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Scheduled Monument record MDR571 - Mouselow Castle Motte, Glossop

Type and Period (4)

  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

'Mouselow Castle is the name of a round hill about a mile to the north of Glossop. On the top of its wooded summit is an intricate earthwork. The present confused condition of mounds renders the suggestion of any scheme or plan of its original construction almost an impossibility, save that there are fairly obvious traces of a double rampart - and on the east, a triple rampart - encircling an oval formation about 350 feet in extreme diameter. All that can be safely said of its date is that Mouselow Castle was probably a Celtic fort to some extent reused during the Roman occupation. Glover, writing of Mouselow Castle in 1829 says: "This hill, forty-five years ago, was pastured to the top, on which it was plain to be seen a building had stood, there being deep holes and a quantity of stones. The top occupies a large space of ground. The whole of the hill, as well as the top, is now planted with firs of about forty-five years' standing, and the late Hon. Edward Bernard Howard gave it the name of Castle Hill'. (1) "Castle in ruins" is shown on Greenwood's map of 1825. (2) A motte, with slight indications of a former bailey to the south-west, the latter now being almost completely quarried away. The interior of the mound also shows evidence of quarrying; there are no indications of a building. An "excavation" has taken place this year [1965?] conducted by pupils of Glossop Grammar School under the direction of a master (Mr Scott), but no finds were made, no conclusions were reached, and no report will be published. Resurveyed at 1/2500. (3) Excavations between 1984 and 1985 re-opened the 1963-4 trench and extended it, re-recording sections and plans. A ditch 2.3 metres deep was emptied, but no dating evidence was found. A worked flint was found to the west of the trench, some 0.5m below ground surface, in a root-hole. Circular crop-marks on the eastern face of Castle Hill may be Iron Age barrows/hut circles. Several pieces of carved stone, alleged to originate from the 'castle', have been identified as Celtic and 13th/14th century, possibly part of an early shrine. (4, 5) Scheduling Description Although elsewhere recorded as a motte, this monument, sometimes known as Mouselow Castle, is in fact a ringwork. It includes an oval earthwork, constructed at the summit of a steep hill, enclosed on all but the south-west side by a ditch and a substantial counterscarp bank. A bailey or outer enclosure may originally have extended to the south-west, but this area is not included in the scheduling as it has been heavily disturbed by quarrying. The central earthwork comprises an area measuring c.30m by 20m surrounded by 3m wide bank. The bank stands between lm and 1.5m above the interior but is between 3m and 4m high above the bottom of the surrounding ditch. Low, grass-covered mounds, visible on the north-west and south-east sides of the enclosed area, are interpreted as the sites of buildings. The ditch, which has a V-shaped profile, is c.6m wide and was found, by excavation, originally to have been 2.3m deep. The upcast material from the ditch was used to construct the counterscarp bank which is c.5m wide and up to 3m wide. A line of turf found within the latter indicates that it was heightened at some point and that the ditch must therefore have been recut. This shows there to have been at least two phases to the fortification of the site. The precise function of the ringwork is unknown but it commands wide views over the surrounding moorland and overlooks the confluence of Dinting Vale and the valley of the River Etherow. (7)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. 'Ancient Earthworks', in The Victoria County History of Derbyshire, Volume 1. pp 357-396. pp 384-5, plan.
  • <2> Map: Greenwood, C & I. Map of the County of Derby from an Actual Survey made in the Years 1824 & 1825. 1" = 1 mile.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 FC 13-SEP-65.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Reeve, G. 1985. Mouselow Castle: an interim report 1984/85.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Reeve, G. 1986. Mouselow Castle: Second Interim Report 1985/86. SMR Doc. No. 53.
  • <6> Index: NDAT. 0969. 0969.
  • <7> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1994. Scheduling Notification. 23309. Cat. No.: 325.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Hargreaves, R (Glossopdale and Longdendale Archaeological Society). 2017. Report for the Derbyshire Historic Environment Record on a Hillfort of Presumed Iron Age Date at Mouselow, Dinting, Glossop SK028955.



Grid reference Centred SK 02810 95502 (77m by 68m) (Centred on)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR1566
  • EDR1564
  • EDR1073
  • EDR4994

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Record last edited

Mar 14 2020 8:01PM

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