Ancient scheduled monument in Driffield up for auction

An ancient scheduled monument is going up for auction in East Yorkshire.

Moot Hill, in Driffield, is being marketed more for the surrounding grazing land than the remains of the motte and bailey castle it may contain.

Archaeologists believe a castle, which is now just a large mound, was built in about 1071.

Excavations in the 19th Century by local archaeologist JR Mortimer revealed Saxon relics, including bits of swords, spears and a bronze axe.

Owner James Hood, a retired farmer who bought the land in 1973, disputes archaeologists' theories and claims an excavation in the mid-70s revealed nothing.

Mr Hood said: "It was supposed to be a burial mound, then they decided it was a motte and bailey castle.

"You wouldn't build a castle without foundations whatsoever."

The auctioneers describe the two acre site as a "a large parcel" of land suitable for grazing horses and other livestock.

It has a guide price of £30,000.

Defensive wall

The site is protected by an English Heritage listing which states that the site is of national importance.

If it was a castle then on the mound, or motte, there would once have been a wooden defensive wall and a tower.

The large enclosure was known as a bailey.

Documents from the early 13th Century refer to an abandoned bailey at Driffield.

Mr Mortimer was a local anthologist who excavated many burial mounds and other features.

He died in 1911 but left more than 66,000 artefacts and his collection is now at the Hull and East Riding Museum in Hull.

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