Topcliffe Castle is a wonderful and well preserved example of a Motte and Bailey castle, constructed about 1071 by William of Percy.
Known a Maidens Bower, the castle still retains the grandeur and splendor as befits the major seat of such an illustrious family.
The castle stands on a bend in the river Wharfe, with the great dyke dug to enclose the castle entirely by water clearly visible in both the aerial photo and in the ground mapping elevation data.
To the West of the motte and bailey is the site of Cock Lodge, the medieval manor house that was built to replace the castle when the need for uncomfortable and damp timber castles was reduced, and the need for warm manor houses was increased.
Sadly for Lord Henry Percy, the 4th Earl, in 1489 the locals, incensed at punitive taxation, rose up and burnt down the manor house.
Even sadder for the good Lord Percy he was in the house at the time, and consequently his family left us the beautiful tomb constructed for Henry in Beverly minster, where it can be admired even today.
The ground mapping projection reveals not only the structure of the Motte and Bailey in impressive detail, but also reveals the internal details of the manor house complex, including the mount for a windmill.