Forgotten Norman-era motte-and-bailey castle found within trees

A Norman-era defensive structure built 800 years ago was found on the lands of Mount Stewart Trust Estate, Ards peninsula, Northern Ireland. the site has been detected by LIDAR and has been unnoticed so far because of dense vegetation cover.

The 12th century Motte-and-Bailey structure (by BBC News)

The 12th-century structure was found within ground obtained by the National Trust three years ago.  Researchers state that it is probably one of the best-preserved mottes uncovered lately. The site is a defensive structure – a tall mound, in this case 23 metres in diameter, surrounded by this really imposing deep ditch. During many past weeks the site has been cleared by the Head Ranger at Mount Stewart and teams of volunteers, which required more than 800 hours of work. Now the historical site is nearly revealed. Historical records allowed to trace the structure to a particular Norman tenant of the land. He was called Robert de Singleton and obtained the land in 1333 AD. Singleton might be the person responsible for creating the defensive structure which has been covered by overgrown vegetation for unknown time until recently revealed by LIDAR imagery, followed by conventional photography.

Visualisation of LIDAR data (by BBC News)
Side of the motte after clearing (by BBC News)

(after BBC News)

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