Kirkby Stephen – Waitby Castle

Location Waitby / Kirkby Stephen
Grid Ref NY 756053

Waitby Castle


Waitby Castle is situated about a mile and a half West of Kirkby Stephen, and about a quarter of a mile East of the small village of Waitby. The remains are hidden, surprisingly, on the top of a hill, that overlooks the now disused railway embankments. From the roadside, the fort, for that is really what it is, cannot be seen, so maps and a little guesswork were essential in finding the remains. This involved crossing walls (carefully) and climbing the steep hillside.


The fort is an oval shaped structure, surviving as banks and ditches, as well as the earthwork remains of up to 5 rectangular enclosures within the boundaries of the protective banks and ditches. These probably represent the earth footings of buildings. These remains are situated on the Eastern side of the castle.


Also running through the castle, is around 65 metres of a medieval dyke, which is represents the Northern end of a 2km, possibly defensive, dyke. The site was excavated in 1974, and it was surmised that the earliest period that the settlement was occupied, would have been around 2AD. During this early period of occupation, the whole site would have been defended with a fence and ditch, and there is evidence that the yards between buildings were cobbled.


The aerial picture above not only shows the fort itself, it also shows the dykes running through the earthworks, and the strip lynchets on the hill side.


waitby - Waitby Castle


waitby - Waitby Castle


Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham. Other photos and words by Matthew Emmott.


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