Situated on a hillock c. 250m NW of the early medieval church of Nobber (ME005-071001-) and the N end of the village, overlooking the canalised River Dee c. 100m to the NW and its new course c. 250m to the SW. Hugh de Lacy granted Gaileanga Mór, the barony of Morgallion, to Gilbert de Angelo before 1186, and Gilbert made Nobber the caput or centre of his manor close to an existing church. After Gilbert was outlawed in 1196 Morgallion reverted to Walter de Lacy who granted it to his half-brother Hugh. This Hugh held John de Courcy, the Earl of Ulster, captive at Nobber in 1201 (Orpen 1911-20, 2, 189-90), and Hugh managed to retain it from 1210 until his death in 1243. In 1227 the burgesses of Nobber received four carucates (townlands) in return for building a causeway between the motte and the town. Hugh left the manor of Nobber to his daughter Matilda who was marred to David FitzWilliam, one of the FitzGerald family and the baron of Nass. The FitzGeralds held Nobber into the fourteenth century, when it passed by marriage through the le Botiller and de Londres families until in 1386 it passed to Christopher Preston, the second Lord Gormanston, and it remained with the Preston family into the nineteenth century. In the Civil Survey (1654) Lord Gormanston held Nobber and its hamlet, Kilbryde and Sallersook (Simington 1940. 333). (Bradley and King 1985, 118; Mount 2008)
The motte is a grass-covered earthen mound with a concave top (diam. of top 13m NNW-SSE; D of top 1-1.3m; diam. of base 40m NNW-SSE; H 6.5m at S to 8.5m at N). There are trees on the sides but there is no clear evidence of a fosse, except at SE where a broad shallow fosse (Wth of top 8m; Wth of base 6m; D 0.3m) separates it from a bailey ESE-S. The bailey consists of a raised rectangular and grass-covered area (dims 33m NE-SW; 21m NW-SE) defined by a scarp (max. dims at SE: Wth 3m; H 4.5m) extending SE from the motte. Archaeological testing (02E1657) by J. Roynane under the road c. 20m NW-NE at the nearest point produced evidence of a cobbled surface from on earlier iteration of the road but no material relating to the motte (excavations.ie 2006:1615). Archaeological testing (03E0995) c. 75m NW of the motte recovered evidence of a metalled surface and a two-colour medieval tile (Noonan 2006).
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Date of revision: 3 June 2016
This monument is subject to a preservation order made under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 (PO no. 1/1978).Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.