Pumping Station, the Transporter Bridge, some are not as well known - at least not outside the immediate area. A lot of focus on heritage in our are tends to focus on a few different areas, primarily industrial, Roman and Civil War. Not as much focus is put on some of the 'less-popular' aspects, such as medieval history, of which the Tees Valley has so much! Here, we will explore Tower Hill motte castle, sitting proudly just outside Middleton One Row.

The area of Dinsdale, located between Stockton and Darlington, has, just like the rest of the Tees Valley, some breathtaking views across the countryside and its immediate environs. Sited on natural mound - which was landscaped even further - on a northern loop of the Tees, the castle woud have been a dominating feature, controlling the traffic across the river.1. The castle will have been built after the Norman conquest, in all likelihood after the Harrying of the North, as a measure to subdue and exert control over the local populace, possibly by a member of the Surtees family.2. However, thse mottes are not common in County Durham.

This castle follows the (accidental) theme of recent articles - crossings of the Tees. The castle is yet another example of a desire to control the river crossing points along the river, here it was to control Pountney's Bridge.3. Obviousy it was considered an important crossing to warrant a motte to control it! The bridge is thought to have Roman origins, which was used in the follwing centuries until the construction of Croft Bridge.

Although surroundede by trees now, you can still make out the mound, and appreciate why it was built there! You can take in the breathtaking views by walking along the Teesdale Way. Why not take your camera along and send us your pictures!





Cover picture - Mitford Castle, Northumberland. An example of a stone motte castle. Courtesy of JThomas  2015.